Before former Republication candidate Michele Bachmann dropped out of the presidential race earlier this month, she received support from her alma mater.
Over Christmas break, from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, assistant history professor Beverly Garrison and assistant government professors Winston Frost and Sonny Branham lead a group of about 40 students to the Iowa caucuses.
“It was more real than I expected,” said freshman Allison Boswell. “A lot of times, people don’t seem very real from inside the TV and the computer screens. When you get to shake their hand and meet their children and their parents, they become a person who really does care and isn’t perfect just like everyone else, but is trying to make a difference.”
Professor Frost saw the experience as an opportunity for to not only help in the campaign, but also give them an inside look at American politics.
“Students manned phone banks, canvassed neighborhoods, wrote call scripts, recorded robo calls, did opposition research, participated in rallies, organized data, recruited caucus speakers and met the candidate, her family and worked together with professional campaign staff in the closing days before the caucuses,” said Frost . “They also toured the campaign bus, attended church with the candidate, helped host a donor event and dealt with the national media on a daily basis.”
This trip helped students learn about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into a political campaign.
Although Bachmann ran as a Republican candidate, both Republican and Democrat students came to volunteer.
“The ORU students were well qualified, singularly dedicated and worked into the early hours of the morning to help out,” Frost said. “These students are a real asset to any campaign they volunteer for. They made over 22,000 phone calls, and provided much needed help in data base management, public appearances and provided real assistance in the waning days of the campaign.”
This hard work certainly did not go unnoticed.
Branham expressed his appreciation for the dedication each student gave toward the campaign.
Garrison agreed, saying that the students displayed maturity and talent the entirety of the trip.
Even through the tediousness of the campaign, many students took something away from the experience, making the work worthwhile.
Senior Melody Ruano was one of those students.
“I learned so much,” Ruano said. “This was my first time volunteering for a political campaign. I didn’t know much about Michele Bachmann and hadn’t really paid much attention to any of the Republican candidates at that point, but I was really interested and saw this trip as a unique opportunity to familiarize myself with the current political climate.”
All in all, the students learned the importance of standing firm in one’s values when running in an election.
“These days, the world of American politics can be a scary place for Christians who are not stable in who they are in Christ and use wisdom in how they share their faith in this particular arena,” Ruano said.