The student group Brandeis for Bernie held their kickoff event on Sept. 29. Brandeis for Bernie is an on-campus group in support of Bernie Sanders, an independent candidate running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. The event, held in the Schwartz Auditorium, provided students with bumper stickers, pamphlets and information on how to volunteer with the campaign.
The Brandeis for Bernie Facebook page invited students to “join us in starting a political revolution to take back America from the billionaire class.”
When asked about the formation of the group Lexi Ouellette ’18 said, “I think it was just like-minded people coming together and understanding that they wanted to do something about Bernie Sanders on this campus.” Ouellette also works for the national organization College Students for Bernie.
Over the last few months Sanders’ popularity has surged, gaining on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in polls. Sanders focuses on issues such as income inequality and climate change.
“I was really inspired by Bernie’s message around income inequality in particular,” said Noah Coolidge ’16, an organizer of Brandeis for Bernie who spoke at the kickoff event.
Sanders has mobilized many younger voters, due in part to his plan to end college debt. His campaign pamphlet, handed out at the event, states, “Together, we will fight for an America we can all be proud of.”
“He just captures something that a lot of people are feeling and that a lot of people are starting to say. I think he’s already made a huge impact on what’s possible politically as well as the [political] race in general,” said Coolidge.
Students who attended the event were in search of ways to show support or learn more about his political ideals. Throughout the event, the Brandeis for Bernie organizers emphasized that the best way to show support for Sanders is to get involved with the campaign. They said students can get involved in two areas: on campus and off campus. They stressed that the best way to support the campaign on-campus is by getting the word out about Sanders and his platform.
“Word of mouth is such an important organizing tool. If you see an ad on YouTube … you might not pay attention to it, it might annoy you, but I think genuine interaction with others, talking on a personal level about why you support someone is so empowering,” said Ouellette.
Another way to get involved with the campaign on-campus is through social media. Students can like the group’s Facebook page “Brandeis for Bernie” to stay updated on future events. Through the Facebook page, students can be directed to a volunteer page for Sander’s campaign.
College Students for Bernie launched their social media campaign “Bernie Blast” this week. Students posted photos online of themselves holding signs explaining why they support Bernie Sanders. At the kickoff event, students took photos for the event. Brandeis for Bernie organizers posted the photos online with the hashtag “#Berndeis.”
At the kickoff event, Coolidge explained that students can show support off-campus by canvassing in New Hampshire, speaking with voters about a candidate. “It’s a lot of fun, and it has a huge impact,” Coolidge said.
Students at the event were positive about the progress of Sanders’ campaign. “I think right now the fact that he’s gaining in polls in early primary states and nationally is really important,” Ouellette said.