2016 Campus Divided? Feature Packages News

Political internships give skills for engaging citizens, insights into campaigns

By Kaleb Lucero ’18
THE ROUNDUP

Students interning for Arizona campaigns and political officials participate in interaction with the public and learn lessons relevant to politics and government.

One student, Connor Owen ’17, said in an email that he was involved with “field operations” for the Democratic Party.

“I have been making phone calls, going door to door, [helping with] voter registration and helping out in the field offices,” he said.

Through his internship, Owen said he met different types of people, and realized how complex campaigns are and how every vote counts.

“By interning, I have definitely become more persuasive and more comfortable talking to people,” Owen said.

Spencer Coben ’17, another student interning for the Democratic Party, said that he was considered an “Outreach Intern.”

“My responsibilities were all along the lines of helping constituents,” he said. “I would take phone calls and help with daily issues.”

He also said he was involved with outreach projects, which involved activities such as supporting a Democratic presence when businesses open and going out to events where representatives speak.

Coben said that he learned “crucial skills” when it came to dealing and aiding local people who are “underrepresented,” but he also said that he learned a lot about how the government works as well.

“Seeing the intense inner workings of a political office inherently brings you closer to the political arena on a national and local level,” he said. “The amount of bipartisanship needed to run this country is massive, and yet there is little of it to be found today.”

Owen also said that he gained insight into how campaigns work, and said that he learned how important it is to spread a candidate’s message and talk to as many people as possible in order to promote him or her.

As for why he wanted to intern, Owen said that he felt inspired by Bernie Sanders and this presidential election.

“I decided to make a change at the local level,” he said.

Coben said that he decided to intern to because he found it important to be knowledgeable in the area.

“It is important for the youth of our time to be well-versed in politics, especially in today’s world,” he said. “Being able to have a civil discussion about issues is very important for furthering progress in society.”

Despite the lessons learned from their interns, both Coben and Owen said their experience didn’t affect their views greatly.

“It has given me a lot of insight into the local and federal political system, including a few negative perspectives,” Coben said. “However, my core political beliefs have not changed too much.”

Owen said that he learned that it was important to hold strong views in politics, but that compromise is also necessary.

“The internship definitely solidified previous views I have had on politics,” he said.

Did you intern for a campaign? Tell us about it @BrophyRoundup