By Anamika Dutta
Members of College of the Holy Cross’ Women’s Forum and College Democrats traveled to Concord, New Hampshire, on Saturday, to canvass for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Senior Mary Kate Vanecko organized the trip, giving members of the clubs the opportunity to participate in an already historic election. The seven Holy Cross volunteers were joined by students from Clark University, as well as other Worcester area volunteers. Around 100 volunteers congregated in an area of Concord, waiting to get their turf lists of which houses to canvass. The League of Conservation Voters as well as the National Education Association were the two main organizations present, and most volunteers were associated with one of the groups. Students from Holy Cross grouped with the League of Conservation Voters.
The event featured speakers to hype up the volunteers on a cold Saturday afternoon. Carol Browner, Chair of the League of Conservation Voters, spoke about the importance of electing Clinton in order to combat climate change and ensure a healthy planet for future generations of Americans. Her passion for creating a more sustainable country garnered hearty applause and cheers from the crowd. Colin Van Ostern, democratic candidate for governor of New Hampshire, and previously serving on the New Hampshire Executive Council, then took the podium. His speech focused on the importance of voting down the ballot, as change often starts at the local level before progressing to the national level. Van Ostern urged the volunteers to encourage voting not only for Clinton, but for Maggie Hassan (running for Senate), himself, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster (running for the House of Representatives). The highlight of the pre-canvassing event was Senator Elizabeth Warren’s speech. Covering issues of equal pay for equal work, paid maternity and family leave, climate change, and supporting all minorities in America, Senator Warren fired up and unified the volunteers, reminding everyone why they were all there.
Volunteers split into teams of two or three and were assigned turf to canvass. Most of the turf was within Concord itself, but some volunteers willing to travel drove to Laconia. Inside the folder given to each team, there were lists of the people living in each house, so volunteers could greet them by name. Scripts were included, but mainly, volunteers modified the script when approaching the houses. The primary goal of canvassing was to ensure that everyone had a plan to go and vote on Tuesday. Canvassers hopefully served as a reminder that every vote counts. Most people who answered the door were quite gracious, especially towards the college students. They appreciated the volunteers’ efforts and assured them that they would be heading to the polls to show their support for Clinton. Even though plenty of people were either not home, or chose not to answer the door, getting to talk to even a few voters made the trip worth it. If each team was only able to remind and/or convince one person to vote, that is a substantial number of voters going to the polls, who otherwise maybe would not have.
Having the opportunity to play a role in this election was an incredible experience for all the volunteers. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, it is essential to exercise our civic duties and make our voices heard.