My name is Sara Eisemann and I grew up in Manchester, Vermont. In 2008, I was a college freshman, and everyone around me was really excited to vote for the first time, but I was still 17. I was completely devastated that I couldn’t vote for Obama in the election, but that only lasted about 10 minutes before I realized there were tons of ways for me to make a difference. I got involved with the group on campus, and on Election Day, I drove up to New Hampshire, and went around helping out with the get-out-the-vote effort. It was just one day, but I really felt like I had been a part of something great. I was watching the results for the counties come in and I thought to myself, “I was there! I brought those people to the polls!”
I just graduated from Tufts University in Boston this spring and now I’m working as one of the fall fellows for the campaign, so this is my first real job out of college. I realized that if I did anything else this fall other than work on the campaign, I would regret it. I’m working full time for the campaign, which means every hour of every day I’m thinking about how I can make a difference.
It’s great work—I do a lot of outreach to existing networks and encourage the people that I contact to recruit even more volunteers. We’re expanding the Vermont operation to reach out to New Hampshire, so that means organizing new groups at local colleges like Bennington and Marlboro College. I also work very closely with our regional director, which essentially means I’ve also been leading a lot of canvassing trips and phone banks to New Hampshire.
All of the numbers say canvassing is the best way to make contact with voters, and when I’m out there, I actually feel it. You can see firsthand the effect you’re having. There are always surprises when you pull up to a house, but for me it’s just an opportunity to connect with as many people as I can and it’s really rewarding. I always tell people that canvassing is like a day off for me. It’s just so fun, and I get to be like a regular volunteer on those days.
The thing about volunteering in Vermont is we’re all pretty sure that the state will go for President Obama, so the question becomes, how do you get people involved who are already supporting the President? I always tell those people that it’s because you’re a supporter that you understand what’s at stake in the election. This campaign will only be successful if all of our supporters do everything they can for this campaign. The President needs us all to do our part and it doesn’t cost you anything but time.
I’ve been so impressed by President Obama’s time in office. He’s done a lot to improve environmental regulation, he’s created tons of green jobs, and he’s raised standards on gas mileage, fuel efficiency, and clean air. Those may not always be politically popular moves, but that makes it all the more admirable to me—he’s doing it simply because he knows that it’s the right thing to do. I’m hoping to go into environmental policy, so I’ve learned about the policies he’s putting into place and I know how important they are.
Most importantly, though, the President has made me more patriotic. His belief in this country, and its people, and what we can do, and where we can go—that makes me more patriotic. He believes in the best of what we can be as a nation.
We know how this election is going to be won—it’s a numbers game and every vote counts. That’s why we need to go out there and talk to people. The strength of this campaign is that it’s neighbor to neighbor, it’s grassroots. You can really make a difference.
Help make a difference—sign up to volunteer today.