Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign has been gaining momentum since it started. With hopes of a Sanders presidency, St. Olaf students have formed Students for Sanders, an organization to help Sanders in his presidential bid in the 2016 election cycle. The group, St. Olaf’s chapter of a nation-wide movement, made its first ever appearance at the Co-Curricular Fair earlier this fall.
“Our group is a student grassroots organization dedicated to helping Bernie Sanders win the primary elections,” Yishu Dai ’18 said.
Sanders has relied on grassroots efforts to support and fund his campaign. This campaign funding strategy is unlike any other candidate’s. His biggest competitor for the Democratic nomination is Hillary Clinton, who does accept donations from corporate organizations and super PACs.
Students for Sanders hopes to help the campaign by contacting a wide range of voters. Canvassing, phone banking and tabling are the most traditional ways to go about this.
Assuming a Sanders victory, the Students for Sanders group plans to continue through the primary elections and the 2016 presidential election.
“We are a group of people really excited about Bernie Sanders’ platform and want to see him become president,” Dai said.
The group has already participated in a couple of events for the Sanders campaign and hopes to engage other Sanders supporters.
“A few of us went down to Ames, Iowa for a Students for Sanders Summit and had a blast meeting fellow passionate student organizers,” Dai said.
Events like these have helped energize the group to participate in canvassing and other events in order to garner the support of constituents, especially in what are considered battleground states, like Iowa. After the summit, Students for Sanders was encouraged to help in this very key area.
“We canvassed the day after and knocked on 105 doors,” Dai said.
The club will travel to the Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Des Moines to see Bernie Sanders speak. The organization is also offering the chance for students to go see Sanders speak in person, an opportunity that may not present itself in Minnesota anytime soon. The group is raffling tickets for the event. Anyone searching for more information about the group should contact Dai, Taylor Lightman ’16 or Samantha Wells ’17.