Political Races Fueled by UT Spirit

Students Volunteer on Local and State Campaigns

Published: Feb 25, 2011
Students help on Rose Ferlita's campaign by blogging, planning events and reaching out to young voters.
Students help on Rose Ferlita's campaign by blogging, planning events and reaching out to young voters.
Jessica McCarron ’13 met candidate Bob Buckhorn through UT College Democrats and now volunteers with his campaign.
Jessica McCarron ’13 met candidate Bob Buckhorn through UT College Democrats and now volunteers with his campaign.

Updated Feb. 23, 2012
 

UT seniors Krystal Guerra, Aubrey Lovell and Jesse Alfred didn’t really know each other at the beginning of the year. But after spending late nights reviewing political debates and traveling to events around the city, the three have become good friends during the City of Tampa’s mayoral race.

“We’ve blended our talents together so we’ve got a perfect flow,” said Lovell, a communication major from New Smyrna Beach, FL.

“Our mojo is in sync,” Guerra chimed in, slightly sleep deprived from the previous night’s brainstorming into the early morning. With the election on March 1, the students are in overdrive.

The three are volunteering on candidate Rose Ferlita’s campaign for mayor. They came to her in several ways – mutual friends on the campaign, a UT field trip to a county commission meeting – but they all feel strongly not only about Ferlita’s campaign, but about the value of voting.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe in what Ferlita does,” said Alfred, an advertising and public relations major from Chicago. “We’re trying to grasp people our age because they don’t want to be bothered with it. They have a voice, and they can vote and make a difference. It sounds cliché but without us, laws can’t get passed.”

 

Alfred and Lovell plan community events and promotions to appeal to the younger generation of voters. Guerra, an advertising and public relations major from Miami, also does event planning but primarily runs a blog. She covers summaries from debates and responds to news articles with Ferlita’s feedback. All three value the professional experience they are receiving and the plethora of networking opportunities.

“As a blogger, I’m always writing. I post anything that relates to the campaign, especially if it helps undecided voters,” Guerra said. “I’ve learned a lot about writing for people who don’t get their news from tradition sources, about blogging, and the inner workings of public relations and media within a campaign.”

Haley Dorval ’14 also assists on the Ferlita campaign.

Dorval, a government and world affairs major, said being an active and well-informed citizen is beneficial whether you study politics or not. “Student involvement is imperative for a prosperous future.”

But UT leadership doesn’t stop there. Jessica McCarron ’13 met candidate Bob Buckhorn through UT College Democrats and now volunteers with his campaign.

McCarron, a government and world affairs major, said students need to get involved in the political process.

“Right now, in this election, there are many issues that affect students, such as transportation, redevelopment and job creation for post-grads,” she said.

Guerra said many students don’t think to vote in local elections because Tampa is not their hometown though many are registered locally because of the last presidential election.

“But we’re here for four years and maybe after,” she said. “The mayor can bring new jobs here, and that’s a big issue for college students.”


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer