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