Photos by China Wong
According to actress and Dartmouth College alumna Connie Britton, students have traditionally and historically played an important role in making political and social change.
Britton spent part of her afternoon on Saturday, Oct. 15 campaigning for Hillary Clinton with the UNH College Democrats on the Durham campus. From approximately 1:30–2:15 p.m., Britton talked to students about her support for the Democratic presidential nominee and the importance of their votes in the upcoming election.
“This is an important state and [Clinton] is an important candidate,” Britton said. “I am a very strong believer in citizens using their voice and their power to shape the country that they want.”
According to UNH junior and College Democrats President Elena Ryan, as Nov. 8 quickly approaches, the get out the vote (GOTV) efforts throughout campus will increase in the hope of maximizing student turnout at the polls. Such GOTV efforts attempt to increase students’ awareness of the election, giving the students and also the surrounding community members information and reminders needed to ensure they vote on Election Day. Ryan noted that the student vote is crucial, and that the young demographic often needs an extra push getting to the polls. Ryan said that extra push comes in the form of Commit to Vote Cards.
According to UNH sophomore and College Democrats member Christian Merheb, Commit to Vote Cards collect a rough number of supporters who state they will vote Democratically on Election Day. The information that volunteers gather when collecting these cards helps to inform committed voters of volunteering opportunities and also the timing of important events in the area. Merheb said that the cards are sent back to voters before Election Day as a reminder to go to the polls.
While studying at Dartmouth, Britton said that she realized what was happening in the world for the first time. She said that she began creating her own ideas and vision for who she wanted to be in the world and what she wanted that world to look like. According to her, this was an important part of her life, one she hopes other students will embrace.
“I am a big supporter of [Clinton],” Britton said. “I think that [Clinton] will be really good for the country and I hope that [New Hampshire] will embrace that and push her through.”
Fellow Clinton supporter and first-year student Elias Tyrrel-Walker, who participated in Saturday’s GOTV effort, highlighted a disconnection he said he believes many students feel between their specific demographic and those who represent them in government. This is why it is incredibly important for students to make sure their voices are heard, according to Tyrrel-Walker.
“If students as a whole were more engaged…we could alter the direction of the election,” Tyrrel-Walker said.
UNH was not Britton’s only stop in New Hampshire. The next day, on Sunday, Oct. 16, Britton spent time with her old college roommate, junior United States Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand, at their alma mater in Hanover.
Britton does not campaign with an official political group, as she said she does it because she cares about her country.
“I want to remind people in [New Hampshire] that their voice is a very important one in this election,” Britton said.