Campaigning for Change

By Kristin Riegel

Elise Goldin ’10 was a fan of Barack Obama before most people knew who he was. “Freshman year I had a picture of Obama on my desk. When my roommate moved in, I was off-campus and we had never met before. When she saw the picture she thought he was my brother,” Goldin said.

Although Goldin can’t claim Obama as family, she considers him a friend, a leader, and if things go her way, a candidate who will soon have the title of President of the United States.

“He’s my senator so I’ve been really into him for a long time,” said Goldin, a Youth Coordinator of Students for Barack Obama, the student component of Obama’s official campaign.

Working primarily with Westenley Alcenat ’10 and Matt Day ’10, both coordinators of Mac for Obama, Macalester’s chapter of the Obama campaign, the group has brought the candidate’s message to campus through stickers, political speakers, and Hollywood stars.

“I read his book and it made me think that he was a cool person,” said Goldin. “And I liked his background in community organizing in the Southside of Chicago.”

Despite being a geography major with no former campaigning experience, through activities and events such as voter registration drives, guest speakers, and door-to-door and dorm-to-dorm campaigning, Goldin has been exposed to the ups and downs of politics.

“There are times when I feel pretty obnoxious shoving flyers in people’s faces and asking them to vote,” said Goldin. “But I really feel strongly about it. This campaign has really gotten me more involved with Macalester, the community, and my country.”

Bringing in guest speakers such as actor Kal Penn and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback to speak on Obama’s behalf has added to the excitement of the campaign. According to Goldin, guest speakers sponsored by Mac for Obama have drawn large crowds and allowed the public to be educated about the issues of the campaign.

Despite her misgivings about her political prowess, Eddie Oliver ’11, a fellow member of Mac for Obama, describes Goldin as the “energy of the group” who makes it easy and comfortable for people to get involved with the campaign.

“Elise is a lot of fun,” said Oliver. “She is always positive . . . she’s brought a lot to our campaigning.”

The efforts by Goldin and other members of Mac for Obama paid off Tuesday night at the DFL Caucus, which took place at Macalester’s Kagin G. Hill ballroom.

“It was really exciting that we got a large majority of the votes of the people who voted in Kagin,” said Goldin. “There is a lot of enthusiasm now.”

No matter what the final outcome of the presidential election, Goldin stated that the experience has been invaluable. “I don’t feel like I am a politically active person, but I feel so strongly about Obama winning and making change that