Student Emily Stromborn worked for the Obama Campaign in Ohio in 2012.
Campaign Semester provides Occidental College students with an opportunity to learn about political campaigns and elections through first-hand experience. Occidental is the only college in the country that offers such a program.
The program is open to all Oxy students, regardless of major. No previous campaign experience is required. Students work on a campaign of their choice in a swing state for the first 10 weeks, then return to campus for the academic and reflective components. Students' participation will involve a wide range of activities, including voter registration, turnout, volunteer coordination, media relations, and many other aspects of a typical campaign.
Campaign Semester participants remain fully enrolled at Occidental and earn a full semester of college credit (16 units) for volunteering full-time in a Presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. House, or gubernatorial campaign for 10 weeks during the Fall 2016 semester. Students can volunteer for a Republican or Democratic campaign, or a "minor" party if the campaign is set up to adequately supervise volunteers.
After Election Day, students will return to the Occidental campus and participate in a five-week seminar that involves reading and discussion in order to put them in broader context. Students will also write a paper based in part on their campaign experiences. Professors Dreier and Freer will conduct the seminar and supervise the independent study projects.
In addition to learning a great deal about American politics, students will have opportunities to expand their knowledge in a wide variety of disciplines. Some students may be able to use their Spanish, Chinese or other language skills. Students in history, American studies, and sociology will see the connections between those disciplines and American politics. Students interested in psychology and media will find that questions of persuasion and propaganda are key aspects of all campaigns. Those interested in economics will learn that political campaigns and voting behavior are shaped by economic conditions and that campaign finance is critical to all elections.
Students can select the campaigns they wish to work with. The only condition is that the race be “swing” or “battleground” races – races where neither major party has a decided advantage and the outcome is likely to be close. This will guarantee an exciting campaign that will likely generate considerable media interest, funding, and high turnout. (During presidential years, students can work in a presidential campaign in one of the key "battleground" states).
The 2016 election season promises to be an exciting one, with many competitive races for the the U.S. presidency, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and Governor of several states.
Students interested in Campaign Semester for Fall 2016 semester should attend one of the three informational workshops scheduled for the beginning of Spring 2014 semester:
· Monday, February 8, 5:00 pm - Choi Auditorium
· Thursday, February 11, 11:45 am - Choi Auditorium
At the informational workshops, Professors Dreier and Freer will explain how to identify “swing” or “battleground” races. Former Campaign Semester students will be available to discuss their experiences. Students will also learn how to select and contact a campaign. The workshops will also deal with such issues as travel, housing, and financial aid.
Students should meet with Professor Peter Dreier or Professor Regina Freer to discuss which campaigns they want to work for and to get their approval.
Students should submit an Intent to Participate form by March 14, 2016. Once confirmed, students register for Politics 270, 271, and 272.
***If you are unable to log in to the Intent to Participate, please contact the International Programs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 259-2533. Continue to work on your essay, prompt below:
Why do you want to participate in the Campaign Semester program? Please state the nature of your interest in the program as well as your goals and expectations (both academic and personal). Please detail how this program would contribute to your academic interests. ~ 250 words
Campaign Semester is offered every other year. It began in Fall 2008. Subsequent Campaign Semester programs were offered in Fall 2010, 2012 and 2014. During Fall 2014, 11 Occidental students participated in Campaign Semester in 5 states.
Financial Aid, Housing, and other administrative issues
Carefully read the program overview, speak with previous participants and read the administrative overview.
Students who receive financial aid will continue to do so during the Campaign Semester program. If needed, the college will also help students with travel expenses to and from the campaign site.
In most cases, the campaigns will help students with finding housing in the campaign site. Most students have lived in the homes of campaign volunteers and supporters. During the 10-week campaign activities, students are responsible for their own meals. The College will reserve on-campus housing for students when the return to the campus after Election Day. The cost for campus housing will be pro-rated for the five weeks they are on campus.
Johnson Hall Politics suite: J317 Administrative support: J101A