As the midterm season and the elections come to a close, some NYU students have immersed themselves in both.
NYU students have been able to participate in New York midterm campaigns through organizations like the New York State Democratic Party. Their duties range from recruiting volunteers to hosting phone banks for congressional candidates like Max Rose, 11th District, and Liuba Grechen Shirley, 2nd District.
Shiv Soin, a first-year CAS student, spoke about how working with the New York Democratic Party has allowed him to engage with ideologies that aren’t typically found at NYU.
“Most people look at [politics] from a very micro point of view. But being a part of something like this puts everything into perspective because you’re able to see people with different political ideologies,” Soin said. “It’s good to have conversations and expose yourself to people who don’t just believe what you believe.”
Three thousand miles away, Nikhil Shivakumar, a first-year Tandon spring admit, is currently canvassing for Congressional candidate Josh Harder in California’s 10th District. Despite being in a historically blue state, the district is actually a highly contested race, and current exit polls have Democratic candidate Harder and Republic candidate Jeff Denham neck and neck. Shivakumar said what he’s learned from observing the different politics has been the most surprising part of his time canvassing.
“The whole experience gave me more empathy for people with different political views than me,” Shivakumar said. “My lasting impression from the entire thing was that everyone’s just a person. It’s not like if they’re a Democrat they’re a good person, or if they’re a Republican they’re a bad person — everyone’s just an individual.”
For Soin, the midterm elections served as the perfect platform for him to play a larger role in the democratic process.
“To actually get involved and fight for what you believe in is something that I very strongly agree with,” Soin said. “I like to follow through with what I say I believe in.”
Shivakumar spoke about how being able to see the election unfold through polling numbers has shown him how his job has helped make a bigger impact in his community.
“Currently, it’s still very close but it’s leaning toward Josh Harder,” Shivakumar said. “Being able to think, ‘man, maybe I played a small impact in that’ is really rewarding.”
According to Shivakumar, the experience of canvassing has not only been about advocating for a particular candidate, but also informing people about the fundamental importance of voting.
“There was this 19-year-old who was not planning to vote, and we ended up giving her more information about the actual process,” Shivakumar said. “That conversation was quite interesting, and even if she’s not going to vote in this election she’s definitely going to have a different opinion on voting and politics for the future. It’s really amazing to be able to take part in a conversation like that.”
Soin, who spends most of his time calling locals and asking them if they can volunteer, was inspired by the fast-paced environment of working on the midterm campaigns.
“Seeing the energy here is amazing and seeing how excited people are is great to see,” Soin said. “The excitement from people who are not just my age is a really incredible experience.”
Email Mansee Khurana at [email protected].