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I Can’t Afford to Donate Money to Political Campaigns on a Student Budget, But I Canvass as an Alternative

I am a college student who is extremely concerned about our current political climate, but I am also running on a very tight budget, which means that donating to numerous political campaigns isn’t always a viable option for me. However, I have been able to take many alternative routes that allow me to keep mobilizing the movement without draining my wallet. 

One of the easiest ways to support a specific candidate that I have found extremely effective is by volunteering for campaign events. Volunteering is free and accessible to anyone who is willing to work. You can sign up online to receive notifications about upcoming events, which are usually hosted by local campaign efforts. These tasks range from helping with registering new voters to going door-to-door to canvass in order to inform people about why it is vital that they come to the polls in 2020. 

Canvassing is also a great opportunity to motivate potential voters who are currently undecided or indifferent. Being able to persuade someone who is on the fence is a challenge that requires a lot of patience and strong interpersonal skills. However, if you can use these opportunities to your advantage, you will find that it is actually very effective. Although it’s hard to believe, there are a lot of undecided voters and nonvoters. According to the United States Election project, about 43% of eligible voters decided not to vote in the 2016 election – that is an estimated 100 million people. Voting now is more important than ever. I canvassed at Boston Pride in 2018 to get people to vote for legislation in the 2018 midterms that would keep public protections of trans people in place, and that helped swing the vote. 

Another excellent platform that I have been able to use to my advantage is social media. Despite social media’s political pitfalls, it is still a powerful tool for spreading information. I use all of my social media platforms to inform my followers about important events related to social justice and political campaigns. Even if you have a relatively small following, posting flyers on your Instagram stories is definitely way to get people to pay attention in your network. 

The most basic and vital course of action has always been making sure that I am registered to vote. Every vote counts, and voting is a right that a lot of people take for granted. 

Isabel Corp

New School '21

Isabel Corp is a third-year Literary Studies major with a concentration in non-fiction writing at Eugene Lang College. Isabel writes about Sex and Relationships & Culture, and her writing can also be found in the blog of the non-profit LGBTQ+ organization, Family Equality.