For six months, Erin Thesing ’10 worked as a field organizer for the Obama campaign in Flint, Michigan. As part of a political science internship, Thesing documented this historic campaign.
Erin Thesing’s journey began when she first heard Barack Obama speak at the UNH Field House in February 2007. Obama had announced his candidacy for president just two days before, and he issued students a challenge. He said: “A lot of us have stopped believing that politics can make a difference.” He went on to underscore a basic tenet of his campaign: “I’m asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring change to Washington. . . . I’m asking you to believe in yours.” Inspired, Thesing and other students formed Students for Barack Obama. Throughout the primary season, Thesing volunteered—canvassing, phone banking, and registering voters—first in New Hampshire, then in Maine, Massachusetts, and Oregon.
By May 2008, many Obama campaign staffers saw that Thesing was a proven and tireless volunteer. She was invited by the campaign to Flint, Michigan, for the month of June to “help get things going.” With 17 electoral votes, Michigan, which had not held a primary, was considered critical.
Thesing, an anthropology major from Hopkinton, New Hampshire, jumped on a plane to Detroit.
The distance from Durham, New Hampshire to Flint, Michigan, cannot be measured in miles. As Thesing would soon observe, the city, hard hit by the economic downturn, comprised many “polarized, disenfranchised, and disillusioned communities.”
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An Exaltation of Fellows
Five in all. They’re smart—goes without saying. Each has found a way to follow his or her dream. Each has made contributions so that others following them will find the way easier. They tackle and enjoy challenging subjects, add majors and minors, take on new languages, travel, start organizations, and do it all with enthusiasm. Just call it the X factor. ›› Read more.
Interview: Professor Heather Turner
Sociology professor Heather Turner studies stress in groups that experience lots of it. From 1985-1992 at the height of the AIDS crisis, she worked in San Francisco. Later she studied stress in single-mothers from rural areas. Currently she’s heading a study, funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, on children who’ve been victimized. ›› Read more.