5C Students Phonebank for Obama

On Oct. 19, while many students were taking cabs to the Ontario Airport for Fall Break, Jesse Pollak PO ’15 was rolling up his sleeves.

Pollak had recently found out that President Barack Obama, his favored candidate for the 2012 election, was falling in the polls.

“Everything was falling apart in my mind,” said Pollak of when he realized that Obama’s victory was not certain. But among his peers supporting President Obama, Pollak says he found complacency rather than frustration.

“My problem is that people [at Pomona] aren’t willing to support Obama when they support the things he stands for,” said Pollak.

He decided it was time for he and fellow Obama supporters to take action.

Pollak and Claire Pershan PO ’15 decided to host a phone bank last Friday and Saturday in Walker Lounge at Pomona College to encourage voters in swing states to vote. Pollak sent out an email to 30 of his friends asking them to join; Pershan sent out an email to the Pomona student body using the school’s Chirps announcement system.

On Oct. 19, about 10 students showed up to help with the phone bank. Using the calling tool on Obama’s campaign website, the volunteers called registered voters in Nevada.

The next day, about five students came back to call a list of registered Iowa voters that was received by a Pomona alum working on the campaign there.

Overall, Pollak says, 800 voters were called.

Daniel Mynick PO ’15, one of the attendants of the phone bank on the Oct. 19, was pleased with the number of participants despite the spontaneity of the event.

“It’s a lot more enjoyable to phone bank while sitting in a room full of other people,” said Mynick, who has participated in phone banking for past campaigns.

Pollak was also pleased with the outcome.

“The people that were there were definitely excited,” Pollak said. “It was a good group of people, people who care.”

However, Pollak wished that more had come. He said that for the 2008 presidential campaign, he went to phone banks where hundreds of volunteers participated.

He and Pershan have organized another phone banking event, taking place Friday Oct. 26 in Walker Lounge from 1-6 p.m.

Pollak is hoping for more people to attend, and for students to get excited about helping out.

“Stop by any time, even if it’s just for 10 minutes,” Pollak said. “Make a few phone calls, feel good about yourself.”

The phone bank is open to students of any of the 5Cs. Pizza and baked goods will be provided, but students who want to participate should bring a computer and a phone.

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