Hi! My name is Elizabeth Anderson. I’m a second-year MIA student concentrating in Economic & Political Development focused on sustainable development (mostly energy development). I worked for the New York State Assembly Ways & Means Committee before SIPA, managing the environment and energy budget. During that time, I joined my local Young Democrats chapter and even flew myself out to my parent’s house in Wisconsin in 2018 to volunteer with the midterm elections. This past fall, I’ve been a Fellow with the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, making a few hours of calls each week and assisting the Field Organizer with volunteer recruitment.
I’m currently remote, and actually living with family in Wisconsin. Before the election, faculty would remind us to vote if we were eligible. We had a break from classes Monday and Tuesday, and I’ve only had one SIPA class—Methods for Development Practice, an EPD requirement—since the election. People did talk about their feelings during our short break for that class, but that was it. My schedule is Monday/Tuesday-heavy and my recitations from those classes were cancelled this week. At my law class, which was late enough for the results to be reasonably clear, we had a whole session on what potential legal actions a Biden presidency could take to enact energy and climate change policy. Outside of class, though, some recent alumni created a WhatsApp group to discuss the presidential election and a number of us Biden supporters have joined to share news and feelings.
I’m the Treasurer for SIPA Student Association (SIPASA) and oversee all the club budgets, and am the SIPASA person who probably most works with clubs. We have a long list of clubs that you should check out on Campus Groups once you’re enrolled and heading to SIPA! You can find a club for your regional interest, minority identity, academic interest, advocacy, hobby, and more.
One of the clubs, CIVEC, has done voter registration drives and hosted viewing parties for the Democratic Primary debates before we went online. Several of the other clubs have put on events such as the election and security, or what the election means for a specific world region, depending on their focus. Some of my colleagues in SIPASA also put together a podcast on the election with classmates.
If you are interested in partisan politics, and have similar leanings to me, outside SIPA and Columbia there are the Manhattan Young Democrats and Broadway Democrats which I joined last year. After I moved out of NYC, I got in contact with my county Democratic Party. On Mondays and Tuesdays, when we didn’t have classes, I logged into the dialer for around 8 hours between the two days and made call after call. Most weeks, I’d spend a few hours on the weekends making calls. I wasn’t involved because I was specifically staying in the Wisconsin dialer, but some of my classmates made calls into Florida and Pennsylvania as a group. SIPA students tend to be very involved in many activities and campaigning was a priority for some of us as well as a nice change of pace from coursework.