Around 150 supporters gathered for the grand opening, where Aisha Dew, state director for the Sanders campaign, asked them for their help preparing for the March 15 primaries.
“I know it’s two weeks out, but we are going to win North Carolina,” Dew said.
Jennifer Rendall, statewide field director for the campaign, said they are doing everything they can to gather support in North Carolina.
“We have to get out the vote,” she said.
She also said young people are especially important to the Sanders campaign.
“I think a lot of young people support Bernie, and they don’t realize the power that rests in their own hands to make a change in this election,” she said.
Both Democratic candidates — Sanders and rival Hillary Clinton — have sought the youth vote, but Rendall said getting young people to the polls is a top priority.
Jesse Henderson, one of the original administrators of the Triangle for Bernie 2016 Facebook group, said campaigning on social media isn’t enough to attract the youth vote. Instead, he recommended focusing on voter registration, phone banking and canvassing as more effective strategies.
He said the Sanders campaign has and will continue to focus voter registration efforts on college campuses like UNC and N.C. State University to get young voters to the polls.
Joe Burkett, a graduate student at N.C. State, said he plans on volunteering for the campaign. He said he supports Bernie’s revolutionary spirit and focus on marginalized communities.
“This campaign is about individuals and not about the states quo or the powers that be — it’s about what’s best for each and every one of us and trying to serve all of the citizens of the United States,” he said. “His policies and his record demonstrate that he’s willing to do that and has shown through his years of service that that’s what he’s about.”
Janie Freeman, a Chapel Hill resident, said she came to the grand opening because she has been a Sanders fan for a long time.
“He’s honest, he’s had a consistent message and he really has concern for working people and for health care and all the things that I think are really important,” she said.
Sanders’ national campaign has focused on creating a social and political revolution, calling for raising the minimum wage, free college and universal health care.
“For North Carolina specifically, I think he will make sure that there are good jobs for the people that want to work here and that everybody will be making a living wage,” Rendall said.