Though Hannum became involved in campaign volunteer work due to his existing interest in politics, other students are driven to work for campaigns because they feel compelled to take part in the political process.
Jake Richard, a junior journalism and media major, said he got involved with Sanders’ 2020 campaign because he felt like there weren't enough young people involved in the 2016 election.
“And I was probably part of that problem. Even though I follow what’s going on, I wasn’t really doing much,” Richard said. “And I felt like that needed to change for a lot of people.”
Aaron Clark, a first-year majoring in political science and philosophy, said he was inspired to volunteer for Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign after taking classes outside of his comfort zone last semester.
“This past fall I was like, 'I’m just gonna enjoy my first semester and take some classes that interest me,'" Clark said. "And of those classes were a couple of political science courses. One of those was (on) parties, elections and polarization, and I really fell in love with the material."
Hannum began his involvement in the Buttigieg campaign as a campaign coordinator doing local organizing at UNC. Now he has a much larger role as the liaison between all of the campus coordinators across the Southeast.
“A lot of my time I spend doing frequent one-on-ones with those coordinators, making sure if there are any challenges that they have with their student chapters — that those are addressed and that they get appropriate resources from the campaign — and making sure that we have a cohesive message being communicated to other students," Hannum said.
Richard volunteers for the Sanders campaign as a campus core leader. He is a part of a national organizing movement on campuses across the country.
“What we do here at UNC, we do outreach to students, we work with students to help get registered, promote some of Bernie Sanders’ ideas and how they can help the everyday lives of people on UNC’s campus and beyond,” Richard said.
Clark, along with a few other UNC students, founded a group called Tar Heels for Warren this past fall. Clark serves as the undergraduate president of the group.
“Things we do vary from planning canvass events, watch parties, texting banks or reaching out to people and telling them why they should vote for Warren,” Clark said.
Though the three students volunteer for different candidates in different capacities, they each said their favorite part of working on a presidential campaign is the people they’ve met as a result of their involvement.
“Everyone is so genuine, and really inspired by Warren and her policies,” Clark said. “And that really tight-knit community is what led me specifically to not only Warren and her plan, but also wanting to work on the Warren campaign itself.”
Hannum echoed similar sentiments.
“I think we have a lot of really thoughtful campus volunteers across the United States,” Hannum said. “It’s been such a privilege to work with them. It’s a lot of people that you end up meeting through different events."