U students, grads attend DNC for district

The delegates continue their political work around the U.

by Jessica Lee

University of Minnesota students flocked to Charlotte, N.C., last week for the Democratic National Convention.

All the delegates from Senate District 60, which includes the University, were University students or recent graduates. The four delegates were part of a large group of young people from the nation who went to the convention.

Andrea Whitaker, a political science senior, said the University students weren’t the only young Minnesota delegates in Charlotte, and she liked the state’s representation.

“Having such a large presence of youth representing the state of Minnesota really speaks to how progressive the state is,” she said.

The student delegates are all highly invested in student and political organizations. Whitaker said she thought the convention would be a good launching point for a career in politics.

“I learned to be comfortable when meeting and mingling with politicians,” Whitaker said. “It was a huge networking opportunity, and I had to put myself out there.”

Young people played an integral part at the convention, said urban studies junior Quentin Wathum-Ocama, who represented Senate District 64 at the convention, said.

“The young people are the backbone of the Democratic party,” Wathum-Ocama said. “They are the ones who are going to do the work — not just at the polls but the dirty work too.”

Sophie Wallerstedt, a history senior, said there was big mix of people at the convention.

“Looking around, it was a very diverse delegation,” Wallerstedt said. “People of different sexual orientations, races, religions — everyone was represented.”

Most of the delegates volunteer with Students for Obama, a student group working to re-elect the president. Whitaker said she thinks political participation will pick up as November nears.

“The closer you get to an election, the more excited people get about it,” Whitaker said. “The convention made me want to get more and more involved.”

Returning to the University for class Monday, the students were eager to continue their political efforts.

“I hope to bring back the same electrifying energy that I felt at the convention,” Wathum-Ocama said.

“It’s all about improving the quality of the nation.”