Editors's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the version that appeared in our weekly print edition.
Ohio University College Democrats President Sam Miller prioritized campaigning for the Democratic party over her classes and other priorities in the weeks leading up to Election Day.
She was involved with the Ohio Together campaign since she returned to Athens in August, and spent at least 30 hours a week campaigning for the Democratic Party.
“A lot of us were crying just because we have put so much on the line for this election,” Miller said after she found out Donald Trump, Republican presidential nominee, had won in Ohio. “We’ve skipped classes, we’ve lost friendships and we lost hours of sleep.”
Miller thought the election was particularly important for students, because the next president will be the one in charge when students enter “the real world.”
“We’re going to be getting jobs, and we’re going to have to be worrying about buying our first houses and starting our families,” she said. “I think we really recognize that this election is really important for us.”
When she campaigned, Miller said she tried to highlight the importance of the election by emphasizing races down-ballot from the presidential candidates.
David Parkhill, president of OU College Republicans, said he campaigned for nearly every candidate he could during 2016.
“I’ve been part of every single (campaign) in Ohio, and we’ve been involved a little bit in West Virginia,” Parkhill said.
He said campaigning changed over the course of the year, and it became more difficult to get students involved as the election drew closer.
“Early, in the beginning and through the middle, our numbers were higher because people were excited and ready to go,” Parkhill said. “I think people are just sick of it now. They’re ready for this thing to be over.”
Despite the difficulty trying to get students involved, Parkhill thought many students were truly invested in the election.
“If they have any mindset like mine, it’s because they truly believe that these candidates are going to be able to make an impact on their futures,” he said.
Hannah Borowski woke up before the crack of dawn because she hoped someday she could have said, “I helped elect the first woman president.”
After she became a fellow for the Democratic Ohio Together campaign in late July, Borowski, a junior studying political science and global studies — war and peace, was one of many students at OU who dedicated their time to campaign for candidates.
During the past three weeks, she said her workload had at least quadrupled. In the days leading up to the election, that workload grew even larger. She worked between 20 and 30 hours every week on top of classes, meetings and other responsibilities.
“I wake up at 6 in the morning to go to work,” Borowski said. “Then I have class, class, class, some meeting I try to squeeze in, and then (from) 5 to 10 p.m., I’m (at the campaign office). As of late, it’s honestly just (campaigning).”
For Borowski, working on a political campaign leading up to Election Day was different than how she imagined it would be.
“I thought there would be this big sense of urgency like, ‘oh my god, what we do now will make or break this election,’ ” she said. “Part of me still thinks that, but part of me thinks that make or break moment was a couple months ago.”
A few months ago, Borowski was busy helping to recruit volunteers. The office had between 30 and 40 people who campaigned for the candidates.
“You can only practice so much, and then when game day starts, you just have to remember what you’ve done,” she said. “These last days we have been preparing for, and they will go smoothly. It’s here, and it’s happening.”