The primary election to narrow down the democratic field for the 2020 presidential campaign is just months away, and students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have already aligned with Pete Buttigieg.
Hannah and Sarah Troshynski, twins who are both sophomore accounting and finance double majors, are working to create a recognized student organization in support of Buttigieg and would serve as the president and vice president of the club, respectively. The RSO would join grassroots efforts across the United States to unite college students around Buttigieg’s campaign.
Hannah said they are currently awaiting confirmation of the club’s RSO status after applying on Oct. 15.
Hannah said her support for Buttigieg started in March when Sarah sent her a video of one of Buttigieg’s interviews.
In September, Hannah, Sarah and Molly Prochaska, a sophomore political science and global studies major, attended the Iowa Steak Fry, a tradition that attracts U.S. citizens and Democratic hopefuls seeking exposure, according to an article by ABC news.
Prochaska, who will serve as treasurer of the potential new RSO, was a registered Independent before going to the steak fry. She said she changed her party affiliation to be a registered Democrat when she returned home because of the community she saw at the event.
“During the steak fry, I really appreciated the community that I saw there,” she said. “Being able to speak to Democrats across all ages and seeing that sense of community that I didn’t have as an Independent made me change my mind.”
After that event, they gained more respect for Buttigieg. Prochaska said Buttigieg’s supporters often say “Be like Pete” because he is a kind and courteous candidate, which she believes is rare in the current status of politics.
The three students decided to form the club after they attended a town hall meeting hosted by Buttigieg.
“We went there too and just to see him speak in person, flipped a switch,” Hannah said. “It changed the whole game.”
From there, Hannah said she texted Sarah and Prochaska and asked if they wanted to start a club supporting Buttigieg on campus. The three agreed and started recruitment efforts immediately.
Sarah said she is looking forward to how the club can energize the people on UNL’s campus. College bases for Buttigieg on other campuses have large memberships, and she said she hopes the UNL club can mirror those efforts.
Sarah said she and Hannah sent out a Google form to students who had already agreed to join the club to foster a sense of community among the new members and to find a time suitable for everyone to meet.
“Once we become an RSO, we’re going to kick up recruitment and really push to have a presence on campus,” Sarah said. “Right now we’re kind of in free recruitment to gather resources and really jump out of the gate.”
The leaders of the new club are still deciding on what will be done at each of the meetings, whether that is organizing events to support Buttigieg or updating members on the status of the election race and Buttigieg’s activities. Hannah said she wants all members to have a say once the club is formed and wants the meetings to be as productive as possible.
Hannah said she sees a lot of opportunity in the club and looks forward to sharing something she is passionate about with her friends and sister.
“It’s really exciting now to have something that I’m super passionate about,” she said. “I feel like it’s going to be worth it.”