Italian Pro-Obama Group Donates Airfare To Harvard U. Dems; Will Canvass In N.C.

This story was written by Lauren D. Kiel, Harvard Crimson


The Harvard College Democrats are getting help from an unlikely source in their quest to say arrivederci to a Republican control of the White House.

The Dems announced this week that an Italian political group Americans in Italy for Obama will donate plane tickets to send Harvard University students to campaign for Barack Obama in Raleigh, N.C. in the four days leading up to Nov. 4 presidential election.

Harvard College Democrats President Jarret A. Zafran 09 said he was contacted by Mark Gall, the president of the Italian organization, who told him that the group wanted to use their collected frequent flier miles to send Harvard Democrats to campagin for Obama.

He said, We cant fly back to the states to canvas for Obama, but you can, Zafran said.

The group plans to use the Web site TravelForChange.org, which is not associated with the Obama campaign, to purchase tickets for campaigners with their miles. They will also provide free trips to students from other U.S. colleges, but the Harvard Democrats will get the vast majority of their miles, Zafran said.

Though the group is currently planning to travel to Raleigh, Zafran said the number of students that sign up for the trip will determine where the group is ultimately able to go.

If the campaign office in Raleigh is not able to accommodate all of Harvards volunteers, some may be sent to the Obama office in Indianapolis, Ind., he said. Housing for the campaigners will also be provided for free by the local campaign offices.

Were getting more and more people every day, and that puts more strain on getting supporter housing and finding us work, Zafran said.

About 145 students have already registered for the trip since the club first sent out announcements about it this past Sunday.

The club is requiring that all students who sign up for the trip are dues-paying members of the Harvard Democrats. Preference will also be given to students who have attended one of the groups prior campaign trips. This past weekend, 58 students canvassed in New Hampshire and 25 went on the weekend-long campaign trip to Bucks County, Penn.

In addition to the out-of-state trip, the club will bus students to New Hampshire to campaign in the weekend before the election.

These trips are going to be a great way to give back to the campaign and feel like you made a difference, said Harvard Democrats Campaigns Director Audrey A. White 10.

In addition to 11 more electoral votes, traveling to North Carolina does have another benefit over campaigning in New Hampshire.

North Carolina is a little warmer, Zafran said.
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