This story was written by Gabriella Schwarz, The GW Hatchet
Devoted George Washington University College Republicans had a presence at last week's Republican National Convention, rallying for the GOP and its presidential nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
In the wake of Hurricane Gustav, students in St. Paul gathered with fellow Republicans to phone bank, fundraise for relief operations, make care packages for the Gulf Coast region and formally nominate McCain for the party's ticket.
"We made signs and went to reception after reception after reception," said senior Brand Kroeger, chairman of the GW College Republicans and the D.C. Federation of College Republicans. "We were at the convention every night and had an absolute blast getting our nominee officially nominated."
The convention served as a kickoff for Kroeger, who will spend the next two months campaigning with 40 to 50 GW students in Virginia and Pennsylvania. He said they intend to knock on every door and call every house in the two battleground states to make sure McCain is elected the next U.S. president.
But it was Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's acceptance speech on Wednesday night that proved most inspirational for Kroeger and alumnus Chris Brooks.
"There was so much excitement and buzz around her. She knocked it out of the park. The convention hall went crazy," said Brooks, former chairman of the GW College Republicans. "Conventions are always a piece of history, but this was especially historic as she accepted the nomination as the first female on a GOP ticket."
Brooks graduated from GW on May 18 and arrived in St. Paul the next day to begin work for the RNC.
He worked a minimum of 12 hours a day managing online communication for the RNC including social networking outreach and live video streaming of the festivities, he said.
Now back at GW as a presidential administrative fellow, Brooks said he will continue to volunteer for the McCain campaign and work with College Republicans.
Junior Claire Meyer, a former member of the College Republicans' fair elections committee, attended the convention as deputy press secretary for Vets for Freedom, a nonpartisan veterans' organization with more than 27,000 members.
"My favorite part of the convention was interacting with veterans and current service members who fight for our freedom and guarantee our right to elect government officials," Meyer said.
Meyer participated in both the Democratic and Republican conventions to educate Americans about current conditions on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan and said she will use the information to help educate students on campus.
Kroeger said he and the other College Republicans will encapsulate the message of the convention and put "country first" until Election Day in November.
"It's about a 'country first' mentality," Kroeger said. "It's about America first. I'm a Republican because I believe in fighting for our country, fighting for our faith and fighting for our families."