Choosing voting and volunteering

Student shares her political campaign volunteering experience in light of voter reluctance.


Photo Courtesy of Samantha Miller

Jocelyn Meza, Writer

With presidential debates on television, media coverage of possible policy changes and even Google Chrome displaying notifications asking if one has registered to vote, it may seem overwhelming for students to talk about politics, let alone volunteer in any political campaign. However, some students at Biola find it all the more reason to get involved.

Student experience

Samantha Miller, senior public relations major and political science minor, knew she wanted to get involved in a political campaign but did not know where to start so she reached out to the political science department at Biola. With their connections and guidance, she volunteered and now interns for Rita Topalian, a California 57 district state assembly candidate.

Miller started by meeting with the candidate before volunteering to help her with campaign tasks.

“In December and January, when we were on break from school, I was in the office every day working for her. We were prepping for different campaign events, getting volunteer meetings together, things like that,” Miller said.

She now oversees and manages the candidate’s website, which involves keeping it up to date and developing it in the candidate’s best interest.

“Since February, I’ve now taken over her website. If they want to put up a news release, or something like that, I’m in charge of everything that goes on the website. I also get to help her out on some social media,” Miller said.  

Since most of the work she does is online, it often incorporates a campaign advocate assigning her updates to the website, such as uploading photos. Miller admits it is easier to balance it out with school and other activities.     

Other than the work experience Miller gained, she has also learned to love to work for someone who will possibly serve California and its residents.

not about the label

“I work for her campaign because I think she would do the best job of representing our district to the state of California. She is just a genuine and sweet woman but she’s so with it. She’s a little bit older, so she might be like a grandma figure to me, she’s so hip and with it and roaring and ready to go. So it’s been really cool to say, ‘Wow, this is a woman that I trust to represent my voice,” Miller said.

According to Scott Waller, political science department chair and professor, being in a political campaign is not about the label but the actual significance of it. The process entails one’s selflessness and trust in the candidate.

“You don’t volunteer for political campaigns for simply the payback. You do it because you care and you think that this candidate has something to offer,” Waller said.

He noted that as a Christian, one has a responsibility to answer the question of how people should be governed and a response can be in the form of simply voting or being more involved in politics.  

“We, of all people, have something to say about better direction,” Waller said.

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