All campaign calls begin roughly the same way.

“Hello, may I speak with Mrs. Smith, please? I’m calling on behalf of Jon Huntsman for President.”

Follow the script, mark off the paper and repeat five hundred times — that is phone banking in a nutshell, according to Georgetown alumus Colin Nagle (COL ‘11). Nagle worked for the Jon Huntsman campaign this past year, and phone banking was one of his chief duties.

“[Call scripts] would differ from event to event, but they would mostly be the same,” Nagle said. “I would change it up now and then so I wouldn’t sound so robotic — and also to see if I could increase my odds by doing things differently.”

His tricks paid off. According to Nagle, his calls elicited the highest turnout at events.

“My first day on the job, [Huntsman] went up in the polls five percent,” he joked. “I take full responsibility, though I had nothing to do with it.”

For students interested in furthering their own careers, joining a campaign can offer unparalleled hands-on political experience. The prolonged Republican primary process has given plenty of Georgetown students the opportunity to try their hand at presidential politics.

Kevin Preskenis (COL ’12) got his first taste of life on the campaign trail while working on Newt Gingrich’s presidential bid. Preskenis has been working for the candidate since high school but has recently stepped up his involvement.

“I get a sense of the pulse of America as I travel to different states and find ways of reaching out to voters,” he wrote in an email.

Balancing life as a student and a campaign worker is not easy.

“It has certainly been a challenge,” Preskenis wrote. “My phone is always buzzing through classes and it is difficult to not check my email. But I do my best to compartmentalize where I can, and so far, so good.”

Ziad Jawadi (COL ’15) hopes that his work on the Gingrich campaign will help launch his own political career.

While attending the Values Voter Summit a few months ago, Jawadi told Gingrich that he supported the candidate’s proposal of a loyalty test for Muslims.

“I made a comment [that] kind of struck him,” Jawadi said. “He didn’t expect any Muslim to agree with him.”

After the conversation, Gingrich asked Jawadi to work for him as student director for Muslim outreach, a position Jawadi has made his own.

“So far, he’s kind of had me doing my own independent thing,” Jawadi said.

Jawadi began looking into finding other Muslims who support Gingrich and has worked on writing policy memos highlighting some of Gingrich’s commitments to Muslim Americans.

As an Arabic and government double major who hopes to make a presidential run by the time he turns 40, Jawadi has definite political aspirations. But he claimed that real enthusiasm, not calculation, motivated his support of Gingrich.

“If I wanted to be ambitious, I would have picked Mitt Romney,” Jawadi said. “Working for [Gingrich] is genuine.”

Working for a campaign can also pave a path to even more appealing jobs. Maggie Cleary (COL ’14), president of the Georgetown University College Republicans and head of Georgetown’s chapter of Students for Mitt, put the matter simply.

“If your guy wins, you get a job in the White House,” she said.

Cleary has spent the last few months working with Students for Mitt to coordinate on-campus events, attend District-wide meetings with other local colleges and organize trips and phone banking events. Her organization has attracted a diverse group of supporters, she said.

“It’s definitely an interesting bunch of characters,” she said of the people she’s worked with while campaigning.

For many collegiate campaign workers, studying in D.C. has been instrumental in promoting their interest in politics.

Jawadi stressed that Georgetown’s location in the national capital helped to facilitate his involvement in the campaign, since he would not otherwise have attended the Values Voter Summit.

“I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if I’d gone to a different school,” he said.

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