As part of a new pilot initiative, the Institute of Politics has brought veteran campaign manager Mike Vlacich to campus for its “Campaign and Advocacy” workshop series.
The series will allow 35 students to get hands-on experience with campaigning over eight weeks this spring, covering topics ranging from campaign finance to communications and analytics. According to IOP spokesperson Esten Perez, the students were chosen by the IOP earlier this month after an open house event and have varying backgrounds in political campaigns.
Vlacich, who served as campaign manager for New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s successful 2014 bid for reelection, said that he was attracted to the IOP because of its leadership and mission for Harvard students.
“I was really impressed with [the IOP’s] vision to provide a more hands-on, real-life experiential opportunity to understand campaigns, and not just look at it as a political exercise but as a means to achieve good and give people the common sense and tools to do so,” he said.
Vlacich said the workshops will aim to help students understand the accessibility of politics and prepare them for affecting change in the issues they care about.
“What I wanted to do was explain and help articulate that campaigns aren’t just what you see on TV,” he added. “It’s not just writing speeches and making television ads.”
The introductory workshop was held last Monday, and, according to Vlacich, included a discussion about the importance of voter-to-voter contact and the competition between grassroots field campaigns and “big money” in New Hampshire.
Perez said that the IOP hopes to organize a “campaign info session” at the end of the series. The session would be open to all Harvard students, and would feature representatives from different campaigns and organizations.
—Staff writer Luca F. Schroeder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @lucaschroeder.
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