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Approximately 10 Harvard undergraduate and graduate students turned out last night for the first open meeting of "Powell '96," an organization which hopes to persuade the former general to run for the White House.
Bumper stickers, petitions, and literature on Colin L. Powell greeted those who turned out for the meeting, which was held in Emerson Hall.
According to "Powell '96" Executive Director Michael G. Rogol, the purpose of "Powell '96" is "to get Colin Powell into the [presidential] race; set up a campaign organization; and to get information on Colin Powell out to the public."
Rogol, a graduate of Georgetown, said that the organization is "trying to find a core of support to grow" first here at Harvard and then later at surrounding Boston colleges.
"B.U. and B.C. need the Harvard student body to help organize them...to capture their energy," said Rogol.
Most of the Harvard students who attended the meeting expressed dissatisfaction with current candidates and the traditional two parties.
"I just think that there is a lack of alternatives. I'm not thrilled with Dole or Clinton so I am looking for someone in the middle," said Daniel E. Sonshine '97.
"I'm tired of the grid lock and inability of the current parties. I'm looking for something new and different," added Kristopher Galletta '99.
When asked how involved he intended to be in "Powell '96," Galletts replied that he "didn't know yet.
Probably not that deeply since it's not the actual Powell campaign."
"Powell '96," a national organization based in Cambridge, has 500 active members nation wide, according to Rogol.
Powell was a controversial speaker at Commencement speaker in 1993, when demonstrated flocked to the Yard to protest the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward homosexuals in the service.
Jefferey W. Vanke, a third-year GSAS student, who is acting as the organization's Harvard liaison, said "Powell '96" is a non-partisan organization.
"We're not supporting a party, we're supporting a person. That's where I am," said Patricia Bradley, volunteer coordinator.
The organization is registered with both the IRS and the Federal Election Commission and actively seeks contributions to support the "Powell '96" campaign.
According to Rogol, the group received approximately $600 in contributions from individuals yesterday alone.
When Rogol asked how he would gauge Powell's chances, he referred to a quote from the movie, "What About Bob."
"We're taking 'baby steps," Rogol said. "Let [Powell] have an affect in the election...we are hopeful."
"Powell '96" is planning to hold a larger meeting at Harvard later this semester.
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