Students Spread Campaign Fever

Harvard students and alumni get involved in Mass. gubernatorial race

As the Nov. date for the Massachusetts gubernatorial election fast approaches, many Harvard students and recent graduates find themselves swept up in the excitement of a faceoff featuring two alumni: Democratic incumbent Deval L. Patrick ’78 and Republican challenger Charles D. Baker ’79.

The students and alumni’s level of involvement ranges from boarding buses for weekend canvassing trips to working around the clock for full-time campaign jobs.

Gabriel S. Neustadt ’13 falls somewhere in the middle.

As an active Democrat and member of the Institute of Politics, he teaches civics in Cambridge public schools and serves on the IOP Survey Committee. Neustadt sought out an internship with the Patrick campaign on his own.

“The way politics works is, you just get involved,” he says.


Neustadt worked on the operations aspect of the Patrick campaign this summer—a job that required attention to detail and careful analysis—and he continues to be involved part-time through the fall.

“Scheduling [Patrick’s] day is strategic,” Neustadt says. “You have to think about where he should visit and once you decide, you have to arrange for the events...And then at night, they would have fundraisers.”

Neustadt says he took pride in writing briefs that ended up on Patrick’s desk—a particularly meaningful task since he believes strongly in the governor’s work.

“When you look at the other candidates, the governor by far should be reelected,” Neustadt says. “I knew I had to work for him.”

That commitment held despite the fact that Neustadt hails from Florida: “I love politics,” he says. “I love being involved in Massachusetts politics since I’m going to be a resident for the next three years.”


The atmosphere of student political involvement was “one of the reasons why I came to Harvard,” Neustadt says, and while few current students are as involved in the campaigns as he is, campus political groups are also taking part in this year’s campaign.

On Sunday, the Harvard College Democrats took the first of several canvassing trips in Mass. and N.H. to campaign for Patrick, according to group President Jason Q. Berkenfeld ’11.

paign for Patrick, according to group President Jason Q. Berkenfeld ’11.