New clubs and organizations have been springing up on campus this fall, including Columbia University Ready for Hillary. Politics Paramour Lili Brown caught up with the group’s co-founder, Anna Jessurun, to see what the club is all about. If you’re interested in learning more about/joining CU Ready for Hillary, please fill out their sign-up form and like them on Facebook.
Bwog: Welcome to campus, Ready for Hillary! What is Ready for Hillary, and what are some of the initiatives you have lined up for the 2014-2015 year?
Anna: Ready for Hillary is technically a Super PAC, consisting of supporters urging Hillary Clinton to run in 2016. Unlike other Super PACs that may be demonizing like those we’ve seen in the media, Ready for Hillary is very much a grassroots volunteer movement. Our over-arching goal is to get Columbia Ready for Hillary.
Bwog: What does that mean, getting Columbia ready for Hillary?
Anna: If Hillary does declare her candidacy, we will already have a database of supporters at Columbia that can help her campaign. So for example, if her campaign needs people in New York to volunteer, make phone calls, host events, we’ll have that base at Columbia. Columbia itself is already such a politically active and passionate institution that I think that many people will be very into this and very supportive.
Bwog: Is Ready for Hillary a part of Hillary’s campaign?
Anna: No, we are not. But we are focused on raising interest in voting generally. One of our goals this semester is our Ready to Vote initiative. We have Ready to Vote cards, which are linked to the potential Hillary Clinton campaign, but a lot of the language is geared for readiness to support Democrats and readiness to vote. And since we are at an institution full of young people, who as a demographic historically don’t vote as much as they should, I think our big goal is getting people ready to vote. Preferably for Democrats, but we just want people voting.
Bwog: Do you see Ready for Hillary collaborating with other Democratic-affiliated clubs on campus?
Anna: Definitely! I hope that we’ll be able to mix with the community involved with Columbia Democrats. I’m in communication with them now, but it’s the beginning of the year so nothing is totally set in stone. We’d also love to be involved with any feminist, women’s’ groups that’d also love to see Hill in office. Because that’s also a big passion of mine, getting women in the oval office.
Bwog: Columbia University has the great resource of Barnard College as an ethos to appeal to Hillary’s campaign, in comparison to other campuses around the country. Do you plan on using that in the Columbia Ready for Hillary chapter?
Anna: We want to be a presence and resource for the whole Columbia community, whether that’s Barnard, CC, JTS, to support and be ready for Hillary. We’re definitely going to be on Barnard’s campus as well as Columbia’s campus.
Bwog: Outside of Columbia, do you see Ready for Hillary collaborating with other schools in the Northeast or in New York City that might already have or want to start Ready for Hillary clubs?
Anna: Over the summer I worked for Ready for Hillary as a Summer Student Fellow, where I interacted with other Fellows all over the country. I heard a lot of concerns from other Student Fellows about their school being too small, not being politically active enough, and I want Columbia, since it is such a prominent and large institution, to help out smaller and other schools in our community who might have these concerns also. I am open to collaborating and engaging with the larger community as well because it will be a national election in 2016, not just an election for New York City mayor. I have connections with the Young Americans department of Ready for Hillary who encourages all of us to get involved and get connected.
Bwog: What’s the first thing we can expect from you guys on campus?
Anna: We are planning to have a meeting in the next couple of weeks, just to gather anyone who’s interested or anyone saying, “wait, what is Ready for Hillary?” You know you’ve heard it around but maybe you aren’t sure…
Bwog: Yeah, what is Hillary Clinton going to do?
Anna: “Is she running?” “If she’s not running yet, why are you a part of this?” Those are a lot of the questions I got when I was clipboard-ing on the streets of Minneapolis this summer, and I’m sure we’ll get them here as well. We just want to have an informational session to explain what is Ready for Hillary, because I think it’s a very nuanced and original and cool organization that’s really never happened on this scale before. Following that meeting, we would love to have tabling events on College Walk, on Barnard’s campus, clipboard-ing at the Farmer’s Market to get engaged not only with students, but also with the bigger Morningside Heights community. But our biggest plan up until November 4th this year, is to get people ready to vote.
Bwog: Final question: on your sign-up form, you posed the question: what is your favorite Hillary pantsuit color? What’s yours?
Anna: This is such a tough question – maybe the toughest one you’ve asked me during the interview. But I will say…Hillary can rock blue.
Bwog: Like a light blue, a dark blue, all blues?
Anna: I wouldn’t say a navy, or a super light blue, but a bold blue.
Bwog: Cobalt blue.
Anna: Yeah, exactly. That’s my favorite and I’ll be biased – when I met her in Minneapolis she was wearing that pantsuit color.
Bwog: So, now we’ll call her Hillary Cobalt Clinton.
Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
A beautiful Hillary via Shutterstock