A Part of History
January 12, 2009
Diana Paris '08 will never forget the night of November 4. Since June she had spent countless hours campaigning for Barack Obama as a field organizer in the battleground state of Virginia.
On election night, Paris and hundreds of other campaign workers and volunteers celebrated Obama's historic victory in the cramped office where they had toiled so hard and long.
Many cried, many stood up on chairs and screamed but for Paris, it was a whirlwind of emotions as she realized five months of non-stop work and dedication finally paid off and she could now say she was a part of history.
Back in June, Paris had just graduated from Stonehill and was content with her job as a child care coordinator at the YMCA in her hometown of Brockton.
Things quickly changed after she received a call from a friend, who worked in Senator John Kerry's office.
Knowing how much she enjoyed her internship with Minnesota Junior Senator Amy Klobuchar in Washington D.C that past fall, he told her about a field organizer position available for the Obama campaign.
"I sent in my resume and they literally called me the next day to set up an interview," said Paris. Not knowing what area of Virginia she would be working in, she made the 600 mile drive a few days later.
The campaign staff was so impressed with Paris they wasted no time hiring her. The only downside, she had just six days to move to Virginia and get started.
"I had my interview on a Monday and that Sunday I moved to Virginia Beach."
As a field organizer, Paris was in charge of 12 voter precincts and supervising the numerous volunteers in those areas. Her main responsibilities included organizing voter contact efforts and voter registration.
For Paris, the best part about the job was creating relationships with volunteers like an 80- year-old woman named Flo and seeing their growth throughout the campaign.
"People really felt empowered," said Paris, who guided many hesitant volunteers with everything from simple data entry to knocking on doors around neighborhoods.
"Stonehill always encouraged community service so developing relationships with the volunteers came very natural to me. I knew that I couldn't look at each volunteer as just a number. I had to get to know them individually and create personal relationships with them," said Paris.
A political science major at Stonehill, she took part in the H.O.P.E. program twice, traveling to Peru and New Orleans. She also stayed active on campus as a student mentor despite working two jobs.