Students, alums embrace politics

Chin up (below) Working to secure helium-filled balloons to a Boyda campaign sign, Kelly Jacobson is yet another Washburn student who has gotten heavily involved in the political process this year.

Richard Kelly

Some may find the idea of working in politics and going to school far too stressful. Yet there are three individuals who went to or are going to school at Washburn who work for either Republican Lynn Jenkins or Democrat Nancy Boyda.

Chad Manspeaker graduated from Washburn in 2002 with a degree in political science. At that point, he was involved in area politics, not specifically at Washburn, but around the community. This is about the eighth or ninth year in which he believes he’s been politically involved. Manspeaker then got started volunteering and working for Boyda because of their similar interests and opinions in trade. He began his job putting up yard signs and going door to door. Now, he is the campaign manager for Boyda and, with that obligation, he has his hands on most things within the campaign. “The key [to staying involved] was to not think of any job as belittling,” said Manspeaker. “If you stick with it and your dedication is there, you really can get involved and make a difference.”

Karl Fundenberger, who graduated in May 2008 with a degree in mass media, has been a “Social Media Guru” for Nancy Boyda for about three months now. Fundenberger got involved through Manspeaker, and quickly found his place designing advertisements and doing videos for the campaign. This is Fundenberger’s first full-time job and first job in politics. With the thought of eventually doing graphic design, this was a step in the right direction for him.

Fundenberger recently finished a project that produced about 260,000 fliers for the campaign. If a major advertising event is taking place, he often is at the head of the design that will be used.

“This has helped me realize more and more I could do graphic design in any industry,” said Fundenberger. “I don’t have to go into a media industry to do graphic design.”

Angel Romero is a junior political science major at Washburn and is involved in Lynn Jenkins’ campaign. Just last spring, Romero had an internship at her office. After his internship, he continued his volunteer work, doing “a little bit of anything and everything,” said Romero. Romero had been active in campaigns and Republican Party politics since his freshman year in college and in local government in Junction City, but this is one of his biggest involvements to this point.

“I just want to do everything I can to help [Jenkins] win this election,” said Romero. “I know she’s in the fight of her life and it’s been rated as one of the top races in the country, so I just want to help her win.”

Romero, Fundenbeger and Manspeaker all agreed that their involvement changed their political perception. Romero said he learned a vast amount of information from the experiences about how things work and that it’s important to be able to see things from that viewpoint.

While all three hold different positions and levels of experience, it’s a universal push to do everything they can for their party that makes the elections so competitive. It’s become as much an obligation as it has a job for them. Their skills range from an understanding of government to communication, so that viewpoints may be expressed in a well-thought manner, said Manspeaker.

“I always had friends who held a position like this and you could always see the intensity in their eyes every day,” said Manspeaker. “I myself get to the office at 7:30 in the morning and may not leave until 11:30 at night, and that’s pretty normal for me anymore. And when you get home, you’re already ready to go for that next morning.”