The New York Times Magazine’s “The Lives They Lived” issue features a stirring tribute to Alex Okrent ’05, the Wesleyan alumnus who collapsed and died last July at the Obama headquarters, where he worked, in Chicago. The cause of death was later determined to be cardiac arrhythmia. Okrent, 29, was a College of Social Studies major at Wes, and his passing inspired expressions of condolences from both candidates that day in July:
A beloved member of our campaign family, Alex Okrent, passed away today. Our prayers are with his loved ones. We will miss you, Alex. -bo
As journalist Mark Leibovich tells it, Okrent was on board with the Obama cause well before the senator even announced his candidacy in 2007—he took off a semester off from Wesleyan in 2004 to work on Obama’s Senate campaign. Between organizing a campaign book club and dressing up as Tobias Fünke on Halloween in Iowa, Okrent was “demanding, fun and irreverent,” Leibovich writes. “And he was never shy about telling people that he loved them.”
“Getting sloppy drunk because you’re relieved just isn’t as much fun.”
In a post covering Wesleyan’s reaction to Election Night, I remarked on differences between Wesleyan’s celebration of Obama’s reelection this month and its unabashed euphoria following his election in 2008. “This was satisfaction and warm relief,” I wrote; “it wasn’t outright jubilation and madness in the vein of what took place on campus this time in ’08.”
Not that I have any legitimate basis for that claim. I was in high school in 2008. I watched America elect Barack Obama in quiet with my dog while my parents slept down the hall. (The dog might have been sleeping, too.) I didn’t witness any of the “jubilation and madness” taking place in Middletown.
So I reached out to Sam Barth ’13, a fellow senior and friend, who’s one of the only students to have witnessed both elections unfold from the Wesleyan Bubble. Barth was a visiting prefrosh when Obama was elected, and he kindly sent me his thoughts on the comparison between ’08 and ’12:
See below for a message from the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee regarding a paid opportunity for students this Monday and Tuesday:
Got four hours to spare? Join us and get out the vote for Senate candidate Chris Murphy, Barack Obama and the Democratic team. The Connecticut Democratic Party is looking to hire canvassers Monday and Tuesday to help get out the vote in Middletown, for which you can earn $10/hour. No car or experience necessary, and training will be provided.
Interested? Email Katie at katie.breslin[at]gmail[dot]com or call 860-316-5114.
If you are looking for a place to organize your binders full of women, Alexandra Ellerbeck ’13 has got you covered:
Come watch the final presidential debate on Monday. It will be our last opportunity to see Barack Obama and Mitt Romney face off. Two experts on political communication and campaigns, the Government Department’s Professor Lim and Professor Dancey, will attend the debate and will participate in an informal discussion afterwards. Wesleyan’s Roosevelt Institute, WesDems, and ResLife are hosting the screening.
Hello and welcome to the first liveblog of the first debate of the 2012 Presidentiapocalypse! Right now you’re probably asking yourself, “Well, this is awesome! But why is Wesleying doing a liveblog of the presidential debates in the first place?” Good question, insightful reader. Sit down on papa’s lap and I’ll give you an answer.
Wesleying is about all things Wesleyan/college life, right? Right. Some of us here at headquarters were doing some pondering, and we realized: the elections affect students’ lives. And given the reaction to Obama’s victory and 2008 commencement address, Wesleyan students clearly have a part. (Disclaimer: I like Obama.)
I don’t like to name drop, but the first person to tell me about this was the President of the United States. I was interviewing the president for an interview that’s going to be in O magazine . . . and as I sat down putting on my mic, he said ‘have you seen this movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild?’ I hadn’t even heard the phrase so I didn’t even know what he was talking about. And since then at least a dozen different people said to me, ‘have you seen this movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, you have got to see this film.’
We have an opening for one new trainee to begin working as barback in April and barista in the fall. We’re looking for current freshmen and sophomores who are work study only (sorry, upperclassfolks, etc.)
If interested, please email Hannah Cressy ’13 (hcressy@wes) a resume/experience list and short answers to the following questions by MONDAY, MARCH 26.
See job description and short application questions below:
As a barback, you will work one to two 9pm-11pm shifts a week. You will be working during our busy periods, at the same time as a barista, and will be responsible for working the register station, brewing drip coffee and anything else the barista needs so that they can make drinks as fast as possible. You will receive 3-5hrs of mandatory paid training from the cafe manager over the course of the spring semester. Satisfactory completion of work as a barback will make you eligible to become a barista, which will involve a raise and the requirement of working at least one 5 hour shift a week. Baristas at Espwesso are responsible for making drinks, taking suggested per-drink donations, and cleaning and maintaining the cafe space. We are seeking students who are willing to commit sustained time and energy to this cafe, are welcome to apply. Food-service (especially café) experience is a plus but not a requirement.
Please send short answers to the following questions (and a resume, if you have one) to hcressy[wee!]wesleyan[woo!]edu.