Washington, Pa. (May 24, 2012)—When Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign tour stopped in Ohio and Western Pennsylvania last week, five Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) student volunteers got a behind-the-scenes glimpse at what it takes to execute a Presidential campaign event.
The students were chosen to represent the College by Byron McCrae, vice president and dean of student life at W&J, who was contacted by a member of Biden’s staff looking for student volunteers.
Dylan Haas, a junior economics major from Damascus, Md., was responsible for driving a van of media members covering the event. “Listening to the reporters working to create content on a tight deadline gave me some interesting insight into what it takes to produce news,” said Haas, who also enjoyed meeting Vice President Biden after one of his speeches in Ohio. “The Vice President was very personable, and talked to us like we were good friends,” he added.
When the campaign tour made a surprise stop at Hog Father’s Old Fashioned Barbecue in Washington, Pa., Vice President Biden was asked about his impression of the W&J student drivers. “The students were wonderful,” said Biden. “It’s not easy driving in a motorcade with the Secret Service, and they did a great job.”
Zach Rosinger, a junior psychology major from Pittsburgh who also drove a press van, described his experience as “unforgettable.” “Driving in a motorcade for the Vice President of the United States was an exhilarating experience,” he said. “The care put into making sure the Vice President would be transported safely was just incredible. It was interesting to witness all of the planning that goes into just one day’s worth of traveling.”
Other student participants included Jon McCloskey, a senior political science major from Canonsburg, Haley Roberts, a sophomore economics major from Upper St. Clair, and Kyle Sossi, a sophomore from Venetia.
W&J was the only college represented in the motorcade.
“The staffer requested our students’ participation because Washington & Jefferson College had been strongly recommended to him by an alumnus,” McCrae said. “This was an unbelievable opportunity for our students, who were honored to represent W&J during the Vice President’s campaign tour.”
Haas credits the importance of relationships at W&J with making opportunities like this possible.
“Without Dean McCrae’s ability to develop personal relationships with his students, he wouldn’t have been able to reach out to us on such short notice, and we may not have gotten the chance to volunteer that day,” he said. “It certainly was an extraordinary experience. I mean, how many opportunities do you have to meet the Vice President?”