“I was able to choose a project I’m passionate about. I think that’s the most rewarding part of Senior Independent Projects,” began Robby Phillips ’19, junior prefect at Trinity-Pawling. “It’s easy to be involved with something I truly care about.”
Phillips embarked on his SIP process in the spring of his junior year. His topic: local politics. Phillips’ SIP began as an internship on Antonio Delgado’s congressional campaign for New York District 19, which includes his hometown of Pawling. “I’ve always been passionate about current issues and I pay close attention to politics at both the local and national levels,” Phillips explained. “I’ve wanted to get involved for a while, and since I can’t vote yet, I thought this was the perfect way.”
Since May, Phillips has worked under campaign field directors, canvassing for the congressional campaign and helping to organize groups of campaign volunteers. The work, he said, picked up just before the primaries in June and he’s seeing it get even busier now with Election Day less than a month away.
“I’ve learned so much about the way a campaign is run and all the work that goes into it,” Phillips shared. “Many people don’t realize how much work and manpower it takes 24/7.” Learning about his hometown, he said, was also quite rewarding, with opportunities to meet new people and see things from a new perspective.
“I’d say one of the more challenging parts of my project was figuring out how to communicate with people,” he explained. “People are not always informed or receptive, especially when it comes to politics. Figuring out how to connect with them, and show how crucial it is to participate and vote, that was a learning experience.”
Phillips presented his final SIP to classmates and a panel of faculty members on Tuesday, October 16. One of his main takeaways, he explained, is the importance of civic engagement, particularly for young people. “Such a low percentage of young people actually go to the polls and vote each election,” Phillips stated. “We have to change that and I’m inclined to be a part of that change.”
While his official presentation may be complete, Phillips’ project is ongoing—and his excitement is building as Election Day grows nearer. “No matter what, it’s a great feeling to know I’m participating and making a difference in some way,” he concluded. “As for my project’s success…we’ll have to see what happens on Election Day.”