Junior political science and international relations major Sam White makes the most of his time at Geneseo by combining his passion for politics and performing.
White became interested in politics in eighth grade when he joined his middle school's Model United Nations Club, though his interest in politics was sparked even earlier. "I even started a debate in fourth grade about the Bush and Gore election," White said.
In 2008, White worked on the campaign for Mike Oot, the democratic candidate for New York's 23rd Congressional District. "It was fun. I was pretty involved, looking up information, preparing for debates and fundraising," he said. Later that year, White helped with the Obama campaign, working mostly from his hometown Oneida. "There's little room in other jobs to help other people," he said. "I want to raise people's voices that aren't heard."
"I want to run for office," he said. "I think I have the abilities to make an impact and help those who are underrepresented. In this country, we tend to ignore the minorities, the poor and students. I'd like to get their voices heard."
White explained that what can be difficult, however, is persuading people that having universal guarantees such as education and healthcare are essential to the survival of our citizens.
"You have to do it gradually," White said. "Many people think socialism is a bad word, but it really is … to benefit the people. Health care is a fundamental human right, and in order to live well, everyone needs it. Hopefully with Obamacare, people will start to see benefits in providing health care for all."
Not only has White contributed to multiple political campaigns, but he has also worked for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States.
"It was a really interesting experience because you get to see the working class of America. These were some of the hardest working people I've ever seen in my life and they are still economically struggling," White said. "It makes me angry when people disparage unions. They are the ones who brought us eight-hour work days and safe working conditions. We should be focused on the working people of the United States as opposed to corporate executives."
In addition to his involvement in politics, White does behind-the-scenes work as the general manager of GSTV and acts as vice president of the student-run improvisation group, Currently Known As:.
A member of the improvisation show, sophomore Philip Romano, found a puppet in the library that looks strikingly similar to White.
"I think [the improv shows] are quite wonderful," Puppet Sam White said. "The one who looks like me though has to be the best."
And what are Puppet Sam White's views on the upcoming presidential election? "I think what we need in office is a political puppet," he said.
Puppet Sam White also had some lasting advice for other puppets out there. "If you are patient and persistent, your time will come. You can do anything; go on YouTube and make a video, or make a Facebook and gain more friends than your human counterpart." Look out in government and on Facebook for Sam White and Puppet Sam White, because neither of them will be disappearing any time soon.