Taking Politics to the People

American Studies major puts his passion to practice on campus and in the community

Published Oct. 27, 2008

The presidential race is stirring up political activity on college campuses around the nation. As a January TIME magazine article (The Year the Youth Vote) put it, “Frustrated by feckless Washington, energized by the unscripted, pundit-baffling freedom of a wide-open race, young people are voting in numbers rarely seen since the general election of 1972 — the first in which the voting age was lowered to 18.”

“This is the most important election in our lifetime,” said Rob Nobrega, a 19-year-old sophomore at Lynn who has enthusiastically entered the fray this election season. “It’s important for students to understand politics and to be involved. We can make a difference.”

He’s certainly trying to do his part. On campus, Nobrega hosts a weekly, one-hour political radio show, “True Blue,” on Sunday afternoons from 1-2 p.m. with fellow classmate and Democrat, Michael Griffith. Both supporters of Obama, “we discuss the major events of each week,” said Nobrega. As president of Lynn’s College Democrats, Nobrega has participated in on-campus debates (College Democrats vs. College Republicans) and has helped register over 120 Lynn students to vote in the 2008 election.

Even as record viewers have been tuning in to the seeming nonstop cable news coverage of the race, Nobrega has been doing more than watching. He attends local political events in person. And he is also going door-to-door distributing literature, holding signs on street corners and making phone calls in support of his candidate. Come Election Day, Nobrega will be a precinct watcher.

Nobrega, originally from Providence, R.I., is pursuing a major in American Studies with a minor in communication. When not pounding the political pavement or manning the microphone, Nobrega is also the manager of the men’s soccer team, which has spent much of the regular season as the nation’s number one team. It’s a good change of pace, he says.

“I have made some true friends as manager,” said Nobrega. “The guys on the team aren’t just good on the field, they are good hearted.”

Q&A with Rob

Q: How are you involved on campus?
A: I host two radio shows with other Lynn students – a political show with Mike Griffith and a sports show with James Boris. I’m also the manager of Lynn’s men’s soccer team and president of the Democratic Club.

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Sports and politics – I like playing basketball, soccer, baseball and football, and watching mostly any sport. I like reading books, hanging out with my friends, and watching the news, especially CSPAN.

Q: When did you first get involved in politics?
A: When I was a junior in high school, I really started getting interested in politics. In 2004 I worked with the John Kerry campaign for president.  In 2006 I worked with Sheldon Whitehouse for Senate, and I’m currently involved in the Barack Obama campaign.

Q: What do you do for the Obama campaign?
A: Mostly, I go door to door canvassing and I make phone calls. On Election Day I will be a precinct watcher.

Q: What do you like about Lynn?
A: I like Lynn because it is a small school. You can be a big fish in a small pond if you put your mind to it and get involved on campus.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I want to go to graduate school – hopefully here. Then I want to get a job either in politics, on the radio or on TV.