SGA vice president finds summer job working social media for Obama campaign

Social networking sites are a way to stay in touch with friends for most people.

It’s a vital part of Wichita State senior Olivia Sullivan’s job.

She is serving as a fellow for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign this summer. She expects to be offered a job in the fall if she does well.

Sullivan is studying political science and philosophy and is WSU’s Student Government Association vice president.

“It’s really cool to get to work for people who want the same end result in November,” she said. “It’s fulfilling work.”

She is in charge of updating the “Obama for America” blog and Twitter posts every week. She manages them from her laptop about 20 hours a week.

“My position is digital, which shows how far modern politics has become,” Sullivan said. “I do conference calls every Friday with people from Chicago, with the people that work close to Obama. They check up with everything I do.”

Sullivan received the internship by filling out an online application sent to her based upon her work in the Kansas Democratic Party in 2008. She volunteered with Raj Goyle during his 2010 Kansas U.S. 4th District Congressional campaign.

Sullivan is passionate about working for the campaign because of her connections with the Democratic Party. Sullivan was impressed with how Democrats supported her sister for her beliefs after her conflict with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, regarding a post on Twitter. The post resulted in national and international attention.

Marriage equality and equal pay for women are also some of the reasons for Sullivan’s involvement with the campaign.

A typical week for Sullivan starts in Kansas City, where she works 10 hours for the Obama Campaign. She arrives home on Tuesdays to work from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the SGA office to answer e-mails. After work, she writes her blog post, checks in with her boss in Kansas City and practices for the WSU debate team. This process is repeated Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Although it makes for a hectic schedule, Sullivan appreciates the experience and opportunity to make a difference. She wants to inspire young people to understand their role in politics and how valuable they could become.

“My end goal is to contribute the best way possible,” Sullivan said. “Obama is very much about empowering people that work on his team. Instead of people telling us what to do, we get to do stuff by ourselves.”