Students form NU4Biden to “mobilize” college voters around former VP


Daily file photo by Sneha Dey

NU4Biden, a student group working to support former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, announced its formation in early July.

Jacob Fulton, Reporter

In April, former Vice President Joe Biden became the presumptive Democratic nominee for president in the 2020 election. Now, over three months later, students at Northwestern are rallying behind Biden and working to generate enthusiasm for his platform.

Earlier this month, students announced the formation of NU4Biden, a club intended to garner support for the Biden campaign. The organization will host its kickoff event Thursday as the club’s leadership team prepares to engage with students.

The idea for the club began at an Illinois Students for Biden meeting — an event attended by Weinberg sophomores Eric Wagner and Eddie Woo, the club’s co-presidents, and multiple other members of the executive board. Wagner and Woo knew each other previously, but didn’t realize the other would be on the call.

Woo, an early supporter of Biden, had caucused for the campaign in Iowa. For Wagner, however, the decision to support Biden came after his top candidate, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), dropped out of the race. Wagner said he appreciated Biden’s willingness to hear others’ viewpoints, which was what won him over.

“Even if he may not be the most progressive man himself, he will always give progressives a seat at the table,” Wagner said. “He goes into a lot of issues open-mindedly and just listens to a lot of experts, listens to all sides of the political aisle and uses trusted sources and facts to make up his mind.”

After the call, Woo and Wagner said they worked to begin recruiting like-minded activists and students interested in political involvement — including Weinberg sophomore Matthew Norambuena.

Norambuena, one of the club’s communications directors, said NU4Biden plans to connect with students through a wide range of political and social events. Though COVID-19 has made in-person campaigning events like canvassing difficult, he said NU4Biden will still work to reach potential voters both on and off campus.

“We’re really focused on mobilizing young voters to vote and get excited about Joe Biden, but not only young voters on Northwestern’s campus,” Norambuena said. “That’s the number one focus, but we want to help schools from other states, especially neighboring Midwestern states that are going to be closer than Illinois will be.”

The club’s first campaigning event, a virtual phone bank, is scheduled for next Tuesday. Woo said the event would include a training process for those who haven’t participated in a phone bank before.

Above all, Woo said the club strives to be inclusive. Many members were initially supporters of other candidates in the Democratic primary, he said, and he doesn’t want people to feel like they need an extensive knowledge of politics to participate.

“We want to have those different perspectives so isn’t just Biden’s team — it’s all of us,” Woo said. “We want to create a space where everyone can feel valued and feel that their opinions matter and that their additions to a club matters.”

Woo said the club has worked intentionally to include and support incoming freshmen, which make up nearly 40 percent of the club’s existing membership. By allowing the class of 2024 to participate in events before they get to campus, Woo hopes to foster friendships and encourage political action throughout all four years the freshmen will be on campus.

By uniting Democrats on NU’s campus, Wagner said NU4Biden could make a difference beyond providing an opportunity to interact with like-minded voters.

“Calling that one voter and getting them to change their mind or just engaging in political conversations across the country is really what makes a more informed electorate,” Wagner said. “That’s what’s going to help push Biden over the edge.”

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Twitter: @jacobnfulton1

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