Website Matches Students With Gap-Year Opportunities to Work on Political Campaigns Remotely


More college-bound students, uncertain about their schools’ plans for the fall and not wanting to have their college experiences online, are opting to take a “gap year”: a year-long break from school. Four times as many are making that choice this year as last, according to Business Insider, as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Many others are planning to go to school part time.

“My friend and I were thinking about how these students can have a productive year,” said Caroline Blanck, 23, who lives on the Upper West Side. “Simultaneously, we were seeing that a lot of people in our generation — born roughly between 1997 and 2012 — are very upset with their current political representation.”

That’s not surprising when you consider that “Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history, with 48% being nonwhite,” according to Pew Research Center. And 62% of U.S. elected officials are white men.

“Gen Z has been voicing their frustrations on social media,” Blanck said, “but they don’t really have an outlet to make tangible change or the kind of differences they want.”

So, she and her college friend, Adrienne Wolff, 23, created a website to allow Gen Z-ers — or Zoomers, as they are sometimes called — to participate in local, state and national political campaigns around the country, from their homes. “We match them with campaigns in New York, California, Iowa, and we’re growing the network,” Blanck said. “We had to think of a way people could get involved without traveling, and in a socially distant way.”

“The ultimate goal of The Gap Project is to increase the representation of historically underrepresented groups in politics,’ Blanck continued, “so we are supporting young candidates, women, people of color, people in the LGBTQ community, and other groups that don’t have adequate political representation.”

The word GAP in the project’s name stands for “Get Acting, People.” The website matches students with political campaigns, based on an “intuitive quiz” Blanck and Wolff created to identify students’ political leanings and values. Blanck’s and Wolff’s are abundantly clear: Conservatives won’t find many options here.

What can a student working on a political campaign expect to do?

“Volunteering on a campaign can take many different forms,” Blanck said, “including phone banking, writing letters, sending text messages. Generally, on bigger campaigns — senate and presidential — the tasks are smaller, but if you’re working on a local campaign, students and younger people will definitely have the opportunity to have more substantial roles.”

Blanck herself has taken a substantial role in the 2021 campaign for New York City’s mayor. A graduate of Brown University, with a Master’s in environmental science and policy from Columbia University, she will be writing climate policy for…she won’t say who! “He hasn’t officially launched his campaign yet,” she explained. “As soon as he does, I promise, I’ll tell you.” Wolff, who studied urban green space policy at Brown, has joined the campaign.

The GAP Project also has a link that will walk Gen Z-ers through the process of registering to vote.

“In the first 48 hours, we had 50 participants and it’s been growing ever since,” Blanck said. Here’s a link to the site and the quiz to identify the kind of candidates you might like to work for. You can follow The Gap Project on instagram @getactingpeople

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