Sophomore channels passion for politics
Ben Wexler-Waite ’14 is interested in political communications. Here on Mayflower Hill, the government major and philosophy minor from New York City is increasing political consciousness through his twice-monthly publication Outside Colby.
Now reaching its first full year in print, Outside Colby deals with political issues that are important to community members, often offering two differing viewpoints on a debate or issue.
Ben seemed destined to arrive on the Hill, as both of his parents are graduates of the College. His parents, Karen Wexler and Doug Waite, met in a Nietzsche seminar during their years together on campus. Perhaps it is because his Colby-couple parents were so involved in the College themselves that Ben wasted no time in making his mark on the school as well.
“I’m really passionate about politics,” Ben said. “I felt when I came here that Colby really needed something to promote political debate.” Outside Colby, which he began as a first-year with Yana Mayayeva ’14, was his solution.
“People say that they want to learn more about important political issues but don’t always have the time or resources here,” he said. Outside Colby seeks to bridge that gap, taking national issues and placing them in a forum where knowledgeable and passionate peers can articulate what is going on in the wider world.
So far, it has been a success, and he hopes to see the magazine grow into a Colby institution that will last beyond his tenure here. The vice president of the Colby Democrats, Ben is vocal about his political position. He is currently working for communications in Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in Maine through Twitter, the first time he’s used the medium. This past summer, he conducted opposition research for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) as an intern in her New York City office. He hopes to find himself in the nation’s capital this summer working in political communications.
Ben said that the way political parties express themselves is incredibly important and that the Democrats need to do a better job forging an emotional connection with their constituents.
“I think that in the past, Republicans have been especially good at communications,” he said. “It’s something that Democrats are starting to get better at in [Obama’s 2008] campaign....When Democrats stumble, they kind of become policy wonks,” he said. His long-term goal: “I guess I want to work to take Democratic communication in a more passionate direction.”
Although many of his credentials might suggest a one-track mind for political communication, Ben is involved as a leader in other ways. This past year, he was a Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip (COOT) leader and he loved it.
“COOT’s one of my favorite things about Colby,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to get to meet and know new people.”
Next spring, Ben hopes to study abroad in Italy—probably in Florence. “I love Italian. I love the culture. I love the food.” He has been there once before, traveling with his family and he said the experience was amazing.
Whether reveling in Italian food or political communications, Ben puts his heart into his activities.