Ben & Jerry's co-founders campaign for Sanders at Rutgers
As New Jersey's presidential primary approaches,
Rutgers for Bernie, the campus arm of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) campaign, hosted an event headlined by Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield Monday, on the Brower Steps at the College Avenue campus.
The two Sanders supporters came to register students to vote and to show their support for Sanders.
After registering to vote, attendees were given free ice cream -- including mint chocolate chunk, cookies and cream and a special flavor created by Cohen, named “Bernie’s Yearning.”
Dozens of students were in attendance who were eager to register, get ice cream and meet Cohen and Greenfield. Representatives for Black Men for Bernie, the Bus for Progress and U.S. Congressional candidate Peter Jacob were also in attendance.
The event was initially scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. but was delayed due to Cohen and Greenfield's flight.
Students came in undeterred flocks as the duo addressed the crowd about their hopes for Sanders to be the Democratic nominee.
“We will keep fighting until we create a country that lives up to its creed, that gives a hand up to the poor, that welcomes minorities of race, gender and sexual orientation and brings the American Dream -- which is hard work leading to prosperity -- back to the middle class,” Cohen said.
Cohen and Greenfield have been traveling the country to raise support for Sanders because the two support the Senator's platform, he said.
The pair have lived in Sanders' home state for 30 years and feel he is the candidate who will best represent the people disenfranchised by the current political system, Greenfield said.
Rutgers for Bernie press director Benjamin Silva said the organization was able to host the event after getting contacting a member of Sanders' South Carolina campaign.
The School of Arts and Sciences first-year student said he hopes the event will spur enthusiasm for Sanders' campaign, while allowing students to register to vote and obtain mail-in ballots to support the candidate, he said.
“There are supposed to be (more than) 500 people here, so you can see the enthusiasm that these ideas are generating,” he said. “There’s so much that can be done to make sure that Bernie is our next president. Or, if not, that these ideas are carried on and implemented, because this is what’s truly important.”
Megan Coyne, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student and a Sanders supporter, hopes the event makes others more interested in voting in general, not just voting for Sanders.
“I don’t think a lot of people care,” she said. "I hope that it will raise more awareness amongst people about the importance of voting in general."
Greenfield said he believes Sanders is the only candidate who will create a “political revolution” and make the voices of the lower and middle classes heard, he said.
Cohen said he believes the progressive movement Sanders has created will not stop if he does not get the Democratic nomination.
Candidates that “the people truly want” will be able to succeed without funding from Super PACs, he said.
Sanders’ movement, Greenfield said, has not only captured the attention of young people, but all voters whose views align with Sanders' own.
That support is exemplified by endorsements of groups such as Black Men for Bernie and Cohen and Greenfield themselves.
About 95 new voters were registered through the event, Silva said, out of more than 500 attendees.
“America is not supposed to be an aristocracy, it’s a democracy,” Cohen said. “And we will make it so once again.”
Harshel Patel is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in molecular biology and biochemistry. He is the digital editor of The Daily Targum. He can be found on Twitter @harshel_p.