Greetings from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania!

Hey College Dems! I’m excited to report that I’m working for OFA as a Fellow in Pittsburgh, PA!

As a Fellow, I’m in charge of getting as many votes as possible for President Obama in my section of the city of Pittsburgh. I manage volunteers, run phone banks and canvasses, and secure staging locations for different upcoming events, including GOTV.

My “turf” is the West End, a section of the city made up of about 10 different neighborhoods called boroughs. Here is a map of the city of Pittsburgh with my turf circled:

It’s a very diverse section of the city. The Northeast part of the West End is predominantly Section 8 housing/projects with a lot of poverty, but the southwest part is mainly middle to upper middle class people.

Although the turf I manage is in the West End, the Obama HQ I work out of is in a section of the city called the South Side. When I’m at the office, I’m almost always on the phone trying to convince Obama supporters to come volunteer at a canvass, phone bank, or become part of the highly active volunteers that make up a neighborhood team. The rest of the time is spent planning the logistics for phone banks/canvasses, and meeting with volunteers 1-on-1.  Here’s a few pictures of the office:

Here’s our front window with a view of Carson Street. Carson has many bars and good restaurants on it, and it’s close to a couple of the city colleges in Pittsburgh. A lot of students and young professionals come to Carson on the weekends. Think Kirkwood, but bigger.

Sign reads:

“What is the first thing you’ll do on November 7th, win or lose?”
“Win or lose, I’ll be thanking everybody who is working so hard – especially all the volunteers in field offices all across the country, and the amazing young people in our campaign offices.” –President Barack Obama

Everyone signs this tree when they visit the office. What do the tree roots spell?

As I mentioned, a lot of my time is spent out in the field canvassing. One of the cool things about Pittsburgh is that it is built in a river valley and sprawls into the surrounding sides of the  Appalachian mountains. Therefore…a lot of the neighborhoods in the city, especially the West End where I work, are very hilly. If you think Bloomington has big hills, come to Pittsburgh! When I’m going door to door, I often have to climb several flights of stairs just to get to the front door. Here are some pictures of what I mean:

Here’s a shot looking down from a door. Don’t worry, when the lady came to the door, I asked permission to photograph her steps.

And every once in a while, you’ll get one of these monsters. Needless to say, I get a workout when I canvass.

I work 9am-10pm Mon-Thurs, and between 6-11 hours a day Fri-Sun. Despite the hectic and stressful schedule, I’m having the time of my life out here, it’s politics all day everyday! This is important work that we’re doing. Not just in Pennsylvania, but in Indiana too. I hope you guys keep fighting the good fight. Keep working hard and stand together so we can give the President 4 more years! Have a great, productive semester at IU. GO HOOSIERS!

I’ll leave you with one of the most beautiful views of the city of Pittsburgh, which happens to be in the West End–my turf!

–Sam Blatt

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