During this past January, Pasquale Cipolloni went door-to-door in Pennsylvania Congressional District 7, receiving the occasional door slammed in his face.
He was attempting to receive 250 signatures to confirm his appointment as a delegate.
Cipolloni, who transferred to Temple this summer, will be an alternate at-large delegate for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25 to 28.
The junior political science major said that he always has considered himself a “hippie,” which inspires him to want to “help make the government better.”
“I care about things when they happen to people. Seeing the news and how some politicians respond, it just didn’t sit right with me when their response was anything but genuine,” said Cipolloni who transferred from Delaware County Community College. “I kind of feel like if you want to be a politician, you have to care about other people.”
In the 2008 election, Cipolloni said he was a fan of Hillary Clinton and up until the 2016 election season officially started, he was still undecided on who he was going to vote for.
He said that after seeing Sanders speak at Temple this past April, it was easy to tell that Sanders was speaking from the heart.
“I was hearing problematic things about Hillary and when Bernie came along, he kind of made it seem like some of her policies didn’t go far enough in the realm of the environment, income inequality, social injustice,” Cipolloni said.
After applying to be a delegate, Cipolloni said he learned the hard way what the process of becoming a delegate entails.
In Pennsylvania Congressional District 7, if Bernie and Hillary got 50 percent of the vote, they could each take four delegates from the area.
When Hillary won the district, Cipolloni was “booted” from being an alternate delegate, which would be implemented when another delegate is sick or cannot make it to the convention.
At the Pennsylvania Democratic Convention in June, Cipolloni was nominated to be an at-large delegate for all of Pennsylvania and will step in for anyone across the state.
“I have a feeling it was some of the other Bernie delegates that won in the primary because I was very active in helping them,” Cipolloni said.
Karen Turner, associate professor of journalism at Temple, met Cipolloni when he appeared on an episode of A Broader View, a journalism talk show hosted by Turner. She and the other producer decided that an episode should focus on the primaries and through searching Facebook, they discovered Cipolloni.
“You have a student-to-be not only talking the talk, but walking the talk and it was really exciting,” Turner said.
She added that it was a “no brainer” to invite him to speak to the Temple DNC News Bureau class, a project that pairs SMC students with news organizations across the country for coverage of the DNC.
“[Students] individually were talking to their delegations, all of the students had the opportunity to develop relationships with their delegations,” Turner said. “Then they could talk together with a delegate and raise some issues that came up with their delegations.”
After he was accepted as a delegate, he had one month to collect 250 signatures, which he said was not an easy feat.
“They just didn’t kind of get that voting for Bernie wasn’t enough,” Cipolloni said. “So I had to sell myself and then Bernie Sanders.”
During this week, Cipolloni and other delegates will be voting on party platform issues like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“It’s to help shape what kind of campaign Hillary is going to run and how the democratic party is going to operate for the next four years,” Cipolloni said.
Because Clinton is the democratic presidential nominee, Cipolloni said this convention will be different than one’s in the recent past.
“I think he is bringing his staff and the delegates strongly to the convention to make sure that all those democrats that feel left out or feel they have to go independent because Bernie isn’t going to be running anymore, that they feel included in the new party platform,” Cipolloni said.
During the canvassing period of Sanders’ campaign, Cipolloni worked closely with another delegate, Kristin Seale. Together over the last few months, they worked on petition signings and get out the vote efforts.
“I think the DNC will be an excellent opportunity for him to become more known in the PA party, to meet more of our local politicians, and to connect with more youth in our movement to build the future of our party,” said Seale, a Baltimore-native who recently earned a master’s in public administration from Villanova University.
After graduating from Temple, Cipolloni hopes to pursue a master’s degree in constitutional law.
During this week at the DNC, Cipolloni also hopes to represent his district fairly and make sure everyone’s voices are heard.
“It’s great to see all of these different people coming together, even if you disagree with Hillary, get[ting] behind one candidate in order to overcome the loom of Donald Trump in the distance,” Cipolloni said.
Emily Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.