- uploaded: Feb 14, 2009
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Twenty-year-old Tobin Van Ostern finished his sophomore year last spring at George Washington University, but this fall he's enrolled in the Barack Obama campaign as a full-time organizer.
The Richmond, Virginia, native started Students for Obama on his campus last year as a Facebook group. It now has chapters on 800 campuses, Van Ostern said, and the campaign has recruited thousands of college students and recent graduates to work as both paid staffers and unpaid volunteers through the November election.
Democratic Party strategists believe that in key swing states, a dramatic increase in turnout among young voters--and African-Americans--can be the key to victory for both Obama and the party's candidates for Congress. Campus activists, meanwhile, view the Obama campaign as a means to catalyze a new progressive youth movement among the Millennial (18- to 29-year-old) generation that they hope, unlike the political crusades of the 1960s youth rebellion, will be part of a broader, multigenerational coalition.