Jaclyn Vander Waal —Staff Writer
Luke Nieuwendorp balances his time between his double major in agri-business and political science and working to prepare for the upcoming election. While many college students shrug off politics, he plays an active role in campaigning for one of his professors.
Nieuwendorp, a senior at Dordt University, is an intern and volunteer for the congressional campaign of Randy Feenstra,. Feenstra, a professor of business administration, holds the Republican candidacy in Iowa’s 4th congressional district for the upcoming general election.
Often, Nieuwendorp is the “annoying person” who makes voter contact calls. He spends two to three days a week completing “random stuff” like this for the Feenstra campaign.
In addition to phone calls, Nieuwendorp writes postcards to voters, builds turnouts for events, secures locations for barn and yard signs, and works in the northwest Iowa Republican headquarters in Sioux Center. He began volunteering for the campaign last fall.
“When running for office, you quickly learn you can’t do it all yourself. It takes a team of volunteers, friends, family and supporters from across the district,” Feenstra said. “From early-morning door knocking to late-night phone banking, Luke has been there every step of the way and has made a difference for my campaign. I greatly appreciate Luke’s commitment to our campaign.”
“When running for office, you quickly learn you can’t do it all yourself. It takes a team of volunteers, friends, family and supporters from across the district,”
Nieuwendorp has always held an interest in politics.
“As a Christian, I care about what this country does and how it operates,” he said. “It interests me to see how that happens and what are ways we can make it better.”
Nieuwendorp also enjoys relationships he has made during his involvement in this campaign.
“Not many of my friends are into politics, so it’s kind of nice to be around people who share the same interest,” he said.
Nieuwendorp appreciates that Feenstra is a “goofy, regular guy” who does not think he is better than anyone else—a unique trait for a political candidate in his opinion. He thinks many Republican candidates claim to be Christians just for the votes, but he is happy to see such is not an act for Feenstra.
“He’s a really good prof, and he truly cares,” Niewendorp said. “It’s just cool that someone I have taken multiple classes from and learned from could be our next congressman.”
Feenstra is grateful for everything Nieuwendorp has done for the campaign. He said Nieuwendorp is dependable and accountable on the campaign trail as well as in the classroom.
“He doesn’t complain and is willing to tackle the tough jobs,” Feenstra said. “In the classroom, Luke may learn business and economics from me, but I have learned a lot from Luke on the campaign trail. I have enjoyed getting to know him and hearing his perspective as a college student and young adult on politics and current events.”
Nieuwendorp said he would like to find a career after college where both his majors meet. He could see himself working with the policy side of agriculture.
No matter where the future takes him, he plans to stay involved in politics.
“Politics decide our daily lives, what we can or can’t do,” Nieuwendorp said. “Literally everything today is allowed or not allowed because of politics. Something may not affect you now, but it may in the future.”
Nieuwendorp said only a handful of Dordt students are engaged in politics even though the college’s staff is involved. He would like to see more students participate. Feenstra also would like to see more young people engage in politics and public service.
“The number one way I would like Dordt students to get involved is by voting,” Feenstra said. “We are blessed to live in a country and democracy where we have the privilege to directly elect those who represent us. I hope every student takes advantage of this opportunity and uses their voice to vote.”