Iowa College Students Becoming Active in Governing Under the Influence

Kevin Rutledge on March 05, 2015

VIDEO from Drake University student Emma Wilson reporting on Iowa GUI Kickoff event for a school video project.

While studying broadcast news journalism, philosophy and Arabic, Drake University junior Emma Wilson produced a short video of AFSC Iowa’s “Governing Under the Influence” kickoff event with keynote speaker John Nichols from The Nation on February 7th for a school video project (see video at bottom of page).

When asked why she chose our event, “I love that GUI [Governing Under the Influence] is a nonpartisan group that is trying to reach across party lines to create reformations in the US political system…I thought GUI would be something that lots of people would be interested in, especially because of the upcoming caucuses.”

“I think it’s important for people to hear about GUI because living in Iowa, we have a unique opportunity to interact frequently with politicians during the campaign season.”  We certainly do, with more than 20 presidential candidate appearances in Iowa in the next month alone.

Emma first became involved with AFSC from her passion for Palestinian Justice.  AFSC helped create educational forums with her Drake student organization Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance (MEPPA).  AFSC Iowa also has March events in Des Moines: Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism looking at historical activism through boycotts.  Such as the Montgomery boycott, unions, sweatshops, and the current Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign toward Israel.

All over Iowa, college students like Emma are becoming more engaged in the political process by learning how we can change the conversation in our country, from simply talking about the issues of corporate money and influence to presidential candidates.  

“I think lots of young people and college students are already fairly interested in being involved in politics and are thinking critically about the types of representatives they want.”  Emma was impressed with the recent appearances at Drake University by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden, allowing them to fulfill their university mission statement of becoming ‘responsible global citizens’.

“Organizations like GUI, take this one step further and challenge us to question our potential representatives in order to find someone who is working for the rights and interests of the people, not corporations.  I think by organizing events on college campuses and working with students to start student organizations around political reformation, students will definitely start getting more involved in organizations like GUI.”

AFSC’s Governing Under the Influence campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire is looking to connect with students, activists, student groups, church groups, and community organizations who are interested in an interactive bird-dog training to ask presidential candidates questions.  As well as engaging presentations focused on how corporate dollars threaten our democracy from millions in corporate campaign donations and lobbying in the military weapons industry, private prisons, and immigration. 

If interested in presentations or bird-dog trainings, for Iowa please contact Kevin Rutledge at (515) 274-4851 ext. 23 or  For New Hampshire, contact Eric Zulaski at (603) 224-2407 or


Kevin Rutledge

Kevin Rutledge AFSC Governing Under the Influence Presidential Campaign Project

Kevin Rutledge is the Grassroots Education Coordinator with AFSC’s Presidential Campaign Project in Iowa.  Kevin has deep family roots in Quaker activism for peace and social justice.  A graduate from Iowa State University in Sociology and Criminal Justice, his previous work includes: United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) organizer, Public Citizen online organizer to overturn Citizens United, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, and a youth residential treatment facility.  Kevin hopes to one day return to Brazil and live by the beach.

“What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” – Napoleon Hill .