Brooke Valentin Contributing Writer
In the midst of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, popular ice cream makers Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, of Ben and Jerry’s, recently visited campus to host an ice cream social in support of Sanders’ campaign.
The event was hosted by the UMF College Democrats in the Landing. Kurtis Morton, Democrats president, was contacted by Representative Ben Collings, of Maine District 42, who is the head of Sanders’ campaign in Portland, about hosting an ice cream social for students to learn more about the campaign. “Ben emailed me last minute and asked if we would be interested in hosting an ice cream social about Bernie Sanders campaign,” Morton said. “We thought it would be a good idea for Bernie supporters.”
Collings kicked off the social by discussing his role in the campaign and its importance to him before introducing Cohen and Greenfield. Cohen said, “Before Bernie, Jerry and I used to be the most famous guys from Vermont, but we’re really happy to turn that title over to Bernie. Ice cream is good but a President of the United States who truly believes in justice in all its flavors is euphoric.”
Ben and Jerry’s has become well known as a politically motivated company, both Cohen and Greenfield having been arrested at a Democracy Spring protest in April 2016, rallying against the influence of money in politics. Their website outlines a variety of issues the company has stances on including climate justice, refugees, LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice and GMO labeling.
Though the Ben and Jerry’s company claims no political affiliations, both Cohen and Greenfield are loud and proud about their personal support for Sanders, the ice cream being only a courtesy. “I’ve been thinking lately about the Pledge of Allegiance strangely enough. It’s something we all said everyday in public school. The pledge ends with ‘and justice for all,’” Cohen said at the social. “It’s about equality and fairness, but then you get out into the real world and realize that this isn’t true. Bernie believes in justice for all, he believes that the country should be based on love, compassion and generosity.”
Greenfield then took the mic to talk about the importance of voting. He said, “A whole bunch of people who don’t normally vote in democratic primaries have to get out and vote in democratic primaries.”
According to an article by the Pew Research Center, as of Nov. 2016 there were about 245.5 million people in the U.S. of voting age, but only 157.6 million who were registered. To impress the importance of getting out and voting, Cohen urged students at the social to consider their priorities come election day, that they may have weigh going on a date over going to the booth. But when one student called from the crowd, “Bring your date to the booth!” Cohen called back, “Yes! Bring your date to the booth! Do it in the booth for Bernie!”
“It’s wonderful to see all of you here and to feel the energy here. This is what it’s going to take to bring about a political revolution,” Greenfield said. “There’s nothing Ben and I would rather do then come out and scoop ice cream for Bernie supporters.”
Students interested in the College Democrats can find the club at meetings every Tuesday from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. in the Roberts room 103, or follow the club on Instagram @umfdems.