How Victor Shi took up the crusade to get Gen Z out of apathy and into the voting booth

June 18, 2024
Joseph Bien-Kahn I UCLA

The first question people ask Victor Shi ’24 is “Are you a social media expert?” And the second: “Is President Joe Biden too old to energize Gen Z voters?”

As we sit on the patio of the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center on a chilly but sunny afternoon, Shi tells me that the answer to both is a resounding “No.” It’s March, and he still has a few finals to prepare for — in two weeks, he’ll be graduating from UCLA with a bachelor of arts degree in American Literature and Culture. His first after-graduation priority? Go home to Chicago and “just rest for a week,” after which it’s straight into a career he has seemed destined for since middle school: electoral politics. At the end of March, he joined the Biden 2024 Campaign as a youth communications coordinator.

Long before he started at UCLA, Shi began leveraging an obsession with politics into a role as avatar for, and cheerleader to, young voters. With Gen Z long dismissed as apathetic and irrelevant on the American electoral map, Shi wants to make sure this cohort wakes up and smells the threat to freedom. In the process, he’s amassed an X following of more than 285,000, a legion that includes The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman; Star Trek’s George Takei ’60, M.A. ’64; former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke; and former White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Read the full Newsroom story.

Victor Shi photograph by Jessica Pons.