RNC Ohio Honorary Delegate Program

BW students will witness the highly anticipated Republican National Convention in Cleveland from a variety of insider vantage points.

BW students gearing up to experience democracy in action at the RNC

June 30, 2016

RNC Cleveland arena signBaldwin Wallace University students are preparing to plug into the highly anticipated Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, which features insurgent candidate Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee. Nine BW students will be embedded the Ohio Republican Party’s Official Honorary Delegate Program, while another 13 BW students will join 125 students from colleges across the country to attend The Washington Center (TWC) Academic Convention Seminar. BW is home base for TWC’s two-week immersive convention experience.

Witnessing a historic convention

2016 Convention Academic seminarsCombining formal instruction, guest lectures, panels, tours, site visits, and fieldwork assignments, TWC gives students the opportunity to experience the convention from behind the scenes, and to witness democracy in action at both the grassroots and national levels. During the convention week, TWC students will be placed in internships with CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, the Secret Service, Downtown Cleveland Alliance, state GOP delegations, and the Cuyahoga County GOP, just to name a few. BW students will also be earning three credits in political science for their work in the program.  

Twelve of the BW students are attending TWC on full scholarship, thanks to support from the Cleveland Foundation. In addition to the attendees, nine BW students will serve as TWC program interns, working logistics, planning and media coordination, and enjoying access to programming in their free time.

“From the moment the RNC announced Cleveland as a location, BW went to work to create opportunities for our students to engage in and learn from the process,” said Thomas Sutton, Ph.D., political science professor who has spearheaded BW’s RNC initiatives. “We’re looking forward to welcoming TWC participants and guests to our campus, and, like the rest of the country, are eager to see the political drama unfold in this unusual election cycle.”

Engaging students in democracy

RNC Ohio Honorary Delegate ProgramThe student honorary delegates (pictured here with their faculty leader) will attend all activities and rub elbows with top government leaders right along with regular party delegates; they also have the opportunity to earn credit for the experience.  

“We are grateful to be among the 50,000 delegates, alternates, party officials, volunteers and national media who will gather for this quadrennial exercise in democracy,” said Lauren Copeland, Ph.D., political science professor and faculty leader for BW’s group of honorary delegates. “This is a chance to witness history and to absorb lessons of political science and citizenship that cannot be matched in a classroom exercise.”

Extending the experience

A “First Year Experience” course titled “Millennials: Making a Difference When the Media Tells You Not to Bother” is among the course offerings in the fall that aim to extend the opportunities for BW students to learn from the up-close election experiences only available in a bellwether state like Ohio. 

Voices of Democracy comes to BWBW also will keep the dialogue about democracy going with an impressive line-up of prominent speakers appearing for a 2016-17 Voices of Democracy series, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and CNN commentator Van Jones debating the economic impact of the major party presidential candidates, and an appearance by John Quiñones, host of the popular ABC prime time series “What Would You Do?” who will ask his trademark question in a talk on “Changing Ethics in America.” Visit bw.edu/democracy for more information and updates to the schedule of events.

As the general election campaigns heat up, BW students also will continue to be involved in election year polling conducted by BW’s Community Research Institute (CRI).