BW student Jerald Goins speaks about The Washington Center RNC exprience

Students from across the country will experience the nominating convention, with Cleveland Foundation scholarships supporting BW student participation.

BW to Host The Washington Center's RNC Experience for College Students

January 29, 2016

2016 Convention Academic seminarsOne of many benefits The Republican National Convention (RNC) is expected to bring to Cleveland this summer is the opportunity for students to witness democracy in action. But one educational program, to be hosted at Baldwin Wallace University, will give college students from across the country more than a front row seat.

The Washington Center’s (TWC) unique, two-week Academic Convention Seminar will immerse students in the political process, and a partnership with The Cleveland Foundation will ensure Northeast Ohio students will be included. 

Leveraging the RNC to Engage College Students

During a breakfast meeting at Cleveland’s Union Club on Thursday, January 28, Northeast Ohio education, business, philanthropy and government leaders, including gathered with TWC representatives for a dialogue about “Leveraging the Cleveland Convention Experience to Engage College Students in the Political Process.”

The event also formally launched TWC’s partnership with The Cleveland Foundation, which has pledged a generous $50,000 grant to fund 24 scholarships for traditionally underrepresented students from BW and Tri-C.

BW President Bob Helmer addresses Washington Center breakfast attendees

Partnership Power 

BW President Robert C. Helmer applauded the power of Cleveland partnerships and said BW is excited to bring the TWC experiential learning program to BW. “We prepare our students for jobs, but we also want to educate them to be good contributing members of society,” Helmer said.

The TWC’s 2016 Convention Academic Seminars are designed as intensive academic engagements with the American political process.  "Students will encounter a diverse range of people, hear from expert speakers from a variety of academic and professional fields, and work with some of the individuals and organizations who shape the Presidential nominating process," said TWC vice president for student affairs, Kevin Nunley. "They will also participate in the action though fieldwork placements." 

Investing in People

BW student Jerald Goins speaks about The Washington Center RNC exprienceThe Cleveland Foundation executive vice president, Robert E. Eckardt said, “We feel very strongly about investing in people,” adding that the RNC not only represents an economic development opportunity for the region; “it’s also a way to invest in Clevelanders.” 

BW student senator Jerald Goins ’18 of Cleveland (pictured), who chose political science as a major with a desire “to help people,” said he is eager to seize the opportunity presented by the TWC program. “Without the support of the people in this room,” he said, “the RNC might come to Cleveland, but I wouldn’t be a part of it.” 

Promoting Civic Involvement as Habit

BW political science professor Thomas Sutton, who is spearheading BW’s partnership with TWC, said engaging young people in the Democratic process is crucial. “To get people involved, you have to start early and once they participate a few times, it becomes habitual.”  

Indeed, one of TWC’s goals is “to help students develop the habits of viewing the world and new experiences through academically enriched lenses and to help them build a foundation for a future of academic and professional achievement, civic engagement and leadership.” 

Since 1984, TWC has delivered its Academic Seminars at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, providing college students from campuses across the nation an insider’s experience in to this quadrennial rite of passage on the road to the White House.

Read the story in Crain's Cleveland Business here.