BW's TWC RNC participants

Students took full advantage of the learning experience offered at the GOP presidential nominating convention taking place in BW's backyard.

RNC Provides Immersive, Transformative Student Learning Experience

July 27, 2016

BW students in the Q for Donald Trump's speechWhen the Republican National Convention (RNC) came to Cleveland, BW students took full advantage of the event as a living, breathing classroom. BW students participated in The Washington Center Academic Seminar, took on RNC internships, got involved as honorary delegates and earned credit as they witnessed American political history in the making.

Honorary Delegates Rub Elbows with Political Elite

Da'Qeayce Swain, one of a group of BW Young Republicans embedded as “honorary delegates” with the Ohio RNC delegation, told WEWS TV-5 that the experience was eye opening and exciting. "Most people 'fangirl' over celebrities," he said. "We 'fangirl' over politicians."

BW students in Cleveland for the RNCThe students even scored passes to be inside the Quicken Loans Arena for the pivotal speeches and high drama as the GOP nominated Donald Trump as its nominee for president.

Political science professor, Lauren Copeland, Ph.D., who served as faculty advisor to the group, saw the students gain confidence over a week of hobnobbing with GOP leaders. "I have seen this group completely transform since Monday morning," she told WEWS. 

"I feel like the students learned more here than in an entire semester in the classroom," Copeland later added. "But their political science courses provided the foundation to appreciate and understand everything going on at the convention, and to listen to speakers with an educated, skeptical ear."

From TWC Classroom to CNN Internship

Meanwhile, students who were involved in The Washington Center program, hosted at BW, spent the week before the convention engrossed in studying the process before diving into internships with media, the secret service and state delegations. 

“They started us off with the history and how it's evolved into what it is today,” Nadia Ajlouni told Cleveland's NPR affiliate, WCPN 90.3. The BW junior marketing major spent the second week of the TWC program interning with CNN.

Students Eric Milligan and Simone Malone interviewed on their RNC experiences on WKYCBW TWC participants Eric Milligan and Simone Malone told WKYC-TV3 that the hands-on convention program, which they attended on scholarship from The Cleveland Foundation, offered "a unique experience to learn," as well as "a once in a lifetime opportunity" to experience the American political system in action," and a great avenue "for networking." 

"I used to think conventions were not important because the nominee is known long before the the event occurs, but now I see how really important they are for rallying the base and promoting party unity,” Copeland said. "This experience has altered how I will talk about conventions in the classroom.”

BW political science professor, Tom Sutton, Ph.D., provided faculty leadership for the TWC program (and is pictured with the BW participants below), while faculty colleague Barbara Palmer, Ph.D. led a session on women and politics.

BW in the Media Spotlight

In addition to the reports on WEWS, WCPN and WKYC, BW students were featured in RNC coverage by Crain's Cleveland BusinessWOIO-TV19, WKSU, and more.

Check out this story on BW political science faculty who were in demand as convention analysts for local and national media.

BW's TWC RNC participants