Convention 2016 | The Washington Center

Convention 2016

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Once every four years, our country takes part in an effort essential to our democratic system: the election of the President of the United States. At the heart of this process are two extraordinary events–the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.


In each election cycle since 1984, The Washington Center (TWC) has helped colleges and universities give their students an inside perspective on the National Political Conventions. We invite your institution and students to be represented at these historic events in 2016.


Once-in-a-lifetime Academic Experience

These seminars combine traditional academic structure and experiential learning. Students are engaged in academic instruction, attend briefings and have the opportunity to hear from experts in the field. Among many others, past speakers have included media professionals like Bob Schieffer of CBS News and C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb, governors like Bill Ritter of Colorado and Terry Branstad of Iowa, and convention chairs Jo Ann Davidson and Leah Daughtry. Students also participate actively—volunteering in the field with organizations involved in the conventions.


Students return to their campuses energized and with a deeper understanding of the electoral process of the United States. Many share their experiences by presenting to their campus communities or appearing in local newspapers, television, radio or other media.


Learning Activities

Introduction and Overview

The faculty director launches the program with an intensive introduction to the current state of the presidential campaign. In addition, The Washington Center orients students to the logistics of the convention sites and the host city, including important safety and security procedures.


Speakers/Briefings/ Panel Discussions

Students encounter a diverse set of viewpoints as they hear from notable current and former public and party officials, members of the media, campaign professionals, policy experts, corporate representatives and others. These sessions include interactive question-and-answer with the speakers.


Small Group Meetings

Students meet regularly with experienced faculty in small groups to discuss presentations, the convention proceedings, assigned readings and related topics. In this setting, students also learn collaboratively by sharing perspectives, opinions and personal observations of convention-related events.



Through fieldwork assignments, students contribute to the convention in a variety of ways. Placements range widely, from media and advocacy groups to host committees and state delegations. Past students have conducted interviews, prepared for events, met VIPs and supported the convention from behind the scenes.


Convention-Related Events and Activities

Students will attend a variety of sessions organized by the parties, host committees and other interest groups. These typically include workshops, issue forums, press conferences, committee hearings, welcome rallies and youth-focused programs. Detailed information, including past schedules, can be provided upon request. Please contact


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