HC Hofstra Campus Correspondent Sidney Madden continues to blog about her experience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Part 2: “Hit the Ground Running”
Hello collegiette politicos. It’s officially the end of Day 3 here in Charlotte and needless to say I simultaneously excited and wiped out already!
For a basic recap, I am documenting my time spent as a Hofstra sponsored participant for The Washington Center at the Democratic National Convention in beautiful Charlotte, NC, “the queen city”. The Washington Center is a nonprofit academic internship program that brings together college students, civic, governmental and business leaders, and private host organizations (or internship sites) during some of the most significant political events in America. And I along with other Hofstra reps sophomore Poli Sci major Simran Nanda and Poli Sci professor and lecture leader Dr. Meena Bose, had the privilege of traveling to the convention seminar.
Arriving late Saturday night from New York, I wasn’t able to properly soak in the Southern hospitality until 8 am Sunday morning when get-to-know-you games informed me that I would be sharing my time here with 117 professionally dressed college students, most Poli Sci majors, from all across the country. From California to Arkansas, Montana to Massachusetts, there are regional perspectives that far exceed my expectations.
Mornings filled with a lecture series and afternoons of small group discussion have so far opened my eyes to factors in this election that I have never even considered before—from sociological effects of voter identification to the role social media plays in this election.
Some standout speakers during morning lectures so far have included Dr Dan Murrey, Executive Director of the Charlotte 2012 Host Committee, North Carolina State Representative Patricia Cotham and Hofstra’s own Dr. Bose.
“We’re going to showcase the best Charlotte has to offer,” explained Dr. Murray on the first day, “and are looking to leave a lasting legacy with [the convention]”.
Going on to defend Charlotte’s $36.65 million convention budget, Murray commended the grassroots volunteers and level of civic engagement he’s seen leading up to next week’s convention. In the conclusion of his talk on Day 1, Murray proudly stated that much of their budget was padded by the fact that they exceeded their fundraising goal by 50%.
Showing equivalent city pride and Southern charm on Day 2 was Democratic State Rep Cotham, a feisty North Carolina native who had been involved with politics since the age of ten, spoke about the double standard of women politicians.
“When I had my baby, reporters were asking me if I breast fed…,” to which the representative would answer “Why are you concerned about my breasts?”
Feisty southern one liners like “bless your heart” were riddled throughout her lecture as she expressed her stance on cyber-bullying, state wide school testing and abortion rights.
Telling her story of being a young, unwed woman running for public office in the South, Cotham’s personal touches and comedic delivery boded well with our young audience and brought on the most enthusiastic response so far when it was time for the Q&A portion.
Cotham’s clincher like ‘you have to stand for what you believe in even if you’re standing alone’ brought welcomed applause and she even ended her speech to a standing ovation.
Lastly, Dr. Meena Bose made me so proud to be a Hofstra collegiette because of her passionate demeanor at the podium when addressing the room of some 130 people. As one of the faculty leaders, Dr. Bose will give lectures about three to four times on all timely subjects from retrospective voting, the running of a campaign and factors of a debate.
After only two talks so far, participants have been clamoring to have lunch with her and network! But, of course, Simran and I got first dibs. #HofstraPride.
But even with all the free publicity for Charlotte, nothing compared to touring it ourselves. Its obvious that the taste of local flavor is spicy yet sweet. New buildings like the Nascar Hall of Fame (yes, such a place exists—welcome to the South) are mixed in with old landmarks like commemorative signs of the Battle of Charlotte (located in uptown Charlotte’s epicenter).
All of the TWC participants will be receiving their fieldwork placement, aka where they will be working during the convention, on Wednesday, so I will have much more to share about discussion, speakers, and work then.
Until next time, make sure to follow me @Sid_Madden for updates. HCXO collegiettes.