A group of Wake Forest University students arrived yesterday at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland and will continue on to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as part of Wake the Vote, a yearlong program that combines classroom and real-world political experience.
From volunteering on the campaigns of presidential candidates to attending classes to planning community forums to organizing non-partisan voter registration efforts, students have spent the past several months studying and experiencing democracy in action.
Chronicling their experiences is an essential part of the program. Students will post reflections:
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see what is shaping up to be unique conventions and to see the set of proposals and platforms both parties are putting forward,” said Marianne Magjuka, assistant dean of students and director of democratic engagement and justice programs. “The students will meet Republican and Democratic leaders from across the country.”
Much of what happens will be outside the conventions as national organizations host panels and educational events focused on such policy issues as poverty, social justice and immigration. Students will attend many of these events.
The Wake the Vote students are all enrolled in two courses – one last spring and the other beginning this fall — taught by Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest. In addition to hands-on experience on the campaign trail, students gather regularly on campus to learn about election issues and share experiences.
Students’ specific availability for interviews is uncertain. To coordinate, contact the news office.