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Hot on the Trail: ONU students journey to Democratic, Republican National Conventions: View Student Blogs & Photos

View the Student Blogs and Photos

The race is on, the candidates are neck and neck, and ONU students are right there to witness it all.

Ohio Northern University is sending 13 students to the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where they'll have an all-access pass to the speakers, panels and excitement surrounding the presidential election.

Attendees are more than spectators at the conventions, however. Students are part of a two-week seminar coordinated through nonpartisan, educational organization The Washington Center (TWC). Taught as an academic course, the seminar engages students with small-group discussions, workshops, issue forums and convention fieldwork. It's classroom learning on a real-world scale. Students experience American politics firsthand and earn four hours of academic credit in the process.

"I expect that the students will come away with many observations to share with their classmates at ONU," comments Dr. Robert Alexander, associate professor of political science. "Additionally, they will be able to evaluate what we can talk about from textbooks and apply it to the events unfolding around them. I anticipate they will meet a large number of political figures that they would not otherwise have the opportunity to meet." Alexander will accompany students to the Democratic seminar, where he will serve as a faculty leader.

Attending the Democratic Convention program, held Aug. 17-29 at Denver's Regis University, are Matthew Allen, Chicora, Pa.; Justin Dickerson, Hamilton, Ohio; Victoria Dickman, Middle Point, Ohio; Denise Jansen, North Royalton, Ohio; Jacob Jeffire, Clinton Township, Mich.; Samantha Kinstle, Wapakoneta, Ohio; Kelly Morman, Monroeville, Ohio; Atlantis Richter, Franklin, Ind., Patti Stiger, Bradner, Ohio; and Matthew Wiseman, Findlay, Ohio.

The Republican Convention program attendees include Michael Hamper, Jefferson, Ohio; Andrew Lammers, Tipp City, Ohio; and Miranda Wade of Marion, Ohio. The convention will take place Aug. 24-Sept. 5 at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

An additional facet of the program is the opportunity for students to pursue convention-related assignments and fieldwork. During the convention, TWC places attendees in volunteer positions relevant to their interests, enabling students to be ‘at the right place at the right time', and contribute to the operation of the event.

Since 1984, TWC has offered these seminars in connection with the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. ONU students applied last fall for a spot among students and faculty from more than 48 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.

"This really is an excellent opportunity for these students to witness history," says Alexander. "They will be right in the mix of this exciting election, which has significant import to the future direction of the country."

Beginning Monday, Aug. 18, convention attendees will post blogs about their daily experiences. Check back for the latest convention highlights.