Saint Leo Creates Learning Opportunities During Upcoming National Political Conventions

March 07, 2012

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Saint Leo University is working with academic and civic organizations to allow students to obtain internships and volunteer-learning opportunities during the upcoming Republican and Democratic national political conventions.

As an academic institution, Saint Leo’s activity is completely non-partisan, and endorses no political party or candidate.

The university is affording interested students the rare educational opportunity of seeing citizens participate in national conventions and debate policy, of witnessing the way a major city accommodates thousands of visitors at once, and of observing the methods public safety and security personnel use to handle crowds, traffic, and political expression by large groups.

"This is potentially experiential learning at its finest," explains Maribeth Durst, vice president of academic affairs at the university. In late 2011, Dr. Durst noted, some undergraduates from University Campus had the chance to volunteer at the CNN/tea party-sponsored debate among Republican presidential primary candidates and in doing that work, they gained profound insights into their roles as citizens and voters.

"We expect similar opportunities with the Republican National Convention in Tampa, which is just 30 minutes away from University Campus, and with the Democratic National Convention, which follows immediately in September in Charlotte, N.C.," Dr. Durst said. "So we are offering students from all Saint Leo teaching locations and our online learners the opportunity to apply for five academic internships funded through special university scholarships, and the chance to volunteer through the university and the Tampa host committee for the Republican National Convention. The academic internships are organized by The Washington Center, a well-regarded nonprofit organization. Graduate students will also be able to participate, as well as recent alumni."

Because the conventions will coincide with the start of the Fall 2012 semester, the university is making special arrangements for students who may miss some classes while attending the internships.

Deadlines to apply for internships are in March, so interested parties should act immediately, and speak to their academic advisors about this opportunity. Further information on volunteer opportunities will be posted as it becomes available. To apply for an internship follow this link for directions and an application.