By Todd Collins, Associate Professor of Political Science, Western Carolina University
The students, faculty, and staff at Western Carolina University were happy to welcome the C-SPAN Campaign 2012 Bus to our campus on May 3rd. This event was part of a six-day tour of universities and towns in North Carolina by C-SPAN leading up to the N.C. primaries. The tour was also scheduled in anticipation of the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Charlotte, N.C., during the week of September 3rd.
Western Carolina students, local residents, and university employees were able to speak with C-SPAN representatives about C-SPAN’s extensive Campaign 2012 programming and resources. Visitors learned of the many ways to connect with C-SPAN including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, XM Radio, and iPhone and Blackberry apps. Inside the bus were many interactive election resources, as visitors were encouraged to explore the many sources of election current and historical information offered by C-SPAN.
Visitors to the C-SPAN bus were also able to share their thoughts on campaign issues via Tout, a video-based social media service. Participants were asked to comment on the presidential candidates and the issues most important to them in this election cycle. Their responses were captured in 15-second videos and uploaded onto various C-SPAN social media platforms, including C-SPAN’s own Tout page (http://www.tout.com/cspanbus).
This visit served as a great opportunity for our students to think about the upcoming election. As North Carolina has been considered one of a few “swing states” in the upcoming election, N.C. voters may have a large impact in the next election. The C-SPAN Campaign 2012 Bus allowed our students and other visitors to reflect on the importance of voting, elections, and civic engagement. C-SPAN’s visit encouraged our students to consider their roles in the electoral process and highlighted many of the important concepts that faculty emphasize in the classroom. A big thank you to the staff and administration at C-SPAN for including us in its tour!