By Melia Sigmon, Photographer
Nearly 30 students traveled to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to learn about America’s political process. High Point University sponsored The American Dream Project to determine if the dream was still, in fact, achievable.
When asked about his participation in this project, Kyle Berube, a sophomore and Media Fellow at HPU, said, “It made me gain an interest in politics. Up until then, I did not care so much about politics, but I understand now that someone as little as me can make a difference in the polls. As long as you are truly passionate about what you believe in; it will stand out. I now am more excited and willing to vote than I ever have been before.” He also strongly encouraged students to register to vote. The American Dream Project similarly affected another student, sophomore Kelly Schwab. She said, “It played a big role in my life. Before this project, I was apathetic towards politics. I have now realized how much it affects me and that I really should care about these issues. I will definitely be doing even more research before I cast my vote in November.”
Students met many political figures, such as Condoleezza Rice and Marco Rubio and celebrities like Diane Sawyer and Jessica Alba. They also had the opportunity to meet family members of big-name political leaders, like the Romney sons and Chelsea Clinton. One person they met, actor Kal Penn, stood out because of his boundless knowledge and well-educated opinions on topics in American politics. Berube says his work in the Obama campaign and in the White House makes him a perfect representation for the youth of America.
Students who went to the Republican National Convention got to tour the C-SPAN facility, which was set up by Peter Kiley. This facility houses all the major press organizations such as CBS, The New York Times and Twitter. Soon after, they toured the Tampa Bay Times Forum and got to walk through their Sky Box.
The whole purpose of their project was to determine if the American dream is still achievable. So is it? According to Schwab, who went to both conventions, it is.
“I heard so many successful people speak and so many came from an underprivileged place. They were examples that nearly anything is achievable.”
Sophomore Summer Tonsfeldt felt equally optimistic on the subject. “Yes, it’s still achievable because America believes it is. The passion of those attending the speeches at the RNC was so evident.”