The HPU Democracy USA Project is an interdisciplinary exercise that engages students and faculty in a collaborative and experiential learning project. It places student learning about the democratic process in the United States at the center of attention and uses the 2012 elections as a unique case study through which students can gain a broader understanding of electoral politics, civic responsibility, voting rights, and other issues in American democracy.
High Point University Students Showcase Their Experiences
HIGH POINT, N.C., Dec. 3, 2012 – Over a hundred students filled the Extraordinaire Theater Monday night to watch the videos that documented High Point University students as part of the American Dream Project. The pieces were all written, directed, shot and produced by HPU students. In the first couple of videos students interviewed people from the community on topics such as education, philanthropy and government entitlements. The students came away with eye opening and opinion changing views after talking with people who had life experience in these areas. The last video shown was made about High Point University students who attended the national conventions. Sarah Martin, William Watson and Billy Zarzour were awarded an honorable mention in the North Carolina Campus Compact Competition for this video that told the student’s stories and feelings as they witnessed protests, listened during panels and saw influential speakers. An overall theme of the night was that students were given a once in a lifetime opportunity as participants in this project.
The American Dream Project is part of the Democracy USA Project which is an interdisciplinary and experiential learning exercise that draws together over 20 faculty, 15 courses, and some 300 students with civic engagement opportunities that range from voter registration drives and teaching citizenship classes to over 100 students traveling to the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Students are teaching each other across disciplines through large colloquium meetings, they are conducting national and local polls through the HPU Survey Research Center, and they are blogging, researching, and filming a reality TV show about their experiences at the conventions and election-related events. The Democracy USA Project — supported by HPU’s Think BIG Grant — is committed to extending the college education from the classroom into the community and in the formation of critical thinking, civic-minded students. For more about the Democracy USA Project visit http://www.highpoint.edu/democracy-usa and for an inside look at the reality TV produced as the American Dream Project visit http://myamericandream.us.
Kathryn H. Drinkuth
Democracy USA Communication Specialist
High Point University Graduate Student