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Ursinus College Students to Capture Democracy at Work with Social Media Project

Students at Ursinus College plan a one-day intensive social media-based civic engagement project during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Tuesday, July 26.

Christian Rice, assistant dean for civic engagement, said the project creates the perfect synergy for students between classroom theory and a real-world, immersive learning experience.

“At Ursinus, we emphasize liberal arts with a purpose,” Rice noted. “By engaging members of the public in a social media project that reflects their thoughts on this year’s presidential race, our students can provide deeper context to the events taking place on the convention floor and in Center City.”

On Tuesday, July 26 during the DNC, the Ursinus College team will fan out to key gatherings, protest locations, and landmark locations around the city including Independence Hall, the U.S. Constitution Center, and the Wells Fargo Center, site of the convention. Their reporting and interactions will engage participants and ordinary citizens to express their point of view in pictures, video and words and share them through Instagram and Twitter.

The Ursinus students participating in the project are among those serving in civic engagement-related internships and projects through the College’s Bonner Leaders Program this summer at organizations like Broad Street Ministry, The Food Trust, and MD Anderson Cancer Center. The college also recently announced the creation of the Melrose Center for Global Civic Engagement to uphold its commitment to global citizenship and develop future global leaders.  

“Social media is a great way to share our ideas about citizenship and democracy in real time. We want to see what happens when the world has the chance to engage with the convention’s story beyond the speeches, roll calls, and balloon drops. I can’t wait to find out what people are thinking on the streets of Philadelphia as delegates make decisions a few blocks away on the convention floor,” said Abigail Wood, a senior at Ursinus majoring in applied economics.

“This civic project is part of an ongoing commitment at Ursinus to broaden the reach and impact of civic engagement,” said Kelly Sorensen, interim associate dean at Ursinus. “Our Bonner Leaders and the new Melrose Center for Global and Civic Engagement are all part of our ‘liberal arts with a purpose’ approach.  We want to take the transformative experience we provide to our students on campus and broaden its reach and impact into the greater community.”

The social media engagement project will take over the Ursinus social media channels for the day with the hashtag #UCatDNC2016.