Like Dorothy catching a glimpse behind the wizard’s curtain, a local student and educator are getting an up-close look at how politics works.
Although he doesn’t plan to be a politician, South Carolina State University senior David Davis of Columbia wants to share his experience with others.
“I want to get as deeply involved with the party as possible,” the 22-year-old said. “I’m going to bring back what the plans for the Democratic Party are, and I want to expose that to everyone at the university and in the community.
“Part of my job is to do a PowerPoint presentation for my entire class and let them know what happened.”
Davis and Assistant Professor Sherral Brown-Guinyard are in Charlotte as part of a Winthrop University political science learning initiative. They are joining representatives of 11 South Carolina colleges and universities taking part in preliminary events leading up to the Democratic National Convention.
Brown-Guinyard teaches a class about political parties. She is always seeking to give her students “something that takes them beyond a textbook.”
“I find it as fascinating as (Davis) does because I’ve never had this experience myself,” Brown-Guinyard said. “What I learned, I learned from textbooks and professors. This gives me the real-world experience.
“I like to give (students) real-world examples when I am discussing course content. I want to let them see what I discuss in class is a reality every four years.”
Brown-Guinyard wanted to take 10 students to Charlotte but funds weren’t available. To compensate, she will talk with her students about the issues discussed and the groups that appear at the convention.
“We will get to talk to some of the delegates and question them about the process,” Brown-Guinyard said. “That means looking at the protesters, too.”
The long snapper and holder on the S.C. State football team, Davis looks to enter law school after graduation. He plans to use his convention experience to great advantage.
“I hope I can be able to network with different people and hopefully I can help them out with anything,” Davis said. “My brother (James Shad III) ran for 5th Circuit Solicitor in Richland County in 2010. I was close to that process.”
As Davis’ faculty supervisor, Brown-Guinyard wants him to focus on the different voices at the convention. Part of his assignment involves making plenty of pictures, offering a perspective of a national convention that can’t otherwise be seen on television.
“For example, one of the things I want him to attend is the caucus meetings,” Brown-Guinyard said. “That deals directly with political parties and the whole process.
“The political party leadership will also be featured. They will have national and state leadership representatives but the important thing is that it ties back to the tripartite structure in the U.S.”
Davis said many of his peers don’t know about his convention participation but the ones that do are excited. He is “adamant” about getting people politically involved.
“I’m trying to get as much voter registration out on campus as possible and help with that,” Davis said. “I won’t be able to catch President Barack Obama’s address but it’s still going to be a great experience.”
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