USFSP Students Take the Road to the White House

Dan Tucker, local representative of the Ron Paul campaign, speaks to students in the USFSP Road to the White House course
Victoria Kirby, Regional Field Dir. for the Barack Obama campaign, speaks to students in the Road to the White House course
ST. PETERSBURG (2012-01-16) -

Students in a USF Saint Petersburg political science class are learning first-hand how presidential campaigns are run.

Professor Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan taught the Road to the White House course in 2004 and 2008, sending students to New Hampshire for the first-in-the-nation Presidential primaries. This year, because of the early Florida primary and the GOP National Convention in Tampa, she decided to keep students close to home to show them the importance of the Sunshine State in the nomination process.

Students are learning how much dedication and hard work goes into a campaign by volunteering to work either for a candidate or for one of the two major political parties.

“Each of the students chooses his or her own placement, I don’t assign the placement,” McLauchlan said.

"Actually getting out there in the field and working with staffers and being at candidate events, that's really the opportunity to kind of see on the front lines, what it's like and what goes into the campaign and what the strategy is, really from the inside, as far as what the message is and what the targeting is and how they’re approaching their campaign strategy."

Junior Jaryd Vartanian is volunteering for the Ron Paul campaign. He likes the fact that the course encourages young people to get personally involved in politics, particularly those who say they don’t want to vote because they feel their opinion doesn’t matter.

"It’s really sad, but I think it’s really important to get involved because if you feel that way, the only way to change it is get involved and change it."

And that direct involvement, says McLauchlan, is the greatest teaching tool she can offer.

“On the assignment, I have one of my favorite quotations from Confucius—‘I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.’”

Students are expected to intern at least forty hours on the campaign.

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