Students, Still Unsure About Hillary Clinton, to Descend on Democratic National Convention

Election 2016
Posted By Donna Fuscaldo on July 22, 2016 at 1:15 pm
Students, Still Unsure About Hillary Clinton, to Descend on Democratic National Convention

After a week of impassioned speeches, hyped up entrances and controversy over plagiarism, all eyes will be turning to Philadelphia, where it’s participants in the Democratic National Convention turn to shine—or flop. And just like when the Republicans came to Cleveland, students are expected to be out in force.

Some will protest Hillary Clinton even if their guy Bernie Sanders conceded. Others are acting as student journalists, covering the event just like their professional peers. This year’s Democratic convention is expected to have a little bit of everything for college students, from the educational to the fun. With that in mind, here’s a look at what some college students are gearing up to do when the Dems descend on Philly next week.

Unhappiness with candidates on both sides will lead to protests

Disenchantment with the leading candidates is high on both sides of the aisle and is one of the reasons students are expected to turn out in record numbers at the DNC. That’s even with Sanders throwing in the towel on his bid to become the next president.

“I think things have calmed down, but there will probably be a lot of people who go to protest,” says Will Yurman, a senior journalism lecturer at Penn State, who is taking a team of about six student journalists to the Democratic National Convention to cover the event. “It’s been interesting watching it over the course of the last few months. The DNC was going to be the crazier place, and it seemed to flip to the RNC. It’s hard to know until you get there.”

Whether protesters come out in massive numbers remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure: There are a lot of rallies organized during the convention, focusing on everything from ousting Clinton to preventing fracking.

Take the Occupy DNC Convention, which is a group of people who want to bring together all of the Bernie Sanders supporters at the DNC to fight for his election. “Our massive numbers in a peaceful alliance will tell the story,” its website reads.  ”Join us!  We have permits for marching, rallies and festivities each day of the convention.” The group is running a Facebook page with a list of events and is also offering low cost transportation and housing to get people to the convention.

Alex Forge, a student activist for College Students for Bernie, says his group isn’t participating in a planned protest during the Democratic National Convention, but it is endorsing the People’s Convention, which will take place on Saturday at the Arch Street Meeting House in Philadelphia. The People’s Convention is a grassroots attempt to take back democracy by giving everyone a voice and providing a place for organizers and activists to meet and network. The goal is to ultimately come up with the People’s Platform, which the group says is “a unifying set of ideas, beliefs, and values that will help define the movement.”

“A lot of people are going to show up at the DNC,” Forge says. “A lot of young people are upset about the results of the election and the two-party system. They want to help move the party more toward the left.”  While Forge is a Bernie supporter, he says his group is staying neutral. Members aren’t backing Clinton, but they also aren’t protesting her. Still, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think countless others won’t. “A lot of young people think the DNC is just as corrupt as the RNC. Both are going to have a lot of protests,” he says.

Some students to get rare insight at the convention

College students such as Forge will spend their time at the DNC learning the power of the people and the right to have their voices heard. But for the team of student journalists from Penn State, the DNC will be about seeing how it’s done in the real world. “We are giving journalism students real world experience covering something and being up against other professional journalists,” Yurman says. “It’s a hard thing to recreate in the classroom.” Yurman says that the students will be covering everything from protests to speeches, tying it all into issues the people of Pennsylvania care about.

Other students attending the Democratic National Convention will get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the convention thanks to The Washington Center, which is taking a group of students to the convention, giving them access to formal instructions combined with guest lectures, panels, tours and fieldwork assignments. The two-week program started a week before the convention where students get to witness the preparations leading up to the event. During the conventions, students not only have access to the day’s events, but they also spend time analyzing what went down.

Bars to stay open late during the Democratic National Convention

Education and protests are expected to be staples of the Democratic National Convention, but it’s also going to be fun for the college students who attend. During the convention, there will be a slew of parties thrown by all sorts of organizations including student groups and the campaign itself. For example the Clinton campaign is gearing up to host a post-DNC event July 29  on Independence Mall, while Emily’s List, which is focused on getting pro-choice women elected, is throwing a party two days earlier.

The city isn’t shying away from the party atmosphere that could surround some DNC events. It passed legislation that lets bars apply for extended drinking hours. That means revelers can party past the usual 2 a.m. last call.

Donna Fuscaldo
Donna Fuscaldo is a freelance journalist hailing out of Long Island, New York. She has also written for,,,, Business Insider, Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal.

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