Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Republican National Convention Course Required For University of Tampa's First-Year Students

Republican National Convention Course Required For University of Tampa's First-Year Students

Posted: 06/19/2012 10:18 am Updated: 06/19/2012 2:02 pm

Just in case the traffic jams and press swarms don't alert students at the University of Tampa to the arrival of the Republican National Convention, their first professor will.

In late August when nearly 50,000 people descend upon Tampa for the convention, the University of Tampa will require its nearly 1,600 first-year students to take RNC 101, an introductory course designed to teach students the history of political conventions and keep them updated on the daily happenings at the event.

The class will branch out covering the Republican convention to focusing on basic civics and the political process, as well as current events. Course planners intend to not favor the Republican Party over another political party.

"We've tried to go out of our way to be bipartisan," said Joe Sclafani, the University of Tampa's interim dean of the college of social sciences, mathematics and education. "We're not plugging anyone; this is not a 'Vote for Mitt Romney' class."

"This is really about just getting students to understand why it is we're having this disruption, what the importance of a presidential convention is," Sclafani added.

The course arose more out of concern for RNC-related traffic than for anything else, according to Sclafani. Since the first week of classes corresponds with the convention's first day, college administrators worried that faculty might not be able to get to campus, a mile and a half away from the convention center. So they decided to use the opportunity to teach students how to use their online course management system, Blackboard, in case instructors couldn't make it to class.

"Then we asked the question, What kind of content to teach them? We decided, Why don't we use the actual content of what's going on?" Sclafani said, adding that "college students are often apathetic in the political process. We just thought we'd take this opportunity to get them to engage that way."

Though the university does not have any formal arrangement with the convention, it has volunteered to supply students as interns for the event. They have also planned a host of political events to coincide with the gathering.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Skynyrd, Adkins, Kid Rock line up for RNC convention

Skynyrd, Adkins, Kid Rock line up for RNC convention



With Abby Phillip

PI SCOOP… SKYNYRD, ADKINS, KID ROCK LINE UP FOR RNC CONVENTION: Liberty Plaza Events has signed on musical acts Lynyrd Skynyrd (Aug. 26), Trace Adkins (Aug. 28) and Kid Rock (Aug. 29) for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Other artists such as Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robert Randolph and Night Ranger may also appear. There will also be another major act for the closing night "Wheels Up" party that’s still to be announced. Sponsors include the National Energy Institute, Amway, Southern Company; the American Action Network and Citizens United. Liberty Plaza's production partner is PRG, the concert production and touring company responsible for lighting U2's 360 and Madonna's current tour.

The location will also be home to invitation-only events for groups such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP whip team and Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.). Late night concerts will benefit the Navy Seal Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project and other veterans programs. Gibson Guitar and The Heritage Foundation will also have hospitality tour buses on hand. "Liberty Plaza is excited that we have the opportunity to honor our nation's heroes and celebrate the sacrifices they made for the freedom we have today," said Ron Bonjean, spokesman for the group.

The venue can fit up to 3,500 people and will offer private air conditioned hospitality lounges. Sponsor packages, including tickets for every night start, at $10,000.




Democratic convention in Charlotte much more accessible to public than GOP's in Tampa

JUNE 18, 2012

Democratic convention in Charlotte much more accessible to public than GOP's in Tampa






From our story on Barack Obama's challenges again winning North Carolina, host of the Democratic National Convention:

...In 1994, downtown Charlotte was so dead that locals had to create a fake, temporary entertainment district to entertain fans in town for the NCAA men's basketball Final Four. Today, "Uptown" Charlotte is bustling with people, bars and restaurants throughout the day and night — far more than Tampa.

To Democrats, though, that's not the main distinction between the Republican and Democratic conventions. While there is little historical evidence that a convention can tip the host state to that party's candidate, Democrats are counting on Charlotte to give Obama an extra edge here.

The campaign treats the convention not only as a showcase for Obama and his message, but also as an important organizing tool. When he delivered his acceptance speech before 75,000 people at Invesco Field in Denver four years ago, the campaign recruited 25,000 volunteers to help deliver Colorado.

Unlike the Tampa convention, where events so far have been private, invitation-only affairs, the Democrats are encouraging participation by as many members of the public as possible. Hundreds of local students attended a "Kids Convention," for instance, and 2,000 people showed up for a year-out party.

The GOP host committee's opening party, expected to be at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, will be private, while Democrats are kicking things off with a public Labor Day family fun festival at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Likewise, the public is invited to the final night of the convention to see Obama at the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium.

It's all aimed at engaging and organizing as many Obama supporters as possible, not only in North Carolina but also in neighboring Virginia, another critical battleground.

To hear many tell it, Obama will need every push he can muster to carry this state again....