The odometer on the C-SPAN Civics Bus reads over 500,000 miles.
The bus, which stopped at the corner of 36th and Walnut streets for two hours yesterday morning, has been to all 50 states, said C-SPAN spokesman Rodee Schneider, who has personally been to 46 states with the bus. The bus and its crew are part of C-SPAN’s charge to “try to connect with folks across the country,” Schneider said from one of the bus’s news-set-like interview seats.
But “we’re not like Redbull, throwing out cans to passersby,” Schneider clarified.
In addition to connecting with Americans, the bus also serves as a mobile production unit, with a set for interviews and basic elements of a production studio on board.
Schneider said after 16 years of travel, the bus is now in its third incarnation. It was originally a school bus and later became the 2008 campaign bus, where live segments were shot, including interviews with former Republican presidential candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Bill Richardson.
Now dubbed the Civics Bus, it travels around the nation sharing “why C-SPAN’s role in the media is important,” according to Schneider. “It’s a great way to find passionate discussion of political topics,” said Schneider, who is in his third year of traveling with the bus.
The bus is currently touring local universities and high schools, highlighting C-SPAN’s documentary, “The Supreme Court: Home to America’s Highest Court,” which airs on Oct. 4.
Currently, Schneider is shooting short clips in which bus visitors give their perspectives on the ongoing health insurance debate.
“It’s nice to immerse ourselves in Philadelphia for a few days,” he said.
Engineering senior Pete Eschenbrenner heard about the bus from a local store clerk, and as a “huge fan” of C-SPAN, had to check it out for himself. After touring the bus, he offered his views on health insurance on camera.
“It’s a great opportunity to voice my opinion publicly,” he said. Eschenbrenner noted that he likes C-SPAN for its “unfiltered, unbiased” approach to public affairs.
Alejandro Hagan, a Wharton and School of Social Policy and Practice graduate student, toured the bus with Eschenbrenner and expressed a similar keenness to what the Civics bus is doing.
“I’m glad C-SPAN is reaching out to young students,” Hagan said after taping his own ideas on the health insurance debate. “It incentivizes students to be informed and heard.”
The Bus will stop at the Constitution Center on Thursday from noon to 3:30 p.m., and will be at the Lansdowne Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning.Comments powered by Disqus
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