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Undergraduate students in the Annenberg School took a trip to Cleveland, Ohio, and Philadelphia, Pa., to learn about the conventions

Credit: Guyrandy Jean-Gilles |Photo Editor

Some Penn students are already hard at work prepping for next semester — at the Democratic National Convention.

Communication Professor David Eisenhower is teaching a class in the fall called Conventions, Campaigns and Debates, and the pre-requisite for the class is that students must attend either the Republican National Convention or the DNC.

A few of the students in the class were at the RNC last week, and many are also currently at the DNC.

One such student, rising College junior Karissa Hand, was already headed to the DNC for her internship as part of the Philadelphia Host Committee. As such, she felt it made sense to roll her experience in with an academic opportunity as well. She majors in Communication and Public Service, the major that Eisenhower leads, so she felt she was a good fit for the class.

Two commitments during the DNC has been a lot for Hand, though.

“I’ve been kind of hopping between the two,” she said of her responsibilities for her internship and the class. She had gone to a Pennsylvania State Delegation breakfast with the class Wednesday morning, then was spending some time in the office for her internship, and planned to attend a speaker event later in the evening and head to the Wells Fargo Center with her class.

“Obviously my first responsibility is with my internship but any time I have a free moment I meet up with them and see what they’re doing,” she said.

There aren’t many formal assignments yet, Hand said.

“Right now it’s mostly taking in the convention, going to as many speakers as we can and absorbing the information,” Hand said.

In the fall is when the work will start. The entire premise of the class is writing a research paper on some communication-related aspect of the convention. Hand wants to focus on gender in her paper.

“I’m very passionate about gender equality and this election is obviously historic in that we have the first female nominee from a major political party,” she said, adding that in her paper she wants to “look at the way the speeches at the convention discuss this historic aspect of it.”

Rising College sophomore Ariel Goldfine is also taking the conventions class, which is right up her alley after working for several campaigns and being involved in politics for quite some time.

She also had friends who took the class in 2012 — Eisenhower has taught the class for the past several conventions.

Goldfine said she wants to focus her paper “on how different campaigns chose to put this together.”

She said she’d look at “little things like how all of the speakers are highly positive,” and how the campaign “controls the tone” of the convention. She noted how consistent the Hillary Clinton campaign has been from the beginning, even down to its font.

Of her choice to attend the DNC over the RNC, Goldfine said she’s a democrat and wanted to go to her own party’s convention. She added that there was also “some concern of there being violence at the RNC,” but she primarily chose the DNC because she though it would be “more helpful to see [her] own party.”

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