JCSU and the DNC: Week in Review

Johnson C. Smith University sits on the highest point in Charlotte, and over the course of the Democratic National Convention, this new urban university sparkled brilliantly across the cityscape as one of the Queen City’s brightest jewels.

Even though the start of the academic year was delayed until September 11 when new freshmen arrived, the campus was busy with activity as the University served as a hub for key convention operations. Since the ball dropped to welcome the year 2012, the faculty has been preparing students to be knowledgeable about civics and government while becoming engaged in the political process. Meanwhile, a core group of staff worked with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in preparation for UFuture: A Summit for Innovative Young Thinkers, the cyber summit on campus September 4. The summit attracted high-profile politicians and celebrities to JCSU as the event amplified the voice of more than 300 students from 20 regional colleges and universities. Students from across the nation submitted questions via Twitter and text messages. During the event, President Barack Obama surprised the students with a tweet, and First Lady Michelle Obama surprised them with a letter about the importance of civic engagement. Both expressed pride in seeing young people involved in the political process.   

JCSU’s involvement reached beyond campus the campus gates. The University was featured at the Legacy Village in uptown Charlotte, the JCSU Marching Band opened the CarolinaFest parade, students served on the Convention floor, and faculty and staff networked at numerous events around the city. President Ronald L. Carter and student Charles Hauser were featured panelists in a youth town hall presented by National JournalThe Atlantic and Microsoft.

The University’s involvement in the DNC was covered by local, state and national media. Black Entertainment Television (BET), CBS, National Public Radio (NPR), The Washington Post and Diverse Issues in Higher Education are among the media outlets that covered JCSU.

The elaborate sets have been dismantled. The speeches have ended. The parties are over. The hordes of people have departed. Charlotte has returned to business as usual, and the University is going about the business of higher education – teaching, learning, researching and serving as a catalyst for social change. DNC week was inspirational and motivational. But the work of democracy did not end. Get involved. Be informed. And above all, exercise your right to vote.