Posted January 21, 2016
Des Moines, Iowa — "Let’s go to Iowa in the middle of January," they said. And I am so glad they did.
The past 10 days have provided me with experiences I never could have ever imagined moving in to my Colonnades E dorm as a freshman.
I interviewed a former president. I talked to Iowa residents. I connected with professional journalists. I experienced Des Moines’ social scene.
No one has the opportunities Elon students do. Elon prides itself on being a premiere university for engaged learning, and that has never been more true. Learning about the political process in a classroom is important. It teaches you the basics. But seeing the political process in person and on the ground in Iowa, ahead of what many are calling the most important election of our lifetime, is an entirely different experience. And that is exactly what it was – an incredibly unique experience.
Thank you, Study USA and the Global Education Center for creating a program that brings together political science junkies and intrepid journalists alike to create something really special here.
It was a ton of front work, getting in touch with every campaign for credentials and the logistics of bringing $26,000 worth of camera equipment on an airplane, but it was all worth it. Having the opportunity to be on the ground in Iowa, covering candidates' campaign events on both sides of the aisle was eye-opening. I learned so much about myself, my journalism and my ability to function off of minimal sleep.
Fellow journalists who asked, "What outlet are you representing?" all immediately responded with a variation of "That is so cool" after we told them what we were doing. NBC, ABC, CBS and others were all at these events, and they covered the national angle. We owned the coverage of the college angle. Student debt, minimum wage and education reform are just some of the issues college students care deeply about, and it was incredibly interesting to see how the more than 10 candidates that we interviewed answered our questions about these topics.