Campus and Community Engagement
Events like a general election debate require a small army of volunteers, and the Longwood family answered the call in a huge way. The volunteer rolls top more than 1,000 people, the majority of them Longwood students.
Longwood is taking debate volunteering to the next level, implemented the unprecedented step of matching as many students as possible who volunteer with their course of study or career interest. Participating in the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate won’t be just a great story to tell over winter break--it will be an impressive line on hundreds of students’ resumes that comes with valuable experience for burgeoning careers.
Longwood is proud of its deep roots in teacher preparation, and we are taking advantage of our robust relationships with area school systems to expand the reach of the debate beyond our campus borders. Social studies and history teachers from fourteen districts and two community colleges completed a professional development course focused on integrating themes of citizenship and democracy into their classroom discussions.
In the days leading up to the debate, more than 600 secondary school students from around the region will discuss civics education and how the democratic process has brought about meaningful change in American history. Keynote speakers will discuss the role of debates in our democracy, and students will interact with the C-SPAN exhibit bus while on campus. A partnership with Scholastic will provide students with unique insight into the role teenagers play in driving the national conversation. They'll also tour R.R. Moton Museum, now affiliated with Longwood, and site of the 1951 student strike which became part of Brown v. Board of Education and helped launch the modern civil rights movement. Pre-packaged lesson plans are be available for any teacher interested in linking class discussion to the debate.
More than 30 courses this fall have been developed that infuse ideas central to democracy and take inspiration from the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate. The courses span more than 15 disciplines, some with an unusual take on the topic. Among the highlights: A photojournalism class in which students will travel to regional campaign events and the first presidential debate at Hofstra University to record democracy at work; an intense, senior-level English course in which students imagine a 21st Century Constitutional Convention; and Spanish and French classes examining foreign language in the broader political discussion.
Additionally, the administration has challenged every department to bring to campus a debate-related speaker to engage students, and the faculty have answered the call. From renowned data scientist Sam Wang to vice presidential scholar Joel Goldstein, academic offerings related to the debate will touch every Longwood student.