Republican Convention brings opportunities for U

Involvement with the Republican National Convention is tentative.

McKenna Ewen

With a national spotlight to be shining on the Twin Cities in the next few years, the University could get in on the action.

The University and the Republican National Committee have not reached an official agreement, but, as the 2008 convention and its specifics fall into place, the University looks to play a part in the process.

While the use of University facilities and on-campus housing are still viable options, the largest impact will likely be student involvement.

Bethany Dorobiala, state chairwoman for College Republicans, said the organization is already preparing for the convention by working to build University volunteer support.

With the convention in the Twin Cities, students are more likely to become politically active earlier in the season and engage in political discourse, Dorobiala said.

“Because the national convention is the final stop, it would encourage more involvement at the precinct level,” she said.

Cynthia Lesher, president of the Minnesota Host Committee, said she expects the need for roughly 8,000 volunteers.

Volunteer opportunities range from traffic control to working as pages on the convention floor.

“We will be figuring out the volunteer process and tracking in the next couple of months,” Lesher said.

University spokesman Dan Wolter said the University is ready to make facilities available for the convention.

He said it is unlikely that any on-campus housing will be requested or available, because the convention overlaps with the start of the fall term.

The convention is scheduled for the first four days of September.

In 2004, Boston University made on-campus housing available to committee members during the Democratic National Convention. That convention was held in July.

One advantage to University housing was that it offered facilities that were conducive to long-term living, Boston University spokesman Colin Riley said.

But, he said, it was unlikely that the university would have accommodated more than the national committee.

Northeastern University spokeswoman Laura Shea said the close proximity of the Boston convention to the university allowed several students to become closely involved with national delegates.

Shea said that former democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis taught a special class that encouraged students to become involved with the Democratic National Convention.

And the University of Massachusetts Boston participated in a unique opportunity during the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

In collaboration with Harvard University, the university used its proximity to the convention to produce an independent daily newspaper focused entirely on the convention. The publication was distributed in the Boston Globe.