EDITORIAL: University connects students to DNC, campus to Milwaukee


Photo by Katerina Pourliakas

Students attended an informational session about DNC opportunities Oct. 22 in the Alumni Memorial Union.

As Milwaukee prepares for the Democratic National Convention happening this summer, Marquette University is prioritizing student involvement in the event. 

The United States Democratic National Party hosts the convention every four years to elect the party’s candidate for the upcoming presidential election.

Previously, the convention was hosted in larger cities, such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2016  and Charlotte, North Carolina in 2012.

But Milwaukee was selected for its location in America’s heartland and history as a Democratic state.

Marquette faculty held an informational meeting on Oct. 22 for students to learn about ways they can get involved with the convention, which will take place July 13-16, 2020, at Fiserv Forum. Students were provided with opportunities to volunteer or apply for various convention jobs. Convention internship opportunities are also being posted on Handshake, Marquette’s online career search service.  

The university’s communication and engagement with this historic event gives students the necessary resources to get involved. The university’s proactive planning allows students time to secure optimal positions and plan for ways to achieve their goals in those roles. 

Marquette’s initial efforts not only assist students in participating in a once-in-a-lifetime experience but provide them with the opportunity to connect with Milwaukee. The university is effectively encouraging students to not only be engaged at Marquette, but to also be engaged in the wider Milwaukee area.

To further bridge the gap between the convention and campus, the university is providing its own opportunities for students through the Internships as Field Experience course being offered summer and fall 2020. Students can receive course credit for convention internships. 

The university will provide accommodations for students taking the summer course, offering instructors the option to utilize the Summer 51 Session, which begins a week before the regular Summer 2 Session. This session gives instructors following the Summer 51 session the option to cancel classes during convention week and still end at the same time as the Summer 2 Session. 

Making efforts to alter summer class sessions showcases the university’s recognition of the importance of students’ ability to prioritize the convention experience.

Moreover, the university’s Convention Steering Committee will market university residence hall rooms and event spaces to the public during the convention. 

“We are renting very specific campus events and residence hall spaces to law enforcement, media outlets, corporations and nonprofits who are going to be in Milwaukee for the convention,” Chris Stolarski, associate director of university communication, said.

Stolarski said the committee is working to ensure that students staying on campus for the summer won’t be displayed or disrupted by guests renting on campus.

The funds raised from renting to the public will go towards “unrestricted” scholarships, which can be given to any Marquette college or program, according to a recent Marquette Wire story.

Stolarski said university-owned apartment housing may be utilized for public or MU staff rental, but decisions on this have not been finalized because students have not signed leases yet. He said students will always have first preferences when leasing with the university.

Any revenue gained from non-student rentals will be funneled back to students, showcasing the university’s commitment to invest in itself and students.

The university’s active role in involving students to be part of the convention as well as their prioritization of the student experience is very important to the enhancement of their time at Marquette and their relations with Milwaukee. 

Regardless of the Democratic Party’s selection, the opportunity to participate in the convention will give students an incomparable experience as well as the possibility to witness history.