George Basile climbed onto the C-SPAN Campaign 2016 Bus on Thursday morning wielding a few dozen signs wielding the name of Katie McGinty, the Democratic candidate for United States Senate in Pennsylvania.
“I am a supporter,” the junior political science major said of the U.S. Senate candidate as he scrolled through a touch-screen computer inside the bus.
“I’m part of the Temple Political Science Society so of course this attracted me,” he added. “Hands-on experiences with the different information and archives they have can provide a more memorable look into candidate information, so it creates a more lasting impact on the memory.”
Basile caught the C-SPAN Campaign 2016 Bus on Montgomery Avenue near 13th Street. This was its third visit to Temple. The bus also visited in 2008 and 2012, said Vanessa Torres, a marketing representative for C-SPAN. Torres and other C-SPAN representatives have spent the past week making a “battleground state tour” before Election Day. The tour, which started in Greensboro, North Carolina, will wrap up on Friday at The University of Scranton.
“We are here just letting students know of our resources and how you can have that unique coverage of the campaign without any commercials, commentary or disruption,” Torres said.
The bus includes multiple touch-screen computers, HDTVs, a social media station, a production studio and a mini-classroom, she said, all of which are free to use when the bus goes to universities, high schools and middle schools.
C-SPAN is funded by the cable industry, so the television network’s relationship with Comcast helped the bus come to Temple again this year. Torres said C-SPAN often works with Bret Perkins, the vice president of external and government affairs at Comcast and a member of Temple’s Board of Trustees.
C-SPAN is traditionally known for covering Congress and other smaller elections. Ronald Joseph, a junior political science major, was most interested in the local election coverage inside the bus.
“I really hope people, when thinking about the presidency, also decide to vote down and focus on the Senate as well,” Joseph said. “In Pennsylvania, they have a really competitive Senate race.”
“I hope it’s not just poli-sci majors who are looking through,” he added. “I hope that other people, maybe STEM majors or people studying humanities, also use outlets like these to be more informed about politics.”
Rachel Pham, a freshman biology major, said she was attracted to the bus because she has “always been interested in politics.” She is currently taking an international affairs class, she said and was interested in seeing class topics in a more interactive way.
“I think [resources like the C-SPAN Campaign 2016 Bus are helpful because they reach out to the community and have everyone interested to come in and see what it’s all about,” Pham said. “There’s more than just CNN and Fox that have skewed views on certain political parties.”
In addition to the interactive materials inside the bus, another C-SPAN marketing representative, Jenae Green, was outside in front of the bus asking students to record 30-second interviews about the most important issues in this election.
Grace Meredith, a senior visual studies major, said the most important issue to her is climate change. She thinks it’s important that nonpartisan outlets like C-SPAN report on topics like climate change because important issues often get lost in “the political game.”
“I think there’s just a lack of political trust in so many areas of the country right now, especially the media on both sides,” she said. “To have people be able to have faith in an organization and that you can trust, I think is the first step to bringing people together.”