Temple hosted the annual Pennsylvania College Democrats convention for the first time last weekend.
The convention brought together 105 delegates from 15 colleges and universities throughout the state. Visiting students were lodged at the Holiday Inn Express Midtown in Center City.
“The students come from diverse backgrounds and bring individual skill sets and knowledge,” said Deborah Hinchey, junior history and political science major and eastern vice president of the Pennsylvania College Democrats.
Hinchey was elected president Sunday morning in the 2008-2009 PACD executive board elections. Temple student Keith Davis was elected as membership director as well.
The convention consisted of workshops, seminars and speakers. The events included a demographic outreach panel and communications and “Get Out the Vote” presentations, as well as an etiquette workshop. The delegates also participated in the annual amending of the PACD constitution.
“We provide students with valuable trainings and skills to help them turn out young voters in 2008,” said Hinchey, who also chaired the convention at Temple.
The members followed the model of the Democratic National Convention and held caucuses for various demographic groups including black, GLBT, Jewish, Latino and women. During the caucuses, concerns about the particular groups as well as their role in the political sphere were discussed.
Korin Tangtrakul, a sophomore environmental studies major, said the most beneficial segment of the convention to her was the caucusing.
“It helped me understand what is going on within one section of the Democratic Party,” Tangtrakul said. “I become more involved.”
The convention hosted various speakers, including surrogates of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, although the PACD has not endorsed either candidate.
Chelsea Clinton spoke Friday evening in support of her mother. Bill Bradley, a former U.S. senator from New Jersey, spoke Saturday afternoon in support of Obama. Each speech was followed by a question-and-answer session.
Other speakers hosted include U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah and Deanna Wozniak, president of Temple Common Ground. Organizers said speakers help to educate the delegates on current issues in the political world, particularly those within minority groups, as well as provide insight into the speakers’ experiences and work in politics.
The convention concluded Sunday morning with the award of “Chapter of the Year” to Pittsburgh University.
“This was an opportunity for all the chapters to get together,” said Anna Walker, a junior political science and economics major and president of Temple College Democrats. “It’s nice to have it on the most diverse campus because we have diverse candidates in the democratic presidential race this year. I’m really proud to have had it at Temple.”
Kathryn A. López can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org