Campus & Community

Students doing ‘unglamorous’ work for DNC

For some politically savvy students, simply being in Denver during theDemocratic National Convention isn’t enough. Many have secured a spot in the action.

They may be putting in long hours and even doing some mundane work, but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity — so say students who scored positions working for the Democratic National Convention.

“These are unglamorous jobs in a glamorous atmosphere,” says Katie Curcio, internship coordinator at CBS News, one of the networks DU students are working for.

Dozens of other students are helping out at networks such as FOX and the BBC.

CBS hired 25 students — 22 of them from DU — as runners for the convention, Curcio says. Runners do tasks like answering phones and assisting the production staff, going for lunch, even taking out the trash, says Robert Clever, a junior international business and German major who has been working at CBS since the beginning of August.

Clever estimates he’ll be working 60 hours during convention week — which hopefully includes some time spent in the Pepsi Center and at Invesco Field to hear Sen. Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, he says.

“[It’s] a chance to get more involved with technical/production assistance, a personal hobby and interest and to be a part of something historic,” Clever says.

Historic, indeed.

“This looks to be one of the most interesting presidential nominating conventions in a generation, and the fact that it’s right here in Denver makes it an incredible opportunity for DU students,” says political science Assistant Professor Seth Masket, who helped some of his students get involved. (Read about Masket’s role as a DNC delegate.)

For junior communications major Jane McGillem, the media aspect of the DNC is most fascinating.

“I had an interest in politics and how it’s portrayed in the media,” says McGillem, one of two DU students working for the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC). McGillem says her political interests were piqued when she took DU’s Road to the White House course earlier this year — a distance learning class that’s a collaboration between C-SPAN and the Cable Center.

McGillem — who’s been working since March in the DNCC’s public affairs department — has been going through news clips, directing media inquiries and “helping with everything from logistics to planning to everything in between.” Her gig has been full-time during the summer months.

During the convention, McGillem will most likely spend her time in the media pavilions near the Pepsi Center. About 15,000 reporters will have workspace in tents surrounding the area, says DNCC Deputy Press Secretary Kristina Edmunson, who supervises McGillem.

McGillem says the experience is definitely providing her with real job experience.

“It’s such a busy environment,” McGillem says. “You have to be on your feet and ready for whatever might come at you.”

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