By Danielle Strejc
The Republican National Convention made it’s presence Downtown, Tampa Aug. 27-30, coinciding with students at the University of Tampa’s first week of school.
The University of Tampa, located on 401 W. Kennedy Blvd, was approximately 1 mile from the Tampa Bay Times Forum where the majority of RNC- related events were held. Armed guards lined the streets, protestors marched outside of buildings, and helicopters raced overhead- all in close proximity to the campus. For a majority of UT students, the GOP convention served as more of a distraction as opposed to a beneficial experience.
Naturally, the university offered a list of RNC- related jobs and internships ranging from work at CNN to MSNBC. One student at UT was even offered a position with NBC’s show, Meet The Press with David Gregory. Although the event provided students with hands-on experience and opportunity in the working world, the response of students who felt particularly annoyed in comparison to those that felt the event benefited them was overwhelming.
Trevor Igoe, student at the University of Tampa, was one of those students who had the opportunity to have a first-hand look at the big event as he interned with MSNBC.
“It’s actually really cool,” he says, “I’m very into politics so it’s just cool to see how everything goes down with the actual convention.”
However, Kenneth Ostermann, a senior at the University of Tampa, felt he had quite the opposite experience.
“This convention has been more of an inconvenience than the damn hurricane,” he explains, “Classes have been cancelled, sirens are the only sound I hear, and getting out of my parking garage takes ten minutes alone.”
In addition to the distractions on campus, it is questionable as if the University of Tampa had security measures in check and were clearly able to identify who should and shouldn’t be on campus.
“We can’t really identify who goes here,” suggests sophomore Biochemistry major, Cassandra Marshall, “They can always make fake IDs.”
Brooke Maute, a senior at University of Tampa, seemed to have the same opinions regarding security.
“They didn’t seem to be guarding the buildings strictly,” she says, “If there was a group of people, you could have passed right by.”
Although the RNC provided some students with extracurricular opportunities, many students at the University of Tampa were eager for this event to pass.
“With all the police and helicopters around, it is hard to focus,” Dejon Prade, a student at University of Tampa, explains, “The RNC, for me, needs to be done with.”