Students from across the county descend on Manchester for College Convention 2020!

On January 5, 2020 New England College (NEC) will once again host College Convention. Since 2000, every four years, the college brings together college students from all over the country, and sometimes the world, for this once-in-a-lifetime political event to give the next generation of voters the opportunity to come face-to-face with the people, issues, and process that shape presidential primary campaigns. Students experience it all. They listen to leading candidates, witness the frenzy of national and international media, engage with the media, interact with candidates, and perhaps even get hired by campaigns on the spot. This year, College Convention 2020, will bring together students from a variety of educational backgrounds—from public, private, homeschool, and charter high schools to technical schools and colleges—to engage in the political process in an exciting, hands-on, and unique way.

Students will have the opportunity to watch the political process unfold up close and personal, as they come face to face with deeper ways to engage in their studies and pursue their individual careers goals. From bachelor programs in Communication Studies, History, Political Science, and Psychology, NEC students apply their classroom experiences in real-world ways. Students will also be able to earn college credit as part of their registration.

The Convention will feature visits from presidential candidates and campaign staff, members of the media and political experts; along with a full agenda of educational sessions, an exhibit hall, conventioneering, ranked voting ballot, and social events. Join us where the road to the White House begins! #FITN

The energy for College Convention 2020 is contagious and this year’s Convention promises not only to be a great event for the students and candidates who attend, it will also demonstrate the seriousness with which New Hampshire takes its responsibility as the First in the Nation Primary state. A Ranked Choice Voting election will be held during the several days of the event. College Convention 2020 will be conducting this live candidate preference “vote” using a ranked choice voting system. All registered conference attendees will be able to cast a vote for their top 3 candidates. The results will be announced on January 9th during the capstone plenary session.

Another addition to this year’s convention will be a sponsored Comedy Night: On Monday evening, January 6th, the Convention will host a live comedy night featuring political humor. This ticketed event will also be open to the public. Tickets can be purchased here.

Other events associated with College Convention 2020 include:

  • Trivia Night: Wednesday night, January 8th. Attendees will form their own teams including campaign staff. A great opportunity for a campaign team to win some serious bragging rights!
  • Campaign Volunteer Night: On Tuesday, January 7th, the Armory of the Double Tree Hotel will be transformed into a campaign war room where college student attendees will have the opportunity to volunteer their time to various campaigns. Campaigns can offer any volunteer opportunity they choose, such as a mail stuffing line, a call bank center, etc.
  • Political and Policy Workshops: Several political and public policy educational workshops are planned for the Convention. These will include speakers and panels who will address a wide range of issues including climate and environment; gun safety; marijuana policy; privacy and technology; political news media; campaign management, polling and predictions; and other topical issues.

New England College is proud to be the only college in New Hampshire to host a primary convention for students, and we invite you to be part of College Convention 2020. The convention schedule is being updated regularly and you can view it here. Interested students, and others, can register here.

About the Author

Dr. Wayne Lesperance is Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science at New England College. He is also the director of NEC’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), a vehicle by which the institution is able to involve students and the surrounding New Hampshire community in the political process. Dr. Lesperance is a frequent media commentator, both locally and nationally, on politics and elections. He holds a Doctorate of Law and Policy from Northeastern University, an MA in International Studies, and a BS in Political Science from Old Dominion University. A resident of Henniker he is also a husband, father, bulldog owner, and devoted fan of Thomas Jefferson.

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