Pulse on Politics reporter travels to DC for spring break

CPAC conference gives Summerfield an inside look at the 2016 race

By Ashley Summerfield

Of the many options available for UF students over spring break, I decided to take advantage of a non-traditional spring break excursion.

As a part of the UF College Republicans, I was offered an opportunity that I could not pass up.  As a young political science major, I have been privileged enough to be granted several opportunities that have helped me develop my political knowledge.

Over spring break, I was able to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.  During my time at the conference sessions and touring D.C., I gained a better appreciation and knowledge for politics, better than anything I could have gained in a classroom.

CPAC is an annual conference that promotes the political activism of all ages.  While at the conference, I was able to hear different viewpoints, which will help me as I analyze political topics for future Pulse political coverage.  Throughout the conference, I was able to hear several presidential candidates speak, as well as congressmen, senators, and other influential political figures.  What I learned from these is that everyone has their own viewpoints, even within one party, but it’s how you portray your ideas that make the difference in your credibility and success in this field.

The networking aspect of the conference will come to be a great resource as I continue my journey toward becoming a political scientist.  I was able to connect with student organizations, as well as Ohio politicians and political figures from around the country.  Gaining insight on how these successful politicians got their start in their careers helped motivate me to keep myself involved in the political world throughout my college years.

The willingness to get involved and make a difference was all around me.  I returned from this conference motivated and with a greater passion for politics than ever before.  The skills that I have gained will help me in countless ways as the Pulse on Politics brand develops.

Many things have changed throughout my time as a UF student, but the one thing that has remained consistent is my love for politics and my drive to promote political involvement on our campus.  Being a part of the political world is like a drug; once you start, it’s hard to get away.  This conference was just one of many that I will be attending this semester and I am encouraged by the opportunities yet to come.

As I develop my skills in this field, I will continue to advocate for political action and involvement on our own campus.  As millennials, we are the future of our country and of the political world.  It is our duty and privilege to become involved in our nation’s political system.  When young people become politically informed, it benefits our entire system.  No matter your stance on issues, each person should challenge himself or herself to become better educated.

As a political science major, it is easy for me to be politically involved.  That being said, all students have countless opportunities to get involved.  The best place to start is registering to vote and taking advantage of our right to vote as U.S. citizens.  I encourage you to take the time to keep up on current issues as this election season continues.  It is our duty as the next generation to carry out the necessary political duties to make our country the best it can be.


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