On March 19, Class XXVIII enjoyed the Government & Media program day which began at City Council Chambers and concluded at Greystone Hall in downtown Akron.
The class heard from Dr. John Green, Director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron regarding Northeast Ohio's political landscape. After this presentation, the class walked over to Greystone Hall where they were met by a panel consisting of Senator Frank LaRose, Senator Tom Sawyer, and Steve Hoffman, Columnist at the Akron Beacon Journal. The three gave insights into the life of a senator and how they try to make themselves available to any public individual who may need them.
Next, the class had a panel conversation with local leaders who put government into a perspective relevant to the immediate area in which they live and work. Summit County Executive Russ Pry and Deputy Mayor David Lieberth shared exciting news of regional collaboration and some of the great things slated to happen in the near future.
After a delicious lunch sponsored by Elizabeth Bartz of State & Federal Communications, the class headed upstairs to meet Carrie Kandes '10, Vice President and Management Supervisor with Marcus Thomas LLC and Matthew Dole, Consultant with Politics Counsel, Inc. The class caught up on how social media is affecting political campaigns and participated in an interactive poll on social media usage with respect to news information, led by Dr. Steve Brooks from The University of Akron.
Immediately following, we heard from more local leaders in the politics scene who have and continue to "make a difference" in our area. The Honorable Don L. Robart, Mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, Linda Omobien '91, At-Large Representative for Akron City Council, and John Fickes '00, Chairman of the Board of the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority shared their personal stories of their road to political involvement.
Finally, our class took "their turn to make the news". With only a few brief tips from Jan Leach, Assistant Professor at Kent State University's School of Journalism & Mass Communication and Barbara Paynter, Partner with Hennes Paynter Communications the class divided into groups and role played as the Chair of the Board of a nonprofit who has just experienced a media-worthy disaster. They were bombarded with tough questions by a group of "fake reporters" and put to the test the ability to remain calm and answer the media in a way that kept the view of their organization as positive as possible. Ask any class member who took the podium-- answering to the media in the wake of a disaster is no easy task!
We concluded the day with a special reception at the Barrister's Lounge where Class XVIII joined for a "ten years out" reunion with Class XXVIII. We announced to everyone the results of the vote for Class XXVIII officers, and we are proud to share that Mona Sarkar '12 will represent as Class President and Kelly Pariso '12 will represent as Vice President!
Special thanks to the Government & Media Day planning committee Al Bartholet '03, Stephen C. Brooks, Ph.D., Bruce Winges, John Valle '08, Kristie Van Auken '00, and James Simon '09.