Tyler Simms, political science student and president of the BYUPAS Provo Chapter, reviewed the past fall 2014 and winter 2015 semesters.
“This academic year at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah has been filled with political excitement. As a result, BYUPAS has been able to host a number of successful events that have reached a large number of students from all majors. Students have had opportunities to land internships, meet their faculty, join campaigns, attend debates, meet government officials, and find out the latest in political science research.
In September, we started off the year with a bang by hosting a Political Involvement Fair on campus. We rented a room in the Wilkinson Student Center and filled the outer walls with recruiters from over twenty-five different organizations, such as political campaigns, political parties, study abroad opportunities, local internships, national internships, research fellowships, and many more. Students had the opportunity to visit with each one of these groups and see how they could become involved. In all, over 300 students showed up. Some left with internships, some left with applications, and many left with full bellies as pizza was served. With this one event, we doubled our e-mail list and set the tone for the rest of the year.
Right after our Involvement Fair, election season was in full swing, and our campus was fortunate enough to host the Attorney General debate. We received permission to invite the student body to not only attend the debate, but also the candidates agreed to have an off-the-record session with students following the debate. We advertised this event in full force, so our students could benefit from such a rare opportunity. Unsurprisingly, a huge number of BYU students showed up and completely filled the studio where the televised debate was held. In the off-the-record session, BYU students showed how intelligent they are as they asked each of the candidates well-thought and thought-provoking questions. They took full advantage of such a rare opportunity.
Our annual Oktoberfest was a much-needed break from the stress of election season as many of our students and faculty were involved in the intense Exit Poll project. We held our annual event at the Timp Lodge and saw what many called a record turnout. The walls of the Timp Lodge were filled from end to end with students, faculty, and families. Literally, we would not have been able to accommodate anyone else. A few of our esteemed have faculty mentioned how much their freshmen students enjoyed spending time with the upperclassmen and faculty in such a relaxed setting. Students, families, and faculty were able to eat, laugh, relax, and enjoy our very own faculty band and also take part in the Faculty Feud game. We estimate that between 250-300 people were in attendance.
Winter semester also started off with a bang! Two weeks ago we hosted our trip to the Utah State Capitol where 45 students had the privilege to hear from a panel of lobbyists and a panel of journalists. The highlight of the day, however, was during our “speed dating” segment when students were able to have one-on-one time with professionals from a wide range of organizations. Attorney General Sean Reyes and Lt. Governor Spencer Cox were in attendance for this event and met with student during the one on sessions. Students have raved about this event, and one student said he left with an internship opportunity in Washington D.C.! We did not plan this event alone, however. The Salt Lake Chapter helped us out a ton and did a lot of the coordinating for the “speed dating” segment. Our Capitol Trip has generated a lot of buzz around campus, and there has been talk of the BYU Alumni Magazine doing a write-up on the event.
Our list of events does not end with those described above. Students have been able to attend gatherings hosted by Dr. Eric Stiles, Dr. Michael Barber, and Dr. Jessica Preece. In March, we will be hosting two academics, Dr. Thomas Zeitzoff and Dr. Daphna Cantetti, who are experts on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. They will be in town for three days and will appear at a variety of events, including a large discussion in the main lecture hall of the Kimball Tower and one-on-one interviews with students who are interested in learning more on the conflict. We will cap off the year with our closing banquet, and the brand new BYU President Kevin J. Worthen will be the keynote speaker. All in all, it has been a fantastic year. We are very thankful for the students, faculty, department and BYUPAS in general for help in making this year as fun as it has been.”
– Tyler Simms, President, BYUPAS Provo Student Chapter