USF World News

USF Student Voices Inform International Journalists’ Understanding of the U.S. Presidential Election

Tampa, Fla. (Nov. 05, 2020) -- Twelve University of South Florida students were recently selected to participate in a highly interactive U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar sponsored by the East-West Center. The East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue. Journalists from Bangladesh, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom connected with USF students in virtual conversation groups to discuss the U.S. presidential election and the issues that are motivating young people to vote this election cycle. The students’ contribution to the seminar experience included meeting and interacting with the journalists prior to the election and again on November 3rd as vote counts were reported from Florida and across the country. As a result, USF students have been featured in articles published in a number of international media outlets including: India TodayThe Guardian in Nigeria, The Dhaka Tribune and The Daily Star in Bangladesh, as well as live commentary with The Times Radio, London, on election night.

The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar, (USPres Seminar), sponsored 13 international journalists for an immersive 12-day experience that emphasizes long-term knowledge acquisition and understanding of American governmental structures, electoral processes, campaign finance laws, and civil society engagement, including the history, demographics, and policy platforms of the Republican and Democratic political parties. Journalists then explored specific election issues of interest from the perspective of two swing states – Florida and Michigan. On October 28, USF students spent 75 minutes with the journalists discussing the 2020 election, and in particular, the issues of greatest importance to young voters at the state and federal levels. Students’ thoughts about the presidential and vice-presidential candidates were also discussed. 

All of the participating students have previous international experiences studying abroad at USF and are members of the Education Abroad GloBull Ambassador Program. The journalists asked questions about the USF campus atmosphere leading up to the election and how it feels to be a first-time voter for such a competitive election. The students shared their unique perspectives about the 2020 election and expressed concerns about environment degradation, punitive immigration policies, and race-based violence. Many of the journalists followed up after the Seminar conversation to collect additional photos and quotes from the students. Two students answered questions live on Times Radio, London, as the election results came in on the evening of November 3rd. Florida is a critical state for any presidential candidate and USF students were able to share their view with an international audience and contribute to media coverage across the world.