February 8, 2020
By Edwin B. Smith
While many of their peers slept in or otherwise relaxed during the winter break, eight University of Mississippi students eagerly tackled the topics of campaigns, elections and advocacy in the United States, thanks to a partnership between Study USA and the Haley Barbour Center for the Study of American Politics.
These Ole Miss students spent early January in the classroom to begin the intersession, examining how political science can inform the real-world campaign environment. To strengthen the connection with practical applications, the course culminated with a trip to Washington, D.C., where students met several professionals, including elected officials, lobbyists, campaign managers, staffers, fundraisers and more.
“The class exposes students to a far greater array of decision-makers and policymakers than students typically meet in Oxford,” said Marvin King, associate professor of political science and African American studies and senior fellow in the university’s Residential College South. “Leveraging the network effects of Gov. Haley Barbour presents our students a far richer and deeper perspective of Washington, D.C., politics and policy.”
Among leaders meeting with the group were U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mitch McConnell and U.S. Rep. Michael Guest.
“This year, we had another great group of students and we had a program packed with outstanding speakers,” Barbour said.
“The students went to the White House and heard from White House staff; went to the Capitol and heard from senators, congressmen and Hill staff; and had two full days of classes about campaigns and elections, taught by some of the top political professionals in Washington. The students immersed themselves in it from the start.”
BGR, Barbour’s lobbying firm, was instrumental in making the trip happen, organizing meetings and providing access to D.C. decision-makers and other movers and shakers.