Emblazoned with the C-SPAN logo, a charter bus carrying six touch-screen computers and a SMART Board rolled onto Elon University’s campus and parked outside Moseley Center at noon May 5.
The bus was designed to transport information about the 2012 presidential and primary campaigns. All passers-by were invited to board the bus and use C-SPAN’s computer resources to compare political candidates and watch archived videos in C-SPAN’s digital library.
Elon was the fifth university the bus visited during a six-day tour in North Carolina leading up to the primary elections May 8. The bus first visited Asheville May 3 and will make its final stops in Cary and Raleigh on the day of the elections.
A goal of the bus is to showcase three political information sources available to the general public: the C-SPAN Digital Library, C-SPAN Classroom and C-SPAN’s Campaign 2012 application, said Doug Hemmig, a C-SPAN marketing representative.
The digital library holds more than 170,000 hours worth of C-SPAN footage dating back to 1979, when the network was founded. Because most C-SPAN videos are lengthy, commercial-free recordings of political speeches and meetings, viewers have the option to create custom video clips to share on almost any digital or social media platform.
“We love to come out and showcase this, because it’s a resource not many people know about,” Hemmig said.
It’s available through the regular website, c-span.org, or c-spanvideo.org, he said.
Journalism professor Anthony Hatcher, who often uses the C-SPAN digital library when teaching public speaking and journalism classes, said it’s the “best thing they’ve created.”
Sophomore James Carter spent time aboard the bus researching North Carolina congressmen.
“I wanted to look up stuff about the primary (elections),” he said. “This is the first year I’ll be able to vote.”
Students also had the opportunity to share their views about the bus. Representatives from TOUT, a 15-second video-sharing application, encouraged students to answer questions about the 2012 elections in front of a camera. Taken through the TOUT smart-phone application, the videos were uploaded to C-SPAN’s TOUT page.
“I love the idea of (this bus),” said freshman Julia Denick. “It’s an exciting way to encourage students to go to the polls, especially if you don’t know that much about the campaigns. The idea of combining all this technology with knowledgeable people to talk to is really great.”
C-SPAN Classroom, a free, downloadable program for educators, offers similar content and features. In addition to all archived material in the digital library, the program also offers teachers access to the Congressional Chronicle and lesson plans suited to a wide range of political subjects.
The Campaign 2012 application holds more specific information than the digital library and classroom program. With the application, users can compare candidates side-by-side and gather in-depth information about the 2012 campaigns.