Carson High School students got a taste of government Thursday when the C-SPAN bus made a pit stop in the capital city.
As a part of its 14-month long “50 Capitals Tour,” C-SPAN, partnered with Spectrum, is driving around the country engaging students, teachers and local government officials about problems plaguing individual areas.
“The reception has been fantastic,” said Joel Bacon, marketing representative for C-SPAN.
This was the 28th stop on the tour, and representatives spoke with officials such as Gov. Brian Sandoval and Mayor Bob Crowell as well as community members to talk about issues in Carson City. Bacon said they asked one question to each person: either what can representatives in Washington, D.C., do to help local governments or what’s the most important issue in Nevada.
Each answer was given on video, so the organization can create a compilation for each state for its “Voices from the States.”
The bus also made a stop at Carson High School to interact with students and inform them of what C-SPAN does. The students listened to a presentation and had the opportunity to take quizzes and learn information on interactive screens.
“We wanted to go to the schools and talk about why C-SPAN does what it does, how it does what it does, and why it maintains its non-partisan (status),” said Bacon.
C-SPAN introduced to the students C-SPAN Classroom, a free educational online resource as well as its video library of public affairs content to watch in entirety.
Spectrum is the provider for the channel in Carson City.
“Charter is thrilled that the C-SPAN bus is visiting, bringing their political and educational resources to the community,” said Adam Falk, senior vice president of state government affairs for Charter Communications. “We’re proud to partner with C-SPAN and look forward to residents, teachers and students stepping aboard to experience what C-SPAN has to offer.”
One of the big things they want to accomplish is to educate students on what’s going on in the government with an unbiased viewpoint, Bacon said.
“Lots of people think we are government-funded, but that isn’t true,” Bacon said. “We get zero dollars from them so we can just show what’s going on (without outside opinion), like a fly on the wall.
“We want to make sure students know there are vast resources we provide for free so we let students know they can engage with content and know there is a place to go for unfiltered, non-partisan information.”
He said the purpose of visiting middle and high schools across the country is because they’re the most independent citizens and it’s important to provide unfiltered information so they know what’s going on.
“It is a good place to go to make up your mind because students are independent and tech savvy and knowledgeable,” Bacon said. “They can spend time learning from professors and politicians and even historians at a place that gives unfiltered content ... students can engage in ideas and things that people think about and engage in most in a positive way and create a narrative.”
In addition to stopping at Carson High, the bus visited Spanish Springs High School in Sparks to award four students for Winnie the StudentCam video documentaries. Seniors Connor Shangle, Kaitlyn Stout and Samantha Lepori won third prize for their “Homeless does not mean helpless” video and senior Jillian Holland Browne won third place for her “The Constitution and You: Federalism” video.
Each year, C-SPAN awards students and teachers for their entries into the contest, where they have to make a 5- to 7-minute documentary on a subject of national importance. This year’s theme was “The Constitution and You,” and students had to create a video showing why the Constitution and certain aspects are important.
This year, nearly 3,000 video submissions were entered and 150 students and 53 teachers were awarded a total of $100,000 in prize money.