Senators are becoming more familiar sights at GW with another visit from CNN’s “Crossfire” attracting top political figures to discuss national issues with GW students. Events like “Crossfire” capitalize on GW’s location in the heart of D.C. and draw students into debate on topics that shape the world around them extending education beyond the classroom. University administrators, student organizations and others planning campus-wide events should take a cue from the enormous popularity of “Crossfire” and attempt to emulate its success.
Bringing nationally-known figures to campus enhances GW’s visibility, which can bring added benefits such as increased donations, better applicants, more research dollars and more school pride. Having former presidential candidates like John McCain available to talk to students, as he did after Tuesday’s broadcast, also gives students a chance to interact with national leaders and voice their concerns on government actions that affect their lives. And, just as importantly, engaging in political debate, asking questions of high-ranking politicians and voicing opinions may inspire future leaders to become involved in the political process.
Events like “Crossfire” are not possible without smaller, less well-known endeavors to lay the groundwork. Programs put on by the College Democrats and College Republicans, which bring House and Senate members and party officers to speak to students, makes these officials familiar with GW and more likely to return in the future. Such programs also familiarize students with their leaders and give them an opportunity to form the type of political thought that went on display all last week. Other campus groups contribute, too, and these events should continue. Student organizations should continue to collaborate with each other to improve the quality of the programs they stage.
Any campus event that attracts students, makes them think and receives rave reviews afterward is welcome, as are the astute questions GW students ask during the “Crossfire” shows. Now, with “Crossfire” entering its second straight week at GW, students and administrators should capitalize on this event and launch more programs that accomplish similar goals.