C-SPAN’s state-of-the-art 45-foot customized motor coach visited a high school and college Friday in Rocky Mount as part of its "50 Capitals Tour.”
“We are traveling through the country so that we can engage with the community in the bus, which doubles as a mobile classroom and a production studio,” said Ndidi Obasi, a marketing representative with C-SPAN who is traveling with the bus.
To launch its newly built bus, C-SPAN embarked on its "50 Capitals Tour" in September 2017 and is heading to every U.S. state capital, according to a press release from C-SPAN. The tour will end in November in time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the educational bus program.
The C-SPAN bus stopped from 8 to 9:45 a.m. at Northern Nash High School to allow some students to explore the its resources, which include access to an exclusive interactive experience available on 11 large-screen tablets featuring C-SPAN programming and myriad of political and educational resources, a smart TV and classroom area, a high-definition TV production studio for taped and live programming, a 360-degree video station featuring C-SPAN's unfiltered coverage of high-profile events and behind-the-scenes tours of U.S. landmarks and a D.C.-themed selfie station to allow students to post pictures of themselves interacting with the bus on social media.
“We reached out to several schools in the area with this opportunity and Northern Nash was the first to respond,” Obasi said.
Several groups of Northern Nash students were able to tour the bus. Coach Henry Drake, who teaches civics and economics at the school, made sure his students had a chance to see the bus.
“I use C-SPAN a lot in the classroom and this is a great opportunity for the students to see firsthand how all these videos and resources come into play. Students learn better with hands on opportunities,” Drake said.
Student Eric Lucero, 16, said he was impressed with the bus.
“This is pretty cool and awesome, “ Lecero said. “I especially like all the televisions, tablets and cameras in the bus. It has a lot of technology.”
Drake said the bus also allowed students to explore other career possibilities.
“A lot of people try to get students to focus on careers like becoming a doctor or lawyer,” Drake said. “But we also need people to broadcast the news and cover events and bring the country and government closer to us.”
C-SPAN, which is funded through cable and satellite providers, records sessions of Congress, makes documentaries and provides educational materials and and an extensive online video library with more than 235,000 hours of public affairs content.
The C-SPAN bus also stopped at N.C. Wesleyan College for two hours Friday, parking on the Southern Bank Green behind the administration building.
Thomas Henderson, who is pursuing a double major in history and business at Wesleyan, said he has been looking forward to the arrival of the C-SPAN bus.
“I watch C-SPAN all the time and I was surprised to learn that the bus was coming on campus. I am glad that Wesleyan was able to provide this external opportunity for us,” Henderson said.
Henderson said he appreciates the work C-SPAN does.
“The people have a vested interest in knowing what the government is doing,” Henderson said. “C-SPAN helps provide viewership and transparency in government, which is good because Congress is supposed to be under scrutiny.”
Locally, C-SPAN programming can be seen on channel 24; C-SPAN2 on channel 23; and on the web at C-SPAN.org. People can follow the adventures of the C-SPAN Bus on Twitter and Instagram @cspanbus and online at C-SPAN.org/community.
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