SPP Students Attend Campaign School

A photo of Nick, Dontae, Noel and Chase
Nick Benvenuto, Dontae Richards, Noel Sosnoski and Chase Prentiss at Campaign School. 

Last month, School of Public Policy (SPP) students attended the “Campaign School for Social Workers” with UConn’s School of Social Work (SSW). This two-day opportunity was held at the Hartford Club in downtown Hartford, CT on February 23rd and 24th. Attendees represented 16 states and 25 higher education institutions and included over 120 students, faculty and social workers from across the globe. Four SPP students joined Huskies from the Leadership Legacy Experience program and Civic Leadership Program

The Campaign School provided a way for students to learn about the journey of an elected official as they partake in the policy-making process. Masters of Public Policy (MPP) student Nick Benvenuto (MPP ’24) noted, “SPP really focuses on how to evaluate and create strong policy measures, and the Campaign School teaches you how to get people elected who will champion these causes.” For SPP students like Nick, the Campaign School is just one professional development opportunity afforded to our SPP Huskies alongside their coursework and internship opportunities.

Masters of Public Administration (MPA) student Noel Sosnoski (MPA ’25) was inspired by the experience. He said, “perhaps the most important message from the Campaign School was to encourage others to become more active in their local community. Whether that be running for local office, volunteering in a campaign, or volunteering with your local registrar to help run the polls on election day, go out and get involved!” His sentiments were emphasized by classmate Dontae Richards (MPA ’24) who encouraged volunteering on campaigns in order to overcome misconceptions about pursuing local office. She added,

Learning the campaigning process —from strategic planning to grassroots involvement—provides an understanding of the intricacies involved in political mobilization. Through this experience, I have gained a deeper understanding of the political scene as well as a greater appreciation for the commitment and strategic thinking needed to successfully navigate and win campaigns.

Fellow MPA student Chase Prentiss (MPA ’25) highlighted the value of hearing from the panelists who held identities different from his own. Chase explained, “…if you’re interested in running, just take some baby steps, and discuss it with your inner circle (friends & family), while also looking into and nourishing some further out connections from your past that could be beneficial. At the end of the day, you just have to start somewhere.” For many participants the Campaign School was an opportunity to take some steps and gain further exposure to the policy process.

You can learn more about the Campaign School in a recent UConn Today article.

Interested in learning more about SPP’s professional development opportunities available to students and local community members? Contact SPP Director of Engagement Ryan Baldassario (ryan.baldassario@uconn.edu).

Posted by Kish, Lian in MPA, MPP