Media features Winter Term program focused on presidential primaries

Students in the "The Presidential Campaign Starts Here" Winter Term program were featured by local media covering a campaign stop in Charleston, S.C., by President Joe Biden.

Elon students getting a firsthand look at this year’s presidential primaries in South Carolina attracted the attention of local media during a campaign stop in Charleston, S.C., by President Joe Biden.

The students are participating in the “The Presidential Campaign Starts Here: The First Primaries” program for Elon’s Winter Term that this month is taking them to campaign stops and immersing them in the presidential primary process in South Carolina and New Hampshire. The program, led by Assistant Professor of Journalism Israel Balderas and Lecturer Political Science Jill Auditori, allows them to experience the campaigns through the lens of a journalist or a political analyst.

Their work this week took them to Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., the historic church known as “Mother Emanuel” that was the site of a horrific mass shooting in June 2015 that left nine members of the congregation dead. Biden visited the church on Monday, Jan. 7, to deliver a campaign address and the Elon cohort was in the audience, with local ABC affiliate WCIV ABC 4 News covering their visit and program.

“Elon University is known for its Study USA programs,” Balderas told WCIV. “The university encourages professors to take students out into the field and to learn different things you normally wouldn’t learn in the classroom.”

Lindsay Bialecki ’26 told the station about the impact the experience has had on her. “Having Joe Biden a hundred feet in front of you is completely different from writing a paper and a really life-changing experience for me,” she said.

Read the full story for more details on the experience of students participating in the program.

This Winter Term, nearly 950 Elon students and close to 100 faculty and staff are participating in study abroad and Study USA programs in 27 countries. Elon’s Winter Term is a key opportunity for many Elon students to participate in study-away programs, with close to 90 percent of Elon students participating in study abroad or Study USA during their time at Elon.