Blog Summit Recap Links
Jun 21 2006 - 9:46am

We are proud to report that a variety of bloggers who attended the Sorensen Blog Summit this past weekend in Charlottesville have posted numerous positive comments on their blogs regarding their experiences. We are thrilled that many people enjoyed and learned much from the conference.

The National Journal's Danny Glover, who spoke at the Summit, has a number of links to coverage of the event on his blog, Beltway Blogroll.

Danny also has a post on the Washington Post's Micheal Shear with the text of his comments at the Summit.
Click here to read the text of Michael's comments.
Click here for a podcast of his complete remarks.

Danny also has a recent post worth reading regarding blogging and journalism: "When the history of the online media revolution is written, 2006
should merit special mention as a turning point for the blogosphere.
This is the year, for better or for worse, when bloggers earned their
first official media stripes."

Semi Truths is also putting together a carnival of blog posts regarding the Summit. Check it out.

Thanks again to everyone who made this year's Blog Summit a great success! The Sorensen Institute was very proud to be involved.

(Photos from the Blog Summit will be posted here in the next few days!)

2006 College Leaders Program: Day 24
Jun 21 2006 - 9:35am

College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 24--June 19
Reported by:  Shonda Copeland of Norfolk State University

Shonda Copeland

I woke up this morning and anxiously scratched another day off the
calendar. The count down has officially begun! There are 5 more days
until “Political Boot Camp”, better known as the College Leaders
Program, is over!  Classes started at 9am sharp were we learned
how to be ‘Thoughtful Citizens’ by Dr. Tom Shields. A professor at the
University of Richmond, he has the ability to captivate his audience by
implementing humor and interesting statements that make you think. We
broke for lunch, and then it was back to business as usual.
Bob McDonnell, the Attorney General for Virginia, stopped by to speak
with us about the work he does for the Commonwealth. He also discussed
in detail some of the legislation that he has supported. He very boldly
weathered the storm of questions that were fired at him by the class.
He is a man to be admired and watched for the remainder of his term. I
am looking forward to the advances Virginia will make because of his
leadership abilities.
    In addition to the
excitement we had already experienced, Mr. Coy Barefoot of the Sorensen
Institue, better known as the man with all the energy, came in to
interview the culminating project groups for radio. This was part of
the “Media Training” lens here in the final days of the program. There
was a great deal of tension in the room as we all waited nervously for
our turns to be called. All of the groups did an excellent job. 
Coy explained the good, the bad, and the ugly when it came to our
project explanations.
    Our Media Training
continued next with Cathy Harding, the editor of the C-Ville Weekly
newspaper. She directed us through the process of creating an “OpEd.”
She left a lasting impression on our group. Her thought for the day
was, “Small writing has the ability to speak to larger topics.”
Tonight was a night out on the town, for all who chose to attend. I
decided against it because I found the evenings’ events to be a bit
racially insensitive. We were going to Monticello to hear Mr. David
Brooks deliver a speech. I am sure he would have been a dynamic
speaker; however, the feelings that accompany a visit to a “plantation”
are life altering. Monticello is more to an African American then
merely the home of the third president; it is a place where “slave
holding” was practiced.
    I accepted the
invitation to be a member of the College Leaders Program under the
pretext that I would learn how to appreciate the viewpoints of others.
The quote “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” comes
to mind. We are all taught to love on another, but that is not how
everyone in the world operates. To attend the event at Monticello would
be blatant disrespect to those who fought for my ability to be viewed
as a person instead of property. I believe that “The Father of
Conservatism” said it best in a passage that he wrote entitled Society, Reverence, and the “True Natural Aristocracy.”  I quote,

are generally men of untaught feelings; that instead if casting away
all our old prejudices, we cherish them to a very considerable degree,
and, to take more shame to ourselves we cherish them because they are
prejudices; and the longer they have lasted, and the more generally
they have prevailed, the more we cherish them.”

I believe that this program is the perfect place for all people of
different political views and backgrounds to come and be accepted—as
long as we all promise to leave all prejudices, stereotypes, and
preconceived notions at home.
    I am certain that I
could have enjoyed myself at Monticello; however, the troublesome
history surrounding Thomas Jefferson and his thoughts on equality have
unnerved me. Jefferson's words and deeds are contradictory on the issue
of slavery. Jefferson wrote, "We have the wolf by the ear, and we can
neither hold him, nor safely let him go. Justice is in one scale, and
self-preservation in the other." This in and of itself is reason enough
not to have attended this outing. Politics would be an outstanding
institution if all men and woman were created equal.

--Shonda Copeland, Norfolk State University

Sorensen Staff Update
Jun 21 2006 - 9:35am

Congratulations to the Sorensen Institute's Amber Capron who was recently promoted to the position of Events Planner and Development Coordinator!

Amber's promotion leaves an open spot on the Sorensen team. We are currently accepting applications for a new Administrative Assistant. Click here to see the job posting.

2006 College Leaders Program: Days 22 and 23
Jun 19 2006 - 10:11am

College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Days 22 and 23--June 17 and 18
Reported by:  Tyler Sinsabaugh of Longwood University

Tyler Sinsabaugh of Longwood University

Saturday, June 17, 2006
Our day began with the final day of the Blog Summit.  Students participated in two workshops, ate a delicious lunch, and were addressed by Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and Washington Post reporter Michael Shear.  The first workshop of the day, students had the choice of participating in campaign finance or ethics in blogging.  The next workshop options included building and online community through blogging and another that focused on blogging and journalism.  We always look forward to the meals at Darden, and like before, the food was wonderful.  After lunch the group listened to the encouraging remarks of Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, followed by Michael Shear of the Washington Post.  Michael’s comments riled up the audience and led to some interesting responses by the bloggers.  The summit ended early in the afternoon.  Most of the group took advantage of the free time and worked on their culminating projects or took naps.

Sunday, June 18, 2006
Sunday was the group’s day of relaxation.  Marc and the gang of hardworking managers took the CLP students to Scottsville to go tubing on the James River.  The group ate lunch on a little island during the tubing adventure.  Those who went had a great time relaxing and floating down the river.  When we got back to Bice, everyone broke into their groups to finish their final drafts of their culminating projects.

2006 College Leaders Program: Day 21
Jun 19 2006 - 9:48am

College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 21--June 16
Reported by: Elizabeth Hooper of Radford University

Elizabeth Hooper

    Today we started off the morning with beautiful weather and a few hours with Tom Shields.  Although we all were a little tired from staying up too late Thursday night trying to finish our literature reviews for our Culminating Projects, our discussions were still full of energy.  First, we broke off into groups to discover what some of the major issues in our respective regions were.  We found that many areas of the state were suffering from similar issues.  The issues ranged from rental inspection reform in Martinsville to growth development in the Metro Richmond area.  Before we convened for lunch we gathered in groups again to discuss the different types of actors at the local, state, and federal levels.  On Monday we will continue discussing public policy.
     In the afternoon we met with Ridge Schuyler from The Nature Conservancy.  He provided insight into an area that I personally did not know much about.  Many students had questions pertaining to conservation easements and what his organization does throughout the Commonwealth.  I found it to be a wonderful organization, and I certainly admire what they do here in Virginia.
    The afternoon got very interesting as we traveled to the Sorensen Institute’s Blog Summit at the Darden Graduate School of Business at UVA.  I also had the pleasure of introducing Attorney General Bob McDonnell who provided a welcome to all of the bloggers.  Next, we heard from Bob Holsworth, the Director of the Center for Public Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University.  He gave his perspective of current Virginia politics and some of his personal insights for the elections coming up.  Mr. Holsworth is extremely knowledgeable in his field and was an absolute pleasure to listen to.  All of the students here are definitely anticipating the senate race in the fall and even the presidential race right around the corner.  Later I had the pleasure of listening to one of the most intelligent 15-year olds I have ever met, Kenton Ngo.  The creator of the blog 750 Volts, he taught many of the CLP students some of the basics of blogging and even how to start our own blog.  We were all very impressed! 
    After a delightful dinner and speech by Jerome Armstrong, the Internet Director for Mark Warner’s Forward Together PAC, we headed back to the dorm rooms for the night.  Shortly thereafter we received the news that our legislators would finally be voting on the budget next week!  This lead to a few more hours of political discussion that went late into the evening, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. 
    Tomorrow we will head back to the Blog Summit for two more workshops and lunch with all of the Virginia bloggers.  We are all working very hard and enjoying our last few days together.  It is definitely going to be hard to say goodbye to everyone.


2006 College Leaders Program: Day 20
Jun 19 2006 - 9:31am

College Leaders Program Class of 2006
Blog Update: Day 20--June 15
Reported by: Lauren Stech of Radford University

Lauren Stech

    Thursday morning in Bice Hall started off with some very groggy Sorensen College Leaders. After we all stayed up very late on Wednesday night to work on our Culminating Projects, it was time to head to class. The morning began with Dr. Shields proposing discussions concerning our Len's Two information packets. As a class we tackled such topics as the government’s place in public policy issues and individual liberties.
    In terms of individual liberties, we looked at the issue of riding a motorcycle without a helmet. In Pennsylvania it is lawful, whereas in Virginia it is unlawful. Dr. Shields encouraged us to state our own opinions in regards to security and civil liberties issues as we examined Posner's article "Security Versus Civil Liberties". Students from Richmond Universities and communities aided us in our discussion on security cameras imposed in the alleyways of Richmond, VA.
    After lunch we reconvened as Emily Reijmers introduced Kelly Porell. It was fitting that Kelly address our group on Issue Advocacy as she works for Virginia 21. Virginia 21 is an advocacy organization for college-age Virginians that the whole class has either been involved with or heard from. Kelly offered amazing insight. It was refreshing to have one of our own peers speak to us about issues that effect us as Virginia college Students.
    After a short break Dr. Shields and the CLP focused on the impact of the Dillon Rule in Virginia. We considered in some detail the several ways that local governments work in the Commonwealth. We had a very productive day as the end of our third week comes to a close.
    On a side note, I would like to say thank you to my peers for their insight and knowledge as well as to the directors, faculty, and contributors that have made my experience at Sorensen an unforgettable one.

Kirwin Praised in Virginian Pilot
Jun 19 2006 - 8:39am

Brian Kirwin, a member of the Political Leaders Program Class of 2006, was cited in an article this past weekend in the Virginian Pilot. The article dealt with the issue of moving Virginia Beach municipal elections from May to November.

Click here to read the article.

2006 Blog Summit Audio: Sorensen's Sean O'Brien
Jun 17 2006 - 2:54pm

The MP3 file attached to this post includes the concluding remarks given by Sean O'Brien, the Executive Director of the Sorensen Institute, at this year's Blog Summit. The remarks last just over three minutes.

2006 Blog Summit Audio: Washington Post Reporter Michael Shear
Jun 17 2006 - 2:51pm

Washington Post reporter and blogger Michael Shear
spoke today at the 2006 Sorensen Blog Summit. His comments, including
the complete Q&A that followed, are attached to this post as an MP3
file. Mike was introduced by Holly Mattocks of the University of
Virginia, a student in the College Leaders Program Class of 2006. This audio lasts approximately 40 minutes.

2006 Blog Summit Audio: Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
Jun 17 2006 - 2:46pm

Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling spoke at the 2006 Blog Summit today, June 17. His comments are attached to this post as an MP3 file. The Lieutenant Governor spoke for just over 29 minutes. He was introduced by Jarrett Ray of James Madison University, a student in the College Leaders Program Class of 2006.

Syndicate content

Featured Alumni

  • Andy Block.jpg

    Andy Block

    Political Leaders Program

    Class of 2006

    Andy is the director of the U.Va. Law School's Child Advocacy Clinic.

    From 1998 to the spring of 2010 he was the founder and legal director of the JustChildren Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center, a program that represents low-income children across the Commonwealth of Virginia.