When rising sophomore Isaiah Burroughs boarded his plane to Cleveland to attend the 2016 Republican National Convention as a page, he thought back to watching the 2012 RNC at home on television and dreaming about the day he could attend the event in person.
“It was incredible just to be there,” said Burroughs, a politics major. “As pages we got to see things that a lot of people don’t get to see, even things that the delegates don’t get to see.”
The RNC page program accepts just one page from each state and territory to attend the convention. Young people between the ages of 16 and 25 apply and then are nominated and selected by their states’ RNC committees. They serve as floor runners, distributing convention materials and helping to manage the VIP sections.
Burroughs arrived at the convention two days early and helped to prepare for the arrival of the delegates. He said the atmosphere at the RNC was electric with energy and emotion from gavel to gavel.
"I met people like Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Joni Ernst from Iowa, [political correspondent] Dana Bash from CNN and I sat right next to the Trump family,” he said. “It was a really cool experience.”
Unlike most of his fellow pages, Burroughs is no stranger to life as a public servant.
This past November he was elected as a commissioner for the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) representing the D.C. neighborhood that includes Catholic University, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and Capuchin College. Serving as the public face of the neighborhood for the D.C. Council, he responds to questions and advocates for city policies favorable to the area.
As an elected official, Burroughs found the convention particularly inspiring and motivating.
“After attending the RNC, I feel a huge desire to go out and share with the world what Republicans stand for and the strong values we represent,” he said.
These values are on Burroughs’ mind as he spends his first months as a Catholic, after joining the Church this past Easter. A former Baptist, Burroughs decided to become a Catholic after attending the University’s Freshman Retreat and realizing he had found a home in the Church.
This fall, Burroughs will run for re-election as an ANC commissioner. No matter the outcome of the presidential race, he is confident that the convention’s camaraderie, excitement, and sense of hope for the future will stick with him well past November.