Students Attend 2013 Keystone Weekend Conference

Posted on 9/30/2013 10:34:09 PM

Two Eberly College of Business and Information Technology students attended the 2013 Keystone Weekend conference on September 21 at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa.

Christine Shontz, Ed Rendell, and Diana Cesar at Keystone WeekendChristine Shontz (Accounting) and Diana Cesar (International Business) attended the Keystone Weekend, which is aimed at bringing together leaders from a variety of disciplines to share their perspectives in a private forum moderated by invited participants.

Four sessions were held on Saturday, with many of the sessions, no matter the topic, having an overall theme of attempting to minimize the negative effects of bipartisanship and political competition within Pennsylvania.

Shontz said that she learned a lot of inside opinions about how bipartisanship affects decisions leaders make.

“Often times, they are afraid to step out of line in their political party so they can’t truly do what they want to get done,” Shontz said. 

The first session was “Bridging the Partisan Divide—The Future of Governing in Pennsylvania and America,” in which former governor Ed Rendell and Republican National Committee member Christine Toretti discussed their views on government today and what society needs to do to prosper in the future. 

“If they close the door in your face, go back the next day and open it,” Rendell said.

The next session, “The Federal Role in Transportation,” was presented by Congressman Bill Shuster and discussed the importance transportation has in our society and why it is a necessity to continue to fund and enhance the nation’s transportation system.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane spoke on “Safeguarding Our Streets” in the third session. This session was about the need for law enforcement programs aimed at improving local communities.

Kane used the example of the recent Boston Marathon tragedies, which involved the quick response of the FBI working with other groups to regain control of the scene, noting that when it comes to crime, all parties need to cooperate.  

The final session, Panel III: “Immigration Reform: Pennsylvania and the Nation,” discussed the fate of immigration reform and was presented by Director of Immigration Policy Rebecca Tallent, U.S. Congressman Louis Barletta, and Reverend Luis Cortes, Jr.

Shontz said she would do the event again in a heartbeat, and she is proud to be representing Eberly College.

“It was an honor to represent such a great school,” Shontz said. “I felt the need to be extra professional, to give back just the slightest bit of everything the school has done for me.”

Cesar felt that even though specific steps were not taken to resolve any of these issues, it felt good to talk about them with people who have the common goal of finding a solution.

“Attendees left with a feeling of empowerment, realizing that for one weekend at least, politicians from all points along the spectrum were able to meet and converse on topics of common significance,” Cesar said. “That was the most striking achievement of the day.”

 —Aleda Johnson