By Zachary June–
The Sept. 26 presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gathered large amounts of University of Louisville students to Ekstrom Library, with not one empty seat in the Chao Auditorium.
Sponsored by the U of L Student Activities Board, the debate watch party attracted both Democratic and Republican supporters – although a clear majority of the students present were pulling for Clinton.
“I’m not a big fan of Hillary, but I think she did a better job explaining what she’ll do,” U of L senior Raquel Resendiz said.
Sidney Cobb – a U of L sophomore and vice chair of the SAB engaging issues committee – was adamant about organizing the watch party due to the lack of voter engagement on U of L’s campus.
“We decided to host a debate watch because I feel as though there is a stigma that college students are apathetic and disengaged,” Cobb said. “However, I don’t think that is true. I know many students who are passionate about political issues, so this watch party is a good chance to educate students on each candidate’s stances.”
Jonathan Fuller, chair of the engaging issues committee, echoed Cobb’s sentiments.
“I did it so students could be informed,” Fuller said. Fuller initially planned on hosting a debate with student campaign surrogates from both parties, but was unable to find a campus group that supported Trump.
The debate was well-received by students. Many feel as though it gave them the opportunity to get a firsthand glimpse at both Clinton and Trump’s presidential styles.
“I think the event itself was well-advocated for,” U of L freshman Alex McGrath said. “It’s very important that the university hosts political-geared events so that they can develop interest in the political process, because many college students don’t. The free pizza did wonders to draw in students.”
“I decided to come because this is my first chance to vote, and I want to be well-informed on the candidates before making a decision,” U of L freshman Daniel Bird said. “The increase of social media allows younger people to be more involved in politics, but the information they receive is often biased. Being a registered Democrat, I tried to focus on the legitimacy of both candidate’s policies before blindly voting Clinton.”
Overall, the event was a success of both attendance and influence. Those present fulfilled their civic duty as members of a democratic nation. Millennial voters will have more of an influence in this election than ever before; therefore, it’s important that all students are informed, registered and present to vote.