My first impulse as I write this first blog after the Hofstra debate is to go on about how many political and media celebrities I saw and met while working the media resource center that day. I could crow about how Professor Bloom and I were the only Hofstra staff to see the president’s motorcade as it rolled to the back of the debate hall. I could rave about how just being in on the action was one of the most exciting days of my life.
But I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll observe that the coolest thing about Hofstra’s hosting of Debate 2012 was how the administration, faculty and debate planners went out of their way to make the event all about the students. Students were involved in every corner of the campus for weeks, volunteering their time or attending programs ranging from an appearance by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to a pre-debate debate with Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs. On debate Tuesday students professionally guided guests, assisted reporters, supervised events, and were an integral part of what was a very long and amazing day.
More than 6,500 Hofstra students entered a lottery to be among the 300 students admitted to the debate hall. And another cool moment happened minutes before the debate began: there were still empty seats in the hall so students were recruited from the adjacent media center and other locations.
After it was all over, I was able to share these experiences with several of my students who had volunteered, participated in events, or were among the really lucky ones who got into the debate hall. We all agreed on how special this experience was. Think of it–there’s an election every four years, three debates per election, and our campus was selected to host twice. Wow.
But the best part for me was the expressions on the faces of my students as they reflected on all of this. The pride in their school and the gratefulness for this opportunity was deeply evident. The learning experience they had was far greater than a semester full of related classes. I couldn’t be more proud of them. Your thoughts?