Debate PRide runs deep

      38 Comments on Debate PRide runs deep

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?

38 thoughts on “Debate PRide runs deep

  1. publicrelationspro

    I believe that the debate was a valuable opportunity for the students to get involved with all of the necessary steps that go into a large scale event such as a presidential debate. This was a chance for the students involved to get real-world experience in one of the nations biggest events as well. I attended the debate between Karl Rove and Robert Gibbs and thought that it was an interesting experience. I was also lucky enough to ask the last question regarding political campaign spending, which both sides took the same position; that having no cap on political spending is a benefit.

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  2. alex coughlan

    Unfortunately I was not picked to go to the Debate and was too busy this semester to volunteer but even just being a student watching it all happen on campus was something so special. Having friends who were chosen to go was amazing and I was so happy for them. The energy around campus was something unexplainable and I feel honored to be a part of this moment in Hofstra’s history.

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  3. hrhaynes

    When I wasn’t chosen as a debate volunteer I was extremely discouraged. I felt equally as discouraged when I didn’t receive a ticket to see the actually debate. However, Hofstra did a fantastic job of making the overall experience enjoyable. The entire campus was interactive. While I didn’t get an opportunity to get hands on experience with the debate, my experience will be a story I tell for the rest of my life. After it was over I was glad that campus went back to normal, but I wish that I could relive that day just one more time. Simply amazing!

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  4. Kellie Sahagian

    I had an amazing time at Hofstra during the debate. Sure I didn’t get a chance to go to it and I didn’t volunteer for it, but I just had a fantastic experience. I loved walking through campus and seeing everyone come together for one majorly historical event. I was proud to be a Hofstra student, and even got excited while watching the debate on TV when they announced it being at Hofstra.

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  5. Christine Brazeau

    I never realized how much pride I could have for my school until debate day finally arrived. The anticipation of this day was building slowly and I could feel on campus how excited everyone was about to become. Even people who generally don’t show that much enthusiasm about Hofstra couldn’t deny how incredible of an opportunity this was. We were given the rare and incredible chance to host a presidential debate on campus and be apart something so much bigger than we are. I didn’t get the chance to be in the debate hall or volunteer, however the energy on campus was felt everywhere. I feel so lucky and grateful that Hofstra was able to provide us with this experience that I will never forget!

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  6. Nicole Chiarella

    I can remember sitting in my high-school classroom when my teacher was talking about Hofstra University hosting the Presidential Debate. Little did I know I was going to spend the last two years of my college life at Hofstra University. I was not selected to attend the debate but I did watch it on TV. I almost wish they had the same rules at home as they did in the debate hall, no cell phones, no talking and no clapping. It was like fighting a wild animal with my mother screaming and yelling at the television.

    I am proud to say that I go to Hofstra University and friends and professors that I know were deeply involved with the planning of this Presidential Debate. I wish I was around for when they had the extra tickets I would have snatched one up in a heartbeat! Hopefully Hofstra University will be picked again for the next Presidential Debates in 4 years.

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  7. Kerri Sheehan

    The debate was such a rewarding experience to me. I was a student volunteer and got to work with many news outlets as well as assist in the Media Filing Center. Seeing everything behind the scenes was awesome. Also when there were last minute tickets left I was one of the lucky student volunteers to receive one.

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  8. Anand Patel

    Being a part of the debate was probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I took more than 1,000 pictures of the entire process. I was running back and forth as a campaign aide for Obama which was a reward in and of itself. I got to meet so many amazing and influential people who I never would have thought I would get to meet. Just being a part of and seeing what went into the debate was so amazing. It was indeed phenomenal that students were the main focus. The connections I made there, I hope, will help me in the future. I love experiencing new things and this is probably at the top of the list.

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  9. Taylor Albright

    Having the debate here was one of the coolest experiences I have been a part of. Yes, I agree with Kerri that it may have been aggravating at times with parking lots closed and extra security, but after all whats so bad about a little extra security? Also, when it became debate time, I was one of the lucky students who was able to be a part of all the action. I got chosen on the Monday before the debate and I was so excited. I do feel that being a part of this debate made me pay more attention to all of the things involved in this new election. Not only did I become more aware of that, waiting for a few hours leading up to the debate I was able to see how Hofstra transformed over the weeks leading up to the night. slowly I would see changes that would happen to the campus, but on the night of everything was all put together so well and the campus was raging with students filling the streets. It was such an amazing night to be a part of and I really hope Hofstra can host it a third time so that other students get to enjoy what I did.

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  10. Kevin Alexander Tamerler

    The debate was definitely an amazing experience, but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel again and again like this wasn’t democracy how I imagined it. It’s so easy to get caught up in the horse race of politics and the manipulation of public opinion, especially with at least 3 networks broadcasting it almost constantly, that it seems like the goal, even overtly, is to appear better at politics and not to have the best policies. It’s as though both campaigns and the media conceived the election as a sports season with every news cycle being one game, and at the end of the “season” on election day the campaigns would add up their wins and losses and that would determine the president. The debate coverage almost all took the form of this kind of “tactical” coverage. Pundits talked about whether Romney would attack Obama from the left or the right as though it were a football play, not like it was a question of the future of the country. While I agree that the horse race is compelling and fun to consider, with the polling svengali and the West Wing or Game Change-styled “campaign operative” mercenary professional being tropes that are lovingly trotted out in fiction again and again; we also need to consider these things in less political terms, and more in ethical ones. In the midst of four thousand discussions of whether Obama successfully convinced the American people of his credit for the Bin Laden raid, there was no discussion of whether it was the right move to call for it in the first place. In the middle of the debate on the stimulus and how Obama sold it, maybe the question of whether or not it worked could have interupted at least briefly. So the debate experience was both enriching and frustrating for me.

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  11. Julie Rafatpanah

    The debate was truly an amazing experience for Hofstra University. Hopefully, it will result in raising up the Hofstra “brand” even more, result in more applicants, and more alumni donations. I feel like the debate was a great experience because all $4.5 million dollars were contributed by David S. Mack, rather than Hofstra itself. However, I’m happiest that the debate has spurred the university to pursue a $250 million dollar endowment to improve Hofstra even more. The debate wasn’t only fantastic for students to experience, but a great return on investment.

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  12. Joanna Soares

    I completely agree! As a first year here, I was so humbled and amazed at the excitement, honor, and pride that covered the school. It is beautiful that so much focus was put on including the students as much as possible in this process. It was something I will never forget and it was evident that the students matter here.

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  13. Kerry Kiddoo

    As a student, I loved having the debate here and was honored at how involved they made the student body. Sure the hype to the event was a bit aggravating with parking closures and as an athlete our locker room being taken away from us, but it was so cool on the actual day. THey had students being interviewed everywhere and were so involved, I had no idea so many got to help out and work the actual event! I think it was a great honor to have it at our school and I would hope they would continue this in the future.

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  14. Lauren Ciuzio

    I never really cared about politics, hearing people talk about it just stresses me out. However, this year I began to educate myself on the candidates and tried to care a little more, all because the debate came to Hofstra. I almost wish I had gotten involved on campus, but I felt I shouldn’t get involved in something I don’t really care about, or have a knowledge for.

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  15. Amanda Brennan

    I may not have won a ticket to the actual debate, and I deeply considered avoiding Hofstras campus at all costs being a commuter and all, but I figured “hey, senior year, why not.” I also have a secret route to get to and from classes minus the clutter of Hempstead Turnpike and the Meadowbrook. I arrived on campus expecting a bunch of men in business suites but I was so taken back by how much students were involved. I know some people who actually worked the debate but even the people going to voice their opinions and be a part of the madness was great to see. Hofstra really transformed itself and I was very happy that I made the decision to come to campus taht day.

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  16. Michelle Shelorke

    Although I did not get the chance to participate in debate events through the school, I luckily was given the opportunity to help out the day prior to the debate with my internship, Zimmerman/Edelson, who is the PR firm for Hofstra. I arrived at Hofstra at 4am on that Monday and witnessed CBS, News12 and Pix11 do live shots about the debate. Our campus was buzzing with students and media and it gave me another (huge) reason to be a proud Hofstra student. I have always loved this campus and it was amazing to see so many students willing to donate time to prove how great our school is to the world. We assisted with making the media feel welcome and comfortable and we had so much to offer that left Hofstra’s impression to the world an incredible one. It also made me feel more involved in politics because a few years ago, it did not hold my interest. Being on this campus the day before and day of the debates taught me the importance of staying connected and informed on what is going on around me. It was such an exciting experience and I love Hofstra for giving us all that opportunity.

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  17. Caitlyn Hutchison

    The Hofstra debate was definitely an incredible experience and opportunity. Not only were there swarms of media and the president on our campus. But, there were countless ways for students to get involved, not only professionally, but also around campus. There was never a dull moment in the day, there was always something to do, see, or get involved in. It was a great experience. The pride was definitely contagious on campus as well. It was great to see everyone proudly representing Hofstra. Every time Hofstra was mentioned on air the school would just seem to burst out in cheers, it was fantastic.

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  18. Rebecca Wolfe

    I think it’s really great that so many Hofstra students got involved and that you feel proud about your involvement! Good job!

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  19. Spencer MacDonald

    The debate was an amazing experience! I’m so grateful to Hofstra for my debate ticket. It was such a last minute surprise. I’m also really grateful to the Obama campaign for reaching out to Hofstra students so well and allowing us to meet many key politicians and campaign advisors such as Jim Messina and David Axelrod. Spin Alley was almost as exciting as the debate when my friends and I got to meet some of our political heroes like Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and current Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. It was a crazy amount of fun and it’s saddening to think that might have been a once in a lifetime experience.

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  20. Hillary Alexandre

    Although I was not on campus for the debate, it was pretty exciting to know that the President would be at my school. I took pride in telling people that the debate was held at MY school. It was fun to tell people about the random secret service that was spotted around the school. I was told about the student involvement like my friend who put her blue painted democratic hand print on dorm entrance window. I thought to myself “Wow, what a great way to be a part of history”.

    Hopefully this is not the last time Hofstra hosts a presidential debate. It’s a great experience for students.

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  21. Lauren Someck

    I think it was such a great honor to be a student at Hofstra Univeristy during this election and debate. It was such a cool experience seeing how the campus literally transformed over night. I actually don’t spend much time at Hofstra other than classes but i took alot of pride in telling people that the debate was being held at my school. I think it was fantastic that Hofstra made sure that students would be involved in the debate from weeks prior and during the chaotic day. Students in my classes told me they actually got to drive around journalists and news anchors in golf carts that day getting to know them, asking questions and just hanging out. Not only is it a great opportunity for us students, but at the same time it providing GREAT PR for Hofstra University. The public is seeing how involved students are and how united a school we are during the debate. In addition, I knew a bunch of kids that got accepted from the raffle and they all had great stories to share about their day. It was really cool to keep hearing Hofstra University all over the news before and after the debate took place!

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  22. Yasmeen Saleh

    Agreed! My favorite part about hosting the debate is that for one day no one around the world asked me, “oh you study at Hofstra? Where is that?” and receiving “YOUR UNIVERSITY IS HOSTING THE DEBATE??” messages from friends and family back home. I’ve had so much “Hofstra Pride” from the first day I stepped onto campus and as a soon to be alumni I can say it has only made it a much stronger feeling.

    Plus it was pretty cool finally experiencing the debate this time around as I remember seeing the last debate in 2008 on television across the world wondering if I should apply to Hofstra or not.

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  23. Stephen Steglik

    I honestly cannot put into words how thrilling and appreciative I am of Hofstra University for giving me personally the opportunity to witness history, let alone be in the same room as the President and the Governor. The whole day was insanely busy for me and I honestly enjoyed every minute of the insanity! I met people from around the country who run our government and make our system work, from both sides of the political spectrum. It was great seeing you there Professor and I think my joy and disbelief of what was going on around me was present! Hofstra hosting the debate opened the door for me in many ways personally and professionally. Not a bad thing about the day honestly. I was proud of my fellow students, faculty and my President’s performance that night! Definitely a moment in time I will never forget! -Stephen J. Steglik

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  24. Kristin Mancuso

    Although I was at an off-campus internship for the majority of the debate day, the liveliness and school-spirit that I returned to was outstanding. Everywhere I looked, there were proud Hofstra students walking around and being interviewed by news stations around the world. Although I was not selected for the debate lottery, I still was excited and honored that Hofstra was given this opportunity for the second time. This success of the debate was evident as I had friends and family members, most of whom I haven spoken to in months, ask me if I was at the debate and if I enjoyed the media buzz around campus.

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  25. brittanywalsh

    I was one of the lucky students who won and ticket and witnessed the Presidential debate first hand. In the six hour waiting period I had a lot of time to observe everything that was going on around me leading up to the actual debate. I noticed that the campus really came alive that day. Its seems like every single person on campus got involved in one way or another. I think Hofstra’s enthusiasm was evident to reporters, politicians, protestors and everyone else who took part in this historical event at Hofstra University. The excitement surrounding the presidential debate at Hofstra has instilled a love for politics in me and I am very grateful that I’ve gotten that opportunity.

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  26. jsuare4

    I think it would have been a great experience to have been one of the 500 students to receive the special email to attend this event, unfortunately I wasn’t so lucky.

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  27. Casey Madsen

    Having the debate here at Hofstra was an absolutely amazing experience! How could you not be PROUD to be a Hofstra student? There are so many awesome things about this campus I am not surprised that we got the debate twice. As you said, there were so many students involved, and everyone was willing to help in any way they could. I wish I could’ve been more involved!

    It was really cool to see President Rabinowitz on television before the debate started. The familiar places and faces on television was probably one of the coolest parts. The media time hasn’t even stopped at they showed Hofstra on SNL this past week. This was definitely an experience that none of us will be able to forget.

    Hopefully we’ll get the debate another round in 2016!

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  28. Jenny Rowe

    I definitely agree, this was an incredible opportunity for Hofstra students to experience. I had the chance to work with the Commission on Presidential Debates behind the scenes on the debate and then actually watch the debate live, which was easily the coolest experience I’ve ever had. That being said, even if I didn’t get the opportunity I did, the atmosphere on campus that day was special in itself and I would be proud to say I was a student at Hofstra University during the second 2012 presidential debate.

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  29. jackiezupo

    I agree Hofstra did a really great job about making the debate about the students. There were so many great ways for us to feel like we were apart of the debate even if we didn’t get selected to be at the debate hall. You could feel the pride and excitement spread throughout campus for the past few weeks. I think having the debate at our school has cause most of the Hofstra students to become more politically aware and care more about this upcoming election. I think this is great because for most of the students this will be our first election where we are eligible to vote. I think this will set a great tone for our involvement in future elections.

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  30. Jon Fisco

    Having the debate at Hofstra was definitely an awesome thing and will be something i will remember for a long long time. My favorite part if it all was going down to DC to visit my girlfriend and having her friends from Texas, California, Venezuela, and many other places all know about Hofstra and even where it’s located. Besides all the great things the debate did for Hofstra it’s nice to tell people not from Long Island where I go to school and not have them say “…where?”

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  31. Jenny Zheng

    Watching the news coverage of this event was interesting. I had so many friends text me saying that they were watching the news and that they were jealous that the debate was here. As if four years ago wasn’t big enough, this year, the actual President of the United States was on campus. Hofstra got great publicity for hosting the debate, and apparently, applications from prospective students are up. The whole day brought us all together and made us proud to be students of Hofstra.

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  32. Nicole Risell

    I’ve never been into politics, but all the excitement on campus and the fact the President of the United States was somewhere in my vicinity encouraged me to watch the debate, which I actually enjoyed! Hofstra did a great job of including everyone on campus and encouraging students to get involved. Even though I didn’t volunteer or get to watch the debate live, I still felt like part of the whole debate experience on campus.

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  33. Leia Schultz

    I recognized and really appreciated how much effort went into Hofstra’s hosing the debate and making sure that the student experience was a priority for the administration and debate planners. I was volunteer positioned in the Media Filing Center at the CPD Media Desk. I reported directly to an awesome woman from the CPD and I learned so much about the behind-the-scenes processes that occur to put on a presidential debate. It was an amazing experience, and I was one of the lucky volunteers who ended up getting a ticket to fill an empty seat!

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  34. Rachel

    I was not a volunteer, nor was I selected to be in the debate hall, though i entered the lottery. STill, the excitement and energy on campus was electric, students couldn’t help but get involved in some way or another. Myself and friends gave interviews and were asked questions both before and after the debate, in regards to how the debate answers affected peoples views on the issues and the candidates. It’s exciting to think how much publicity Hofstra got from hosting the debate , not once, but twice. I feel as though my diploma will be more notable now when i graduate and could open the doors for job oppportunities.

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  35. Chloe Lambros

    Unfortunately I was not one of the lucky students who was randomly selected to go to the debate, but I had a very cool experience of my own. I was in the gym earlier that day and when I was in one of the workout rooms I saw a line-up of secret service. In addition, I also had the three U.S. choppers fly right over me and I got to see them land. To me, that is more to be seen than most of what the volunteers got to.

    I think that it was such a wonderful honor for Hofstra to host the debate for the second time and it definitely is great publicity. There has been a shift from it being know as “The Presidential Debate” to the “Hofstra PresidentiaI Debate”. I think the name “Hofstra Presidential Debate” will definitely continue to grow and be used, as we discussed in PR105. I am greatful and fortunate to attened this institution where history will forever be known.

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  36. passportstories

    I was a volunteer and took a class with Melissa Connolly, VP for University Relations, so I was given an incredible amount of information regarding the event. I am still trying to replay all that happened in those short few days because it feels like a dream since it happened so fast after so much preparation and anticipation. By holding this debate at Hofstra, the students really were given a once in a lifetime opportunity that almost everyone took advantage of. Last week was the first time I have really felt unified and connected with my peers at Hofstra, which really rekindled my love for the school.

    -Molly Sestak

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  37. Bert Cunningham

    Student involvement in a range of activities before and during debate day was fantastic. From the Media Filing Center to Issue Alley to the MSNBC broadcast booth to the Public Platform and to the many viewing locations around campus it was a fantastic experience for all involved. And cudos to the Hofstra administration, staff, donors and volunteers who made the highly successful event possible. It was a very, very special life experience.

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