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News & Stories: 2008-09

Students host debate parties
September 26, 2008

College students find excuses to congregate over pizza and pop. This Friday, the excuse is political.

Democracy Matters logoThe first of the 2008 presidential debates begins Friday at 9 p.m., and two student-run organizations will be hosting debate-watch parties that evening. The Calvin College Republicans will watch Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain on the four plasma screen TVs in the DeVos Communication Center study area as the presidential hopefuls hash out foreign policy.

Big projection, big decision

Democracy Now will also be watching the debates on a giant projector screen in the Meeter Center Lecture Hall Both. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

“It’s a chance to bring students together to engage politically,” said senior and chairman of the college Republicans Paul Gehm. “Students get to analyze their choices for this election.”

College Republicans logoThe Calvin Republicans coordinated their event through McCain Nation, a grassroots organization, which supports local political events by sending information packets, yard signs, bumper stickers and representatives. Gehm hopes that through this event, students will be encouraged to volunteer for McCain’s campaign at some capacity.

Swing voters wanted

He expects the event to be laid back but not lacking in commentary and discussion. Although it is a casual affair, Gehm recognizes the importance of this debate, explaining that the electorate considers foreign  policy to be one of the top three issues in this election.

“About 20 percent (of viewers) are independent voters, people who haven’t made up their mind,” he explained. “If you can pick up those voters, that’s great.”

College Republicans will gather again for the subsequent debates in the coming weeks.

~by Katie Landan, communications and marketing

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