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University Of Denver Buzzing For First Presidential Debate Of The Season

Nandini Ruparel |
October 2, 2012 | 6:28 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

(Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy).
(Dawn Megli/Neon Tommy).
The University of Denver in Colorado is bursting with political activity as preparations for the first presidential debate of the season are underway.

"Students are so excited," said Sam Estenson, who is the student body president at the University of Denver. "It's the first ever in Colorado history. We're being recognized as a state as a very important location for candidates to visit, it's been incredible."

The university has hosted around 100 events throughout the year leading up to debate, which involved the students and the community around the campus. The students who attended these events will receive more chances in a lottery that will determine which students can attend the debate. Previous events have included lectures, enrichment courses, and big names in the public policy field like Condeleezza Rice. 

"This can expose our students to an opportunity they would have not had otherwise," said Jordan Ames, the Internal Communication & Special Projects Coordinator at University of Denver. "There's media all over the campus here. We're actually making history here, and it's great that our students are getting involved."

The student government has been preparing a debate fest for those who cannot be present at the actual debate, which will have a little more than 100 students present.

"We found out last fall that we would be hosting," said Estenson. "We're hosting a debate fest viewing party on campus with about 5,000 people, with food trucks and the main speech in jumbo-trons."

As far as the debate itself goes, the university has been making preparations for about a year. 

"Logistically, this has been a huge undertaking," said Ames. "There are 3,000 journalists, and [we have to] make accommodations for what they need."

The first debate will be moderated by Jim Lehrer, who is the executive editor of PBS Newshour and will not be open to questions from the audience. The debate will also be focused on domestic policy, which will also include issues that affect students.

"The economy is a really big [issue]," said Estenson. "Students are spending four-plus years on this education, when we graduate, we want jobs. it's a swing state, too, so health care is big here, immigration is a pretty big one."

UD students have also become politically active in light of the debate.

"Many students are taking more time now that we have more international attention," said Estenson. "They latch on and dig deep into the issues, really figuring out which candidate is best for their vote."


Reach Staff Reporter Nandini Ruparel here.



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