Undergrads find a myriad of ways to get involved with debate activities

“This nation will not be more passionate, determined, and idealistic than its young people.”

CNN political contributor Van Jones made this poignant statement while speaking to the Washington University community earlier this month.

Young people at WashU are getting a healthy dose of political engagement this fall as they gear up for a night in the national spotlight, when the university hosts the October 9 presidential debate.

The staff of the Washington University Political Review (WUPR) – a student-run publication that covers politics of all sorts – is putting the finishing touches on its Election 2016 edition, due out in October. Writers have contributed a variety of content regarding national, state, and local races, plus articles about specific hot-button policy issues.

WUPR is also bringing in Ezra Klein, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Vox.com and one of the nation’s leading political journalists and commentators. Klein will give a keynote address next week, open to the entire university community, focusing on the election and the impact it might have on the American political landscape.

Also next week, an all-student debate between WashU’s College Republicans and College Democrats will be moderated by St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies.

Even student groups not typically centered around politics are joining the fun.

Spoon University, a student-run online food magazine, will host a weeklong food sampling event in early October featuring candidates’ favorite foods and/or traditional dishes from their native cities.

The Student Union and the Graduate Professional Council will present a DebateFair, a fun, interactive opportunity for students to engage in policy discussions, learn about issues, and respond to what is being said and learned. This event will take place the day of the debate – October 9 – and include food, music, and “general patriotic fun.”

Various campus groups will also host debate watch parties and post-debate dialogues.

And, of course, many students will have the opportunity to attend the debate itself in the Washington University Field House. All tickets given to the university have gone to students through a lottery.

Campus is abuzz with an energy that is hard to miss as this debate approaches. No wonder WashU is chosen time after time to host a debate – our professors are experts, and our students are active, passionate, and engaged.