DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As the University of Dayton hosts the first gubernatorial debate, officials are hoping the event will encourage students and young people to make sure their voices are heard.
Production techs and cleaning crews were finishing up the final touches in the debate room at Daniel J. Curran Place, Wednesday afternoon, where democratic candidate Richard Cordray and republican candidate Mike DeWine are set to face off.
Anna Rose Redgate, a UD Junior and ambassador for the school’s Vote Everywhere campaign, says she hopes the big event will inspire students to get out and vote.
“We primarily focus on voter registration – that’s our main goal for the mid term election so we’re hoping that not only will this get students interested in what’s going on in Dayton, in Ohio, but just in the election overall – really spark that interest,” Redgate said.
“It’s so exciting and I think a lot of our students are really grasping how important this is and how big of a deal – you know, not every university or every student gets this opportunity.”
UD President Dr. Eric Spina says getting the debate on campus has been years in the making and it’s a very proud day for the school. But more than that, it’s a chance for students to get a little more engaged in what’s happening around them.
“For us, this isn’t about fame and glory. This is about being an important part of political discourse – something that our students can actually get involved with and see the value,” Spina said.
He said preparing for the big day took a lot of work.
“I wish we had six months, but we had a couple weeks; So we really had a lot of people work,” he said. “Really proud of folks across the university. You name a department and they’ve been involved in one way or another, getting the stage read, doing the preparation, ensuring security and so on.”
Spina said he’s confident the debate will go off without a hitch, as UD has had its fair share of big-name events.
“This is a university that has hosted former president Clinton, we do the first four every year for the NCAA, we’re used to hosting logistics involved with hosting complex events,” Spina said.
This will be the first of three debates between the candidates. They will debate again at Marietta College and Cleveland State University, in October.