Behind the Curtains of the First Presidential Debate

On September 26, 2016, Hofstra University had the privilege of hosting a third consecutive presidential debate. With just two months to prepare, the university had a lot to do and very little time to do it. That’s where I came in. I was one of the lucky 300 students chosen to assist in this monumental, historic event. I was allowed to see both sides of the coin, something very few people could see. Most watched the debate on their couches at home, thinking little of what went on to make it all happen. I had the ability to be apart of the action, then watch it all unfold on screen.

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I was selected to work as a social media and communications volunteer. This meant creating and sharing all the debate-related content on campus and essentially screaming the #hofdebate16 hashtag from the rooftops. I had the pleasure of starting conversations, telling stories, and compiling it all into bitesize social media postings. Some moments I would report live using Facebook Live or Periscope, while other moments were spent interviewing and photographing students. I had free reign to use the platform of my choice and to tell my stories in any way I pleased. To see all the incredible captured content, search #hofdebate16 on any major social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat.)

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In a sense, I was very lucky because my job was made easy with all the buzz and excitement going on around campus. With CNN, MSNBC and Fox constantly broadcasting live, radio stations airing from left to right, and reporters offering to interview anyone willing to share a story, everyone could get their 15 minutes of fame (and believe me, they did.)

After working four long, incredible days, debate night had finally arrived. I was stationed in the media filing center along with the outlet reporters who were there to listen, take notes, fact check, and prepare post-debate discussions and articles. In a room full of over 700 people, the drop of a pin would have been heard. Once the debate went live, no one wanted to miss a single word.

Once the debate had ended, the media filing center was converted into spin alley; the place reporters could go to dish about debate drama and tell viewers like you why their favorite candidate won the evening. Donald Trump and Mark Cuban even made some appearances to snap a few photos and give a few soundbites.

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I am grateful for every second of this past week. I was interviewed by NBC, ABC, AP, Telemundo, Pix11, NY1, and TV3.cat and shared exactly what this presidential election means to me. I’ve come out of this experience with a lifetime of lessons and it has been one of the greatest adventures of my entire life.

Thanks for having me, #hofdebate16. I’m glad we could make history together.

 

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