We thought you would enjoy this post from one of our most involved (and just plain fantastic!) students, Gergana Kostadinova. Read about her experience at the 1st Presidential Debate of 2012, held just a few weeks ago at DU.
Attending the Presidential Debate at the University of Denver was an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When a friend texted me on Monday morning to let me know that my name had been called during the student lottery drawing, I was beyond ecstatic! I spent the rest of the day checking my email every 5 minutes until I received an official email notifying me that I had indeed been selected.
I promptly confirmed my intention to attend and excitedly awaited Wednesday afternoon. In the meantime, I tried to maintain my focus on academic requirements of the week, but the excitement of attending the Presidential Debate was pretty overwhelming, especially when I found out that I had been referred to various media sources to speak regarding my experience leading up to and following the Debate.
It is hard for me to believe that the Presidential Debate took place on campus nearly a month ago. Every time I walk into Magness Arena I think back to what the entire experience was like, and it is still a bit hard for me to believe that I was able to participate in such a unique opportunity. As I sit in the student section at hockey games, I am constantly reminded of what it was like to sit in that same student section, but observing an entirely different type of event. Rather than cheering for the Pioneers, I was secretly cheering on one of the candidates (but not audibly, of course, since Jim Lehrer instructed the audience not to make any noise during the Debate itself). During my last four years at the University of Denver, I have been able to participate in some great events and listen to tremendous speakers on campus, but nothing quite compares to the Presidential Debate. The atmosphere on campus leading up to the Debate was incredible, as staff, faculty, and students spent months preparing for all the activities that took place.
Whether watching the Debate in person, or at the DebateFest and viewing party on campus, DU students were listening very closely to what the candidates were saying. That sparked a variety of discussions following the Debate, and I also think it motivated students to watch the following Presidential Debates and Vice-Presidential Debate as well. I think this has been especially true for undergraduate students who are voting for the first time this year, since they had the opportunity to participate in such a unique part of the political process. Given the current political climate in the United States, it has been interesting to observe how it has influenced our own campus and what students are doing to become involved in the Presidential Election process. For some students, that involves putting up political posters in their residence hall rooms, or sporting buttons on their backpacks or proudly decorating their laptops with stickers in support for one of the candidates. Other students have gone a step further by volunteering or interning for local campaign offices and recruiting other DU students to help during phone banks or canvassing events.
Regardless of their involvement, it has been my impression that most students are excited about the Presidential Election, and I believe that this sentiment has been amplified by hosting the Presidential Debate on campus. I can also say pretty confidently that at the very least, everyone is looking forward to November 7th for one common reason, regardless of their political affiliation: the end of political ads on TV, the internet, Pandora stations, etc!
This is the second time that I am casting a vote for a Presidential candidate, and I hope that the excitement I experienced this time and in 2008 will carry on every time I cast a vote, whether for local, state, or national elections. I will always remember exactly where I was when I voted for the very first time, and I will always remember my experience in attending the first Presidential Debate at the University of Denver on October 3rd, 2012. That date will forever be etched into my memory, and the entire experience will remain incomparable.