The night of October 4th was a hectic one. Student volunteers, politicians, journalists, reporters, photographers, news networks, secret service agents and more crowded into the campus at Longwood University for the first and only U.S. Vice Presidential Debate. A night that had been prepared for since late 2015, the enthusiasm for the event was apparent from all those in attendance.
Longwood senior Lindsey Negron was one of the few students selected at random to attend the debate, and expressed how grateful she was for the opportunity to be a part of history . “I am nervous because I don’t know to expect, but I am also excited because this is a once in a life time experience,” said Negron before she entered Willett Hall.
Lindsey, along with close to 600 in the debate hall and millions more watching across the nation, were witness to Republican Nominee Mike Pence and Democratic Nominee Tim Kaine sparring over the temperament of their running mates, each candidate’s inability to create a solid plan to handle ISIS and, of course, taxes and emails.
The atmosphere of the debate was surprisingly similar to the Presidential debate a week earlier, but with one glaring difference. Tim Kaine took Donald Trump’s place as the aggressor, constantly interrupting both Pence and moderator Elaine Quijano, and although Pence stayed more subdued than his opponent, he glossed over several accusations made by Kaine about Donald Trump without attempting to defend them.
The VP debate seemingly put the campaign in a strange place. The first debate went exactly how it was expected, however what happened in Farmville, VA on October 4th was maybe more shocking to the American people than anything Trump or Clinton has done or said in a long time.
The days leading up to the debate have been filled with fun memories and historic moments. All of these memories and moments have been captured by media outlets with representatives all over campus. From local media to national media.
Three big names on campus are CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Each one started broadcasting live on Oct. 4 at various times in the morning and will carry through the day. They have been on the look out for the positive energy that the students have to offer.
Among the crowd of students standing on Wheeler Mall in front of CNN, junior Sydney Hughes was front and center waiting for her chance to be on television.
“I think all of the media outlets here on campus is just a wonderful platform for Longwood,” stated Hughes, ” All eyes are on us, so I think it’s a great opportunity for us.”
Along with current students here on campus, Rachel Faughnan, a Longwood Alumna, was standing in front of CNN taking in the experience.
“It’s been really interesting seeing everyone come together and form a tight-nit community and being very supportive of the campus emerging in this political debate,” said Faughnan.
Deep into the first Presidential Debate on September 26th, both candidates were asked to defend the changes they wished to make to the American tax system. Although the conversation began by addressing Trump’s plan for large corporations to receive money they have been denied from overseas investments, the discussion quickly turned to his negligence in releasing his federal tax returns, which he attributed to a 15 year auditing marathon being performed on him by the IRS.
However, in the days following the debate, media outlets such as the New York Times and Fortune published reports based upon a leak that provided Trump’s tax records since 1995, and while the Trump campaign accosted that the documents were obtained illegally, they did not dispute their contents, which suggested that he could have avoided paying taxes to the IRS for the better part of 20 years.
Enter Aaron Black, the representative and spokesperson for this duck. Black and his waterfowl associate felt that Trump was “ducking” that which is required of him as an American citizen, and felt that having a duck hold the sign was an effective way to get their voices heard. “We’re just out here trying to have fun…we’re dealing with a serious situation but I think often times people are…too damn serious.”
“It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity…” said Longwood University student Taylor Hogg, after winning a ticket to the U.S. Vice Presidential debate in a drawing on the night of October 2nd. Taylor was one of 101 students selected at random from a pool of 800 to attend the debate, and expressed how shocked that she was when she heard her name called. “That was actually my name! I actually won a ticket!”.
Although the drawing was originally intended for only 100, Longwood President W . Taylor Reveley IV gave up his spot in the debate hall, offering his ticket to one more lucky student as Reveley and Longwood SGA President Dillon Yonker drew the names while students waited for a performance by pop group MKTO.
Although the Vice Presidential Debate was still two days away, students were already excited for what was to come, with most of them still wearing their Longwood Debate shirts from the time they Volunteered earlier in the day.
Although the air around Hofstra University was very tense and political in nature on September 26th, the school also offered lighthearted activities for students to engage in before the debate. But, when the event began, everyone watched, and everyone listened. Hillary Clinton effectively proved that she had the will to take on her opponent, even after Trump accused her of “not having the stamina to be president”. However, Donald proved that he could stay on attack mode at all times…just as expected.
Brenda Estrella is a transplant. Originally from New York, the political landscape in DC has become very apparent to her through everyday conversation. “You get to talk a lot about it in the bars…” said Estrella. “DC tends to be a very liberal city, so it tends to be diatribes against Trump.” Estrella sees the American political system as one of ebb and flow, saying that these moments act as “a natural resolution of the past…” and that “politics feel as if they’ve been going towards a logical endpoint…which feels like now.”
Allison Frayer is originally from Upstate Ney York but now lives in Washington D.C. and when asked about the upcoming elections felt very strongly about what she believed in. Allison loves the atmosphere of D.C. around this time due to the political climate. She stated that “it’s an exciting time to be here because of the people, and how everybody follows along with the current news cycles and events”. Allison also believes that living in D.C. has activated the political part of her mind over the last ten years so when asked by other people what her opinions were, she would know what she was talking about, instead of feeling like an “idiot”.