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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

TXST organizations plan for presidential debate

TXST+organizations+plan+for+presidential+debate
Sarah Manning

The College Democrats and College Republicans of Texas State are gearing up to make the most out of the presidential debate coming to campus on Sept. 16.

To debate or not to debate is a question looming over this election season as presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden head toward the first of three presidential debates at the University Events Center.

However, the President of College Republicans Carly French and the President of College Democrats Jacob Graybill said whether or not the debate takes place, they want to engage students in what they refer to as an election that will shape the nation’s future.

“There have been conversations on if candidates will show up but remaining involved, tabling and spreading the word on elections and candidates is our goal,” French said.

As for debate day, Graybill said while they would like to get into the venue, the College Democrats’ focus is creating an environment on the main campus to get students excited for the debate.

According to Graybill, the College Democrats are partnering with the Hays County Democratic Party to launch a semester-long unified campaign on campus in the fall. The campaign would include tabling, hiring canvassers and registering voters.

“Regarding the debate, we think there are going to be other cabinet members coming [to Texas State] as well… We are going to be holding a huge watch party and we want to get a couple of the cabinet members there,” Graybill said.

For the College Republicans, French said her plans surrounding the debate aim to highlight Republican presence at Texas State. Those include collaborating with Student Involvement & Engagement to form a “debate day” committee with other student political organizations through which they will host events leading up to Sept. 16.

“We are also talking with the [Hays County Republican Party] to plan a flag waving down the streets of San Marcos on the day of the debate and leading up to it,” French said. “There will also be a watch party that we host for debate day.”

According to French and Graybill, the College Republicans and Democrats want to use their platforms to underscore key issues their parties champion, as these topics take center stage in the current electoral season.

“A big topic all of us care about right now is border security… fentanyl is also a huge issue for students so I hope those are topics addressed in the debate,” French said. “I also want to table and have a box where students put in the biggest issue they would like to see addressed.”

Graybill said for the College Democrats the issues they hope to highlight as key points of discussion in their upcoming events and campaigns are anti-abortion rights, Senate Bill 4 and the criminalization of marijuana.

French and Graybill recognize these topics can be contentious, so they said they are fostering a culture of constructive debate within their organizations to encourage the open discussion of differing views.

The College Democrats and College Republicans have their own goals for the 2024 debate but acknowledged it is an opportunity that will benefit the entire student body, according to Graybill and French.

“Although we have a separated campus partisan-wise, I hope the debate will show that we can all work together even though both parties stand firm in their own beliefs,” French said.

The university is working on different ways to involve students in the debate. One way is through volunteer opportunities, according to Vice President for Marketing and Communications Sandy Pantlik.

“I know [Student Involvement & Engagement] have done some focus groups on students and what they would want to see in the debate and they’re integrating those findings into the programming they’re working on,” Pantlik said.

For more information on Texas State’s plans for the presidential debate, visit its website.

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