The debate teams from the University of Mary Washington and the University of Minnesota will jointly host a debate watch and dialogue session for the first presidential debate tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 29. The event will take place on Zoom and is open to students and the public. Registration is required.
The DebateWatch Initiative, part of the Commission on Presidential Debates, encourages individuals to watch a debate, turn it off at the end before commentary, and discuss what they have learned. The goal of the program is to engage with other citizens in civil dialogue to discuss what they gained from watching the debate.
Tomorrow night’s debate between President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will mark the first of three televised presidential debates. It will be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace.
“In our current context, a virtual debate watch is a unique opportunity to civically engage with others – both here and across the country – by sharing and listening to various views,” said Adrienne Brovero, director of both the UMW Debate Team and the UMW Speaking Center.
The debate will start at 9 p.m. EST, and participants will connect to the Zoom event about 30 minutes before for a brief introduction. Participants will use the chat function to share with each other during the debate, and there will periodically be questions thrown in to gauge audience opinions, Brovero said. She is co-organizing the event with David Cram Helwich, Director of Forensics at the University of Minnesota.
“These debates could prove decisive, and I am excited by the opportunity for our students to join their peers at UMW in participating in one of our nation’s most important political rituals: watching candidates perform under pressure side-by-side as they debate the future of our nation,” Dr. Cram Helwich said.
After the debate, participants will automatically be divided into breakout groups to discuss the debate. The post-debate discussions will be guided by a moderator and will focus on what participants learned.
Registration is available online. Registrants will be emailed a Zoom link before the Tuesday night debate.
The DebateWatch program was created by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) in 1996 as a voter education and civic engagement program. The 2020 CPD DebateWatch participants include nearly 200 schools and organizations across 45 states and three countries.
The University of Mary Washington Debate Team provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to enhance their educational experience by participating in a wide variety of activities including intercollegiate debate competitions and public debate exhibitions. Learn more about the UMW Debate Team online. Follow the team @UMWDebate on Twitter and Instagram, and at “University of Mary Washington Debate” on Facebook.