MC Gathers to Watch the Last Presidential Debate

by MEGHAN SACKMAN, Staff Writer

On Wednesday Oct. 19, the third and final presidential debate for the 2016 election took place in Las Vegas.

While hundreds of Republicans and Democrats gathered in Nevada to watch the high stakes debate, the rest of America sat at the edge of their seats to see what would happen in this highly anticipated event.

Among these Americans were the students of the Government and Politics club along with many other interested Manhattan College students who gathered in the Kelly Commons to watch the historical event ensue.

The Office of Student Engagement worked with members of the Government Club to set up a space for students to communally experience the televised event. The set up included a large screen for the debate to be displayed, rows of chairs, as well as refreshments such as pizza and beverages.

Margaret Groarke, faculty advisor of MC’s Government and Politics Club, explained why it is important for students to experience such a controversial event together in communal setting.

“I think it’s a lot better to watch these things with other people and to be able to talk about them and think about what they mean together. I think that’s fun, more useful and less painful.”

Groarke also said that young people play an important role in the world of politics and that most of the students that attended the event will be voting for the first time ever this election.

“We’re working on an effort to get more people to vote this year. Recognizing that in the last presidential election 35 percent of Manhattan College students voted,” Groarke said.

“Issues of young people are not a big concern on the national stage because young people do not vote in the numbers that make politicians pay attention to them and I think raising that number increases that generation’s power.”

Hayley Herker is a member of the Government Club and would like to see people her age to be more involved in politics.

“I think it’s really important to keep students informed. The mission of our club is to defeat political apathy on campus.”

“I think [events like these] bring people together because we are all in the room watching it together and you can hear other people’s reactions…it’s where you can start the conversation,” Herkert said.

Herkert also said that millennials need to know that their vote does matter.

“The first presidential election you vote in is something you are always going to remember and our generation has the potential to determine who our next president will be.”

Some students that attended the event did not have as much of an appreciation for the atmosphere.

Jalah Jarvis, MC student, said that joining students with opposing views while watching the debate has the potential to create a divided space.

“Watching the debate with other people, especially with a different political view than your own, can make students rowdy. We start to pick on the candidates more,” Jarvis said.

“For a lot of students, this election has become more of a joke and people are not taking it as seriously as the past election cycles even though every election matters.”

Despite select criticisms, the Government Club said the viewing of the debate was a success.

At the end of the debate, those who attended were asked to fill out their opinions on the results of the debate.

Twenty people were surveyed and the results consisted of an overall vote of 85 percent saying that Hillary Clinton won the debate while 10 percent said Donald Trump won.

This debate, if nothing else, has proven that the fate of our country is in the hands of the voters, which can only be determined on November 8.