Hofstra University Hosts the Presidential Debate: First Thoughts

It’s not often someone can say her school hosted a presidential debate. It’s even less likely that someone can say she volunteered and worked behind he scenes at a presidential debate. Well, I am lucky enough to say both are true.


In the spring of 2016 Hofstra University learned it would be an alternate to host the first 2016 presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Although the Hofstra staff and students were saddened Hofstra did not win the ticket to host the debate, we could not complain because Hofstra was lucky enough to host a debate in the previous two elections. Then, in late July, Vice President of University Relations Melissa Connolly received the call of all calls: the university set to host the first debate dropped, and now Hofstra would have the honor. I mentioned months ago that Connolly was in Italy with my study abroad program when she got the news, and had to quickly rush home to begin the planning of a debate that one usually has about a year for which to prepare. Hofstra only had two months.

Of course, the fact that Hofstra hosted a presidential debate in the last two elections gave us an advantage that helped us scramble it all together in such a short timeframe. After countless hours of phone calls, meetings, conferences, emails and organizing thousands of people and millions of dollars, the week of the first presidential debate rolled about and it was crunch time.

David S. Mack Sports Complex

It seemed as if Hofstra went from its normal self to a full-blown movie set in a matter of days. The David S. Mack Sports Complex began its transformation to media row as the school year began, with an outside stage for reporters being built. Banners were hung about a week before the debate and extra cameras, spotlights and wires were soon placed around campus. Then, MSNBC, CNN and Fox began building their stages, and before we knew it, everything was set and the debate was here.

There are no words to describe the amount of work that University Relations and Hofstra took on to roll out the first presidential debate of 2016. From the first day we knew we were hosting it to the last, nothing but excitement (and an overload of stress for the planners) filled the air, and the energy on campus was booming. It was a once in a lifetime experience for sure, and I am thankful I got to partake in the making of history.


MTV Video Music Awards 2016: FAQs

Almost two weeks have passed since I experienced the most insane show of my life: the MTV 2016 Video Music Awards. I have been asked a decent amount of questions about my dream night, so I thought it would be beneficial to address them here for any other curious readers.


How was it?

Obviously it was AMAZING. It was different than I expected, though. On television, the award show looks like an ongoing party. In reality, as I said in my previous post, it is a constant rotation of performances, awards and seemingly never-ending commercial breaks. However, I saw some of the most iconic people in the industry and performances of the top songs from the year. Nothing will ever beat that.

How did you get tickets?

I went to a taping of MTV’s Joking Off and there was a raffle at the end. I rarely win anything, but somehow I was lucky enough to spare a pair of tickets.

How did you get to go to the taping of Joking Off?

I get my show tickets through an incredible website called 1iota. I highly recommend using this site to retrieve tickets to show tapings and special events in the largest cities in America.

Where were your seats?

Well, I did not actually have seats. I was in the pit section, which is the section of animated fans going crazy, jumping and dancing around the stage. I was about five feet from the stage. Yes, it was magical.

Before the celebs arrived

Was it crowded?

I felt like a sardine.

How did you pick an outfit to wear?

Of course, this was not easy. 1iota gives some guidelines and even included a few pictures of sample outfits. I actually bought a cute skirt and crop top hook-up, but I thought it would be too fancy to wear in a pool of random, sweaty people. Then, I was going to wear an outfit I already owned. Finally, I decided on my sister’s old homecoming dress. I saw it and it just seemed perfect for the event. I made sure to wear comfy shoes, as I knew it would be a long night. My mom had the perfect pair of sandal wedges that were stylish and comfy.


Did you meet any celebrities?

I wish! However, I made awkward eye contact with Mac Miller (who was looking very cozy with Ariana Grande all night).

Do you have any more questions regarding my night? Let me know!


MTV Video Music Awards 2016: First Thoughts

For those of you who do not know, the VMAs has been dubbed as the “superbowl for pop music” and may be one of the most controversial award shows out there (flashback to Miley Cyrus’ 2013 performance with Robin Thicke). I was lucky enough to attend the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


I have always dreamed of going to an award show and being in a pool of celebrities, and I cannot believe it actually happened. I also always wondered what occurred behind the scenes, so here are a few things I noted to myself during the show:

  1. Where are the celebs at?

Part 1: Obviously there were celebrities, but it seemed like this year was less star-studded than usual. There was no Taylor, Selena, Justin, Adele, Sia or other huge names and nominated people that one would expect to be present.

Part 2: The celebrities arrive extremely last minute, and seats were still being filled as the show started!

  1. Small Stage

I am always so amazed about how small television sets are because on camera, everything looks so much larger. The stage was quite tiny in person, and when I watched some of the show afterwards and really paid attention, I noticed its size. The power of getting the right angle is real!

  1. Filmed for T.V.

Speaking of cameras, the show is definitely taped for television. The whole night was a rotation of performances, awards and long commercial breaks. I can see why some celebrities may get bored of award shows.

  1. Awards

Speaking of awards, there are so few awards actually given out on stage, it is shocking. Why would you need awards at an award show, anyway?

  1. Mix and Mingle

Celebrities were changing seats, conversing and taking pictures during every commercial break. They also got served beverages.

  1. Hands in the Air

If you have ever seen the VMAs, you probably noticed that the pit section, which is the section surrounding the stage, is filled with dancing fans during performances. The VMAs actually had people yelling at the audience to look more lively during the acts. It is easy to have fun during a performance, but it is a bit awkward waving your hands against the beat of a slow song!

These are just a few of the many things I noticed during the incredible concert, I mean award show. Thank you MTV for allowing me to feel like a celebrity for a night!