Hofstra University Hosts the Presidential Debate: Some Seriously Unserious Student Politics

The presidential debate brought some serious politics to Hofstra’s campus. Students took full advantage of the opportunity to express their views, as exemplified by the following photos.

  1. Krusty Krab is Unfair!


Probably the most popular sign spotted on campus, this sign is taken directly from a scene in Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants. It’s too bad Clinton nor Trump touched upon this issue.

2. Free Rick


Students are incredibly upset Rick Sanchez is behind bars. Maybe the next president can pardon this character from Cartoon Network’s Rick and Morty.

3. Make the Strip Great Again


The bars directly across the street from Hofstra, known as the “Hofstra Strip” are very special to students. Unfortunately, many have been shut down, therefore impacting Hofstra’s nightlife forever. This should be the number one thing on the public agenda.

4. Trump Did It


Behind the infamous “Krusty Krab is Unfair” poster is a sign that reads, “Trump did Harambe.” Well, at least they are not blaming Obama, for once.

5. We Only Need One Wall


On the serious side of signs, this was a popular hit around campus. Pink Floyd gave us the only wall we need. Sorry, not sorry, Trump.

Students were quite engaged on campus before and during the debate, in numerous ways. How they were engaged was up to them!


Hofstra University Hosts the Presidential Debate: Perspective of a Student Volunteer

Hofstra University made it a priority to get students as involved in the first presidential debate as possible. For days leading up to the event and after, volunteer students worked around the clock to make sure the night ran smoothly and was well documented. Journalism student, debate volunteer and CNN staff member Marisa Russell shared her volunteer experience during the historical day.

Marisa in front of what would become the debate stage

Whitmanythoughts: What was your experience like as a volunteer?

Marissa Russell: I was a media/communications volunteer and I worked under University Relations as a social media ambassador.My job was mostly to spread the word on social media, on my own accounts and to send in content to the Hofstra social media manager for the Hofstra University accounts as well. I also shared our hashtag, #HofDebate16 with students and encouraged them to post on social media and just tried to generate as much conversation on the different platforms as possible. My experience was awesome! I got to really use my social media skills to make sure social media platforms got as much traction as possible. I really enjoyed sharing techniques with other students and just having a conversation about a historic debate.

WMT: How did being a communications student influence you as a volunteer?

MR: Being a communications student directly impacted my ability to succeed in my volunteer position. With my knowledge of journalism and social media I was aware of what to post, when to post it and how, and I think it really helped me out. I was able to get a ton of posts on Snapchat and really capture all of the moments of the debate.

Marisa Russell with fellow volunteer Jordan Heiden (Photo: Jordan Heiden)

WMT: You worked for CNN a bit during the debate as well, could you tell me more about that?

MR: My role at CNN is Social TV intern, and much of my team was at the debate, helping out with social media and producing a ton of Facebook lives. I was able to help out around the “Camper” which is CNN’s #MyVote van, where people can take Instagram pictures and Facebook photos or do a Facebook live. It’s really awesome and they got a lot of interaction from students. So I was helping with that, explaining to students what it was and just making sure no one around needed anything. I also helped pick up different talent and people with CNN from the media parking lot and made sure they made it to where they needed to be and made sure they were comfortable. Overall, I was just responsible for making sure that anyone that needed help that was working with CNN, got the help that they needed.

WMT: What was your favorite thing about volunteering for the debate? What did you take away from the experience?

MR: My favorite thing was just being a part of the action and getting to take it all in during the process. You have no idea how much is going to happen until it’s literally happening and then you’re just starstruck by how huge and awesome of an event it is. I took away that so much goes into a huge historic event and the election cycle is crazy, exciting and always changing.

One of many large screens set up for the debate (Photo: Marisa Russell)

WMT: Was there anything about the behind-the-scenes work you didn’t expect or thought was interesting?

MR: I guess I didn’t really realize how much building and physical structures went into a debate this big. From the stages, to the standup platforms to the individual tables in the media filing center, literally everything had to be put together. I also thought it was really amazing how every single person at the university helped out, regardless of what their role at the school was.

From volunteering to working, Russell definitely received a unique and thrilling experience during the presidential debate.

Hofstra University Hosts the Presidential Debate: Campus on Debate Day

September 26, 2016 is a day that will be marked in history forever: it was the first debate of the 2016 elections between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. This day hits home for me because my school, Hofstra University, hosted it. If that is not historical enough, Hofstra is now the first university to ever host a debate in three consecutive election cycles.

Photo: Hofstra University

Hofstra’s campus seemed like a movie-set leading up to and during the debate, with equipment, extra security measures and people everywhere. As a student, I noticed these changes first hand and really got to take in everything going on around campus.

Themed Activities

 Hofstra planned an array of panels, discussions and performances leading up to debate day. For example, Larry Wilmore gave political comedy the Saturday before the debate and the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication hosted a panel of alumni covering the election. There were special tapings with the television networks as early as 4 a.m. so students could be on camera during the day and viewing parties at night. Hofstra made sure we were involved!

Larry Wilmore speaking at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse

People Everywhere

I have never seen Hofstra’s campus so crowded. It was packed with people building stages and setting up extra lights, cameras and other technology prior to the debate. However, on debate day, campus may as well have been a circus. There were engineers, technicians, media, volunteers, staff, vendors and so many more all there for the same reason.


 Rumor has it that the secret service was on campus weeks before the debate, which would not surprise me. There were extra cameras set up around campus a few days before the debate. During the weekend prior to the debate, Hofstra students were not allowed to have overnight guests, unless they were other Hofstra students. The day of the debate, you better have been a law enforcement official, or had your student or staff I.D. or credentials to get anywhere more than from a dorm to the student center. Roads were closed all around campus and entry ways were guarded and blocked.


How did people get on campus on debate day? You either needed to arrive on campus early in the morning before security amped up or park at Eisenhower park, which is right around the corner from campus. There was a shuttle bus provided for the media that ran between Eisenhower Park and Hofstra’s campus.

CNN’s stage in the parking lot of Hofstra University

The list of changes around campus could go on forever. However, the energy around campus and pride felt were by far the best things created by the presidential debate.