College Debate 2016 launched at Dominican

About 130 students from colleges and universities throughout the United States arrived at Dominican University of California's College Debate 2016 on June 1 as delegates to lead a national conversation around the key issues that resonate with younger voters.

College Debate 2016 is a first-of-its-kind initiative created by Dominican to provide college students from throughout the country a platform to discuss and debate the complex issues facing our country. Dominican is a Voter Education Partner for the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Delegates attended a two-day planning and training session on the Dominican campus in San Rafael, California, to organize issue-focused events and outreach on their home campuses. The programming will focus on promoting civil discourse, understanding responsible digital citizenry, and avoiding stereotypes and assumptions while focusing on the issues rather than party politics.

The June schedule included:

•    Julie Winokur on June 1 presented her film Bring it to the Table in Guzman Lecture Hall. Following the screening, she talked with the delegates about bridging political divides, examining assumptions, and engaging in civil discourse to help move our democracy forward.

•    Bring it to the Table Table Talks. Broken into smaller groups, the delegates will learn how to ask open questions, listen well to others, and reflect upon their own attitudes and behaviors.  The students will be encouraged to speak their minds openly and authentically while learning how to communicate better, especially with those with opposing views.

•    Dr. Sybril Brown, a Professor of Journalism at Belmont University, led the delegates in a discussion on Digital Citizenship. Dr. Brown’s research focuses on innovation, civility, and digital media. She spoke in Guzman Lecture Hall on June 2.

•    California Secretary of State Alex Padilla addressed delegates on June 2 at noon in Guzman Lecture Hall about getting involved in the political process.

•    PBS The Open Mind host Alexander Heffner led a panel discussion focused on student activism in Guzman Lecture Hall on June 2. Heffner helped the delegates develop strategies and events – both online and on-campus – designed to engage peers in conversations focused on the issues that resonate with younger voters.

•    Issues rooms with on Immigration, Next Generation on Climate Change, Brigade, and Vois on Technology and Apple Education. Delegates visited issues rooms in Guzman Hall in breakout sessions on June 2 in order to meet with experts to discuss in depth the topics of importance to the delegates.

Using #CollegeDebate16 as an identifying tag on social media platforms, delegates will begin to engage each other and their networks. Following the June meeting, they will participate in online meet-ups, webinars, and other technology-mediated tools to expand the conversation.

Delegates will return to Dominican in September for a moderated town hall meeting, which will be live-streamed to campuses across the country. During the town hall, the students will agree on the key issues - and very specific questions - for the presidential candidates to address. These questions will be presented to the moderators of the 2016 presidential debates.

For more information about College Debate 2016, visit or email [email protected] 

Follow College Debate 2016 on:

Facebook: collegedebate16/?fref=ts
Twitter: collegedebate16
Instagram: collegedebate16/


Media contacts: Sarah Gardner, [email protected], 415-485-3239, or Dave Albee, [email protected], 415-257-1308.


May 27, 2016