Dominican wins gold for College Debate 2016

Dominican University’s College Debate 2016 (CD16) voter engagement initiative received a top honor during the 2016 Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) District VII Awards of Excellence, held last week in San Diego.

The CASE awards recognize educational institutions for outstanding work in communications, alumni relations, fundraising, and marketing. Dominican won a gold medal in the Strategic Communications category for “Public Relations, Media Relations, and Community Relations Projects.” Awards of Excellence winners are chosen based on the impact the campaign or program had on the institution or in the community.

As a voter education partner of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), Dominican created College Debate 16, a non-partisan, social media initiative designed to engage college students in the election and the Fall 2016 presidential debates. CD16 provided a platform aimed to inspire students to engage with each other in civil discourse and have meaningful conversation around political issues.

One hundred forty seven college students from 50 states and Washington, DC served as CD16 delegates. They came to Dominican in June for a convening that focused on civil discourse and online/digital citizenship. The delegates then engaged their peers, classmates, and friends through social media on the issues that mattered the most to them. The students returned to campus in early September for a Convention and Town Hall. The September program resulted in six questions that were forwarded to the moderators of the debates with hopes that the moderators might use one of the questions.

In its submission to CASE, Dominican detailed how CD16 served to highlight the University’s curricular approach - The Dominican Experience - while increasing University visibility. The Dominican Experience draws on Dominican’s institutional strengths to create a distinctive student experience that highlights signature work, academic excellence, mentoring, and community engagement.

CD16 attracted considerable media attention, resulting in 65 million media impressions from June through September. Outlets covering CD16 included Telemundo, Bay Area news stations CBS, NBC, ABC, and KQED, USA Today College, Inside Higher Education, Political Science Now, Red Alert Politics, The Huffington Post, and the Marin Independent Journal. Regional newspapers throughout the United States wrote about local students serving as CD16 delegates. ABC Digital carried a livestream of the September Town Hall, while MTV promoted the event on its college-focused digital channels and @MTVU directed its fans to the livestream. Analysis of public posts on the social media platforms of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram concluded that #collegedebate16 reached 1.78 million social media users.

Also recognized in the CASE Strategic Communications category were the University of California Davis (silver medal), Arizona State University (silver medal), and the University of California, Office of the President (bronze medal).


March 13, 2017