Higher Education partners with College Debate 2016

Some of the country’s leading associations and organizations representing a broad cross-section of colleges, universities, and higher education interests have partnered with Dominican University of California on a national initiative to engage young voters in the presidential election.

As a Voter Education Partner for the Commission on Presidential Debates, Dominican is leading a technology and social media initiative to catalyze discussions among young voters across the country about the issues that matter most to them. The culminating event for College Debate 2016, the 2016 College Convention, will be held on the Dominican campus in September. At the convention, students will identify their key issues and prepare a memo to the presidential debate moderators suggesting questions to be addressed during the debates.

The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), The American Democracy Project, The Corella and Bertran F. Bonner Foundation, Bringing Theory to Practice, Campus Compact, Imagining America, The Institute for Democracy and Higher Education at Tufts University, NASPA, Project Pericles, and The Washington Center have joined as College Debate 2016 partners.

The higher education partners are reaching out to their network of member institutions to encourage student participation in College Debate 2016, as well as rallying campuses around College Convention activities.

Dominican has accepted applications from about 140 students from across the United States to serve as College Debate 2016 Delegates. Selected students will meet on the Dominican campus June 1-3 to discuss organizing events on their campuses and using social media to expand the discussions. Delegates will return to Dominican in September for the 2016 College Convention. The Convention will feature a Town Hall discussion to be live streamed to delegates’ colleges and universities.

Dominican sought students from a wide range of public and private colleges and universities and community colleges in order to gain a national network of student delegates representing a wide diversity of backgrounds so as to truly reflect the changing demographics of the country.

To date, more than 40 institutions, including Case Western, Community College of Philadelphia, Jacksonville State University, Lynn University, Paul Quinn College, University of Puget Sound, Stanford University, Wagner College, and Wake Forest University, have committed to sending a delegate to the June convening and September convention. About 140 delegates are expected to participate in College Debate 2016.

On the technology side, Dominican’s partners include Brigade, Voispot, and the Social Media Analytics and Command Center (SMACC) at Illinois State University. They will help expand the delegates’ networks, facilitate communication across delegates, produce issues-based content, as well as collect, analyze, and distribute data outlining the issues trending with younger voters. In September, the student delegates will draw on this information to identify key issues for presidential candidates to address during the debates.

In addition, Generation Citizen, a national nonprofit working to increase civic engagement among high school students, is involving high school students in both the training and the convention.


February 25, 2016