Illinois State’s SMACC joins College Debate 2016

Illinois State University School of Communication’s new Social Media Analytics and Command Center (SMACC), has joined the growing list of partners working with Dominican University of California to present College Debate 2016.

College Debate 2016 will culminate with the 2016 College Convention in September on Dominican’s campus in San Rafael, California.

As a Voter Education Partner for the Commission on Presidential Debates, Dominican is leading an initiative to use technology and social media to engage college students in the Presidential Debates and election, focusing on the issues, not the candidates.

Dominican has accepted applications from about 140 students across the country  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 engaging with other students via a variety of social media platforms.

Throughout the spring and summer, College Debate 2016 Delegates will facilitate discussions with fellow students, both on their campuses and via social media, in order to encourage students to discuss issues rather than focus on partisan politics.

Delegates will return to Dominican in September for the 2016 College Convention. The Convention’s culminating event – a Town Hall – will be live streamed to delegates’ colleges and universities, which will be hosting viewing parties on each of their campuses. At the meeting, students will identify key issues for the presidential candidates to address during the debates.  These issues will be suggested to the moderators of the Presidential Debates.

SMACC will play an integral role in helping to facilitate a nationwide conversation among youth on issues that matter to them. SMACC will utilize social media network analysis to help delegates communicate and showcase links and common values.  It will enable students to use data to identify key issues they want the candidates to address during the Presidential Debates. SMACC also will provide real-time analysis of the conversation for each Debate. Students will be able to use SMACC to:

•    Follow the social conversation about the election, identify themes of interest, and potentially identify differences/similarities based on geography.
•    Encourage broader civic engagement by identifying issues that students are concerned with—and identify how they talk about those issues via social media.
•    Analyze the issues-focused events happening on campuses in order to help identify top issues. This can be done via keyword searches as well as by geography.
•    Follow and identify all top keywords, hashtags, and issues that arise during the initiative.

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February 18, 2016