There’s something about adults in suits loitering around a college campus that just stands out.
And whether they are media professionals or the rumored U.S. Secret Service agents invading Hofstra University in the day leading up to the second 2012 presidential debate, the students can’t help but be amazed by all the buzz.
“There are a lot of people in suits with earbuds in their ears that just wouldn’t normally be here,” said Lucas Gallardo, a senior from Lexington, Mass. “It’s a pretty crazy experience.”
Gallardo was spending the pre-debate day at the student center with members of his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, which, like many other campus groups and individual students, were riding on the political high.
Tau Kappa Epsilon was selling $5 rubber bracelets for the national organization “We the People,” which donates all the proceeds to the federal government to be used toward the national debt; the sorority Sigma Delta Tau was selling patriotic cupcakes; and the Washington, D.C.-based groups “Fix the Debt” and “The Can Kicks Back” also set up shop to spread student awareness about the national debt.
“What’s been so cool for us is that students not normally involved in politics got the bug,” said senior David Zuniga, a political science major recently named the Long Island Regional Chairman for the New York Federation of College Republicans. “Everyone has been bit by it and taking part, and for us politicos, that’s really good to see.”
Zuniga said political- and issue-oriented events have been well attended around campus recently, and students are starting to express more of a partisan opinion in the month leading up to the election. He said one of the most exciting aspects of the pre-debate was all the media attention — both on campus and about it.
“One of the coolest things, I thought, was at the end of the vice presidential debate,” when they announced the following debate would be at Hofstra University, he said. “It’s like, ‘Wow, that’s my school.’”
Adding to the excitement on Monday was the fact that students were still receiving word that they had been invited into the debate.
Allison Roye, of Huntington, a Hofstra sophomore who turns 19 on election day, found out she was invited to the debate via email on Monday morning while she was in class.
“I felt my phone buzz and I peaked over and in big letters it said, ‘You’re going to the debate,’” she said. “I was shaking I was so excited. I went out in the hall to call my mom.”
Roye said she is interested in politics but is going into the debate and the November election with an open mind.
“I’ve very open minded because I think that is the greatest thing about politics and our country,” she said. “That’s why I’m so excited to be at the debate because it’s an experience not many people get.”