While millions of people viewed the presidential debate at Hofstra University on television,hundreds of the school’s alumni gathered on campus for viewings complete with their own debates about politics and the impact of debates themselves.
In addition to viewing parties for students, Hofstra held viewing receptions for alumni in its library,the Guthart Cultural Theater and the John Cranford Adams Playhouse.
The school used Tuesday’s debate as a way to reach out to alumni,keeping them connected and,ideally,proud of their alma mater.
“In each of these settings, we had faculty from different departments leading discussions and Q&A’s with people before and after the debate,” said Bob Saltzman, Hofstra’s executive director for alumni affairs. “It gave our alumni chance to be part of American history.”
Rob Basso, a Hofstra alumni and president of Freeport-based Advantage Payroll Services, watched with about 70 alumni in a room with two large flat-screen TVs and one drop-down projector screen. The room was decorated with Debate 2012 paraphernalia,including banners, T-shirts,mugs and a goodie bag alumni were given upon leaving the special viewing.
“I appreciated being among the invited few to attend such a prestigious and historic event,” Basso told LIBN. “It gave me a great sense of pride in having my alma mater host this presidential debate here on Long Island and I am pleased that Hofstra University is now a part of American political history.”
He said a mediator led a conversation prior to the debate, focusing on issues the alumni hoped to hear from the candidates. After the debate, they discussed whether candidates touched on those points. Basso said alumni wanted to hear about Immigration, energy policies and small business.
“The general consensus was that all the issues we wanted addressed were tackled during the debate,” Basso said.
He added that the general reaction afterwards was that it was “a good, feisty debate but it would have been better served without the personal and negative attacks.”
While candidates may fundraise around their performance at the debate, Hofstra is using the event as part of its own efforts to boost its profile and lay the groundwork for additional fundraising.
“From my perspective as the alumni director, it’s great that former students want to come back and be part of it as well,” Saltzman said.”This was a chance for people to come and be part of the Hofstra family.We hope alumni are going to want to feel proud to be part of a school with a growing national reputation.”
Read the full article by Claude Solnik at Libn.