A first-of-its-kind, student-led initiative called College Debate 2016 (CD2016) is underway to turn up the volume on student conversations about the presidential election. The Dominican University project is intended to compel millennials across America to vote in November by engaging them in respectful conversations about what issues are important to them.
Cadet James Durant
Cadet James Durant, a junior from The Citadel, is helping represent the state of South Carolina as one of the student delegates who are from 150 colleges and all 50 states. The group first met in June to share ideas, and will reconvene September 7 on the Dominican University campus in California to examine issues.
The criminal justice major from Kinston, North Carolina is one of three students from colleges in South Carolina that are participating. Durant says he was eager to become involved when he learned that the initiative is non-partisan in nature, centered-on engaging young voters rather than supporting specific candidates.
“College Debate 16 is an important initiative to me because of the emphasis placed on empowering young, college-age voters to exercise their right to vote,” Durant said. “We want our peers to understand that voting allows us to express our concerns on the issues that affect not just us as a generation, but as a country as a whole.”
Durant and the other delegates are using a combination of social media and face to face interactions with their campus peers to identify what issues they will discuss at the September CD16 assembly. The delegates will vote on the top five, and those issues will then be provided to the moderators of the presidential debates, an action CD16 organizers say is unprecedented and will bring millennial matters directly to the candidates.
The four scheduled debates are as follows:
September 26 – Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York
October 4 – Longwood University, Farmville, Virginia (Vice-presidential debate)
October 9 – Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
October 19 – University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
For more information, visit College Debate 2016 at collegedebate16.org or Dominican University at dominican.edu.