Democratic Presidential Debate Brings Unique Opportunities to UM-Flint Students

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UM-Flint Student Tyler McKinley Joyce
UM-Flint Student Tyler McKinley Joyce

For about 60 UM-Flint students, the Democratic presidential debate activities on campus gave them an opportunity to see the national political stage up close with hands-on experience.

The  Democratic presidential debate takes place today, March 6, 2016, at the Whiting Auditorium in Flint, MI.  But CNN started broadcasting live from the Frances Willson Thompson Library on Friday, March 4, and hundreds of media outlets are covering the debate from the UM-Flint Recreation Center. The facility has been converted into a “Spin Room” where about 500 journalists will file their stories and hear from campaign officials. The spin room is only open to media credentialed through the Democratic National Committee.

The size of the event and the number of media and campaign personnel means a unique opportunity for UM-Flint students as they have been called upon to volunteer for various roles.

Ashley West, a sophomore Honors Program Communication/Media Studies student is ecstatic about the opportunity.

“I think it is something that really will stand out on a resume. It will give me a better outlook of what people are doing in the media and the different responsibilities that they have,” West said earlier in the week. “It will just be a really great learning opportunity for me.”

West is eager to be a positive representative of her school and the city.

“This is an opportunity for us to act as ambassadors for the university and to reflect Flint in a much more positive light than what it’s used to.”

She hopes her helpful attitude and hard work will leave the media personnel with a good impression and the knowledge that they can call on UM-Flint in the future. UM-Flint students from a variety of majors including Political Science, Theatre, and Psychology will join her in volunteering.

Tyler McKinley Joyce, a sophomore majoring in Criminal Justice, helped set up equipment at the Recreation Center Saturday, March 5,  for one of the support companies. Joyce works at the recreation center, so the setting wasn’t new to him. But seeing the facility transformed into a large-scale media outlet left him impressed, and pleased to see Flint get attention.

“It is really remarkable,” having such a massive event on campus, he said, with media from around the globe focused on Flint.

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