LMU invested heavily in advertisements for the Democratic Debate, including branded banners. While the publicity about the debate was successful in creating student political engagement, the DNC missed an opportunity to directly address some student issues

It's not often that your university hosts a debate for the potential next president of the U.S., but I'm glad it was the case last December when LMU hosted the sixth DNC presidential debate.

All in all, the debate served as an excellent opportunity for the students who attended, both before and during the debate, to learn important skills and lessons to carry on into the 2020 election.

Some students served as stand-ins for tech rehearsals. There was also a plethora of content drafted in the lead-up to the debate, including a video of LMU students reciting important quotes about democracy and political commentary from LMU professors.

Looking toward the University's student media, the Election 2020 (E2020) team for the Loyolan received press passes and access to the media centers and spin room set up in Burns Recreation Center. This allowed Loyolan journalists, including myself, to create a hotspot for recent news updates about the debate.

The high-stakes atmosphere of the media center was a huge motivating factor in keeping up with all the other reports and what the Internet was buzzing about, particularly during several infamous moments of the debate (most notably the fights about Mayor Buttigieg's wine cave donations). We live-reported many of those moments, from Sen. Sanders's (I-VT) fights with the moderators over race to Yang highlighting of that he was the only non-white candidate on stage that Thursday night.

Being able to work in a professional environment alongside other journalists from so many different outlets, from print media to digital video to radio and television, was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

So much of E2020's chats and interviews with the journalists we met involved a mutual appreciation for the work put into making sure that the information about these debates was communicated fairly, objectively and with a strong understanding of readership.

"For the journalism students out there, I was a journalism student ... It's fun to be in the midst of this and in an election year, so make the best of it ... It can help springboard your career," Tomi Lahren, a conservative pundit for Fox News and Fox Nation, told the Loyolan.

For us at the Loyolan, this debate was ultimately about giving LMU students the opportunity to look at the issues affecting our political discourse head on. For many students, this will be our first general election, so what we heard needed to be relevant.

Unfortunately, there was still a lot missing from said discourse on debate night that needed to be said, especially considering the stage was at a university. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) was the only one to repeatedly mention the topic of student loan debt, and debate topics like the safety and security for DACAmented students at LMU, as proposed by debate moderator Amna Nawaz, were dropped almost immediately.

However, what's great about our generation is that we're constantly tuned into the news of the day. Whatever we don't hear from the candidates' mouths we can still find online, in print or elsewhere.

"Take everything into account. Look at it hard [and] make your own decisions based on what you see," Jim Wilson, a New York Times photographer at the debate, told the Loyolan. "You can do your own research — there's plenty of opportunities for that. So I would just say go out there and watch what the candidates say and make up your own mind."

Now that the California primary and the rest of the 2020 primary election is closer than ever, LMU students, even those who couldn't attend the December debate, need to take advantage of every opportunity available to get involved. Above all else, get educated about what's going on in your community and country.

This is the opinion of Cristobal Spielmann, a sophomore environmental science major from Brentwood, Tennessee. Tweet comments @LALoyolan or email

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