Wright State University. JIM WITMER / STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer
Photo: Jim Witmer

Wright State plans debate “launch event” for March 1

Wright State University plans to hold a “launch event” on March 1 that will kick off activities on and around campus leading up to the September presidential debate at the Nutter Center.

Events leading up to the Sept. 26 debate — the first of three featuring candidates for president — will include a film festival, debate watch parties, debate-related curricula and ticket giveaways.

“We want to make sure this is a civics lesson,” Wright State President David Hopkins said Monday during a briefing of 30 elected officials and 60 community leaders about the university’s debate preparations.

“Our goal is to bring the world to this region,” Hopkins said, according to a WSU news release. “There will be a lot of opportunity to showcase our communities, showcase Ohio and really show them what we’re all about in this great region.”

Hopkins told attendees at the Nutter Center that the university is seeking sponsorships in order to raise private money to host the debate. Last month the university told its trustees that the debate may cost up to $8 million, up from the previous projection of $3 million to $5 million.

Wright State officials have said as many as 3,000 hotel rooms in the region have already been booked for the debate.

In addition, WSU announced that C-SPAN will broadcast a half-hour special on Wright State and the Dayton region prior to the debate.

Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick was one local leaders to listen to Hopkins’ update.

“The fact that the future president of the United States is going to be at this debate is just incredible for our region,” he said. “We’re very proud, we’re very excited and appreciate all of the work Wright State has done to make this possible.”

Hopkins said the school is looking for volunteers. He said there will be a need for staff assistants, media assistants, transportation guides, welcoming personnel and others.

“There is a place for everyone to be part of the volunteer team,” he said.

To inquire about volunteering, send an email to: debate.volunteer@wright.edu.