Debate season opens

Groups collaborate to provide programs on the campaign, the debate and politics

The Washington University in St. Louis community has a long history of civic engagement through volunteering, service-learning, public service internships and political student groups. As the host of the 2008 Vice Presidential Debate, this dedication to citizenship and democracy is even more pronounced.

This fall, a host of programs, projects and panels have been developed by the V.P. Debate Program Planning Committee, in collaboration with other groups on campus, to engage students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends and neighbors in the electoral process. Registering to vote, seeking new knowledge and exchanging opinions about political and social issues are just a few ways to do so.

Student Union, Campus Life and the Gephardt Institute for Public Service also have combined resources to support additional student-led programming related to the election year. Undergraduate and graduate student groups may apply for small grants to cover program expenses such as rentals, publicity, supplies, refreshments, speaker honoraria, etc. The funding may fully cover program costs or be supplemented by other sources. Collaborative proposals are encouraged.

Proposals will be accepted through November. For more information, e-mail

For questions regarding programming or additions to the calendar, contact programming co-chairs Robin Hattori at or Brittany Perez at

The following list is a compilation of events that have been planned. As more activities are developed, they will be added to online lists. Most events listed are free and open to the public, although some may be geared specifically to WUSTL students and faculty.

All events below are also listed on the following Web sites:

Assembly Series,; Gephardt Institute for Public Service,; Graduate and Professional Council,; Student Union,; and the Vice Presidential Debate,

Sept. 8

Using Nuclear Power Panel Discussion. 6 p.m., Danforth University Center, Room 276. Discussing this important topic are Hiroshima survivor Yoshiko Kajimoto and WUSTL faculty members, including Clare Palmer, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and of environmental studies, both in Arts & Sciences; Leila Sadat, J.D., the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law; Lori Watt, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and of International and Area Studies, both in Arts & Sciences; and James Wertsch Ph.D., the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences and director of the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. Presented by the Office of International and Area Studies and the Heisei Japan Club.

Sept. 10

Mo Rocca. “Making it Up as I Go Along: Satire in an Absurd World.” 4 p.m., Graham Chapel. Enjoy the political satirist’s take on this year’s election. Presented by the Assembly Series. (Note: Seating will be limited for the public. Doors open at 3 p.m.)

Sept. 11

Take A Stand Rally. 11 a.m., Danforth University Center NE Courtyard. Funding is available for action or advocacy groups to share their cause in a creative way. For information contact Presented by V.P. Debate Program Planning Committee

Sept. 15

“Make It Clear” multimedia competition begins. Students can begin preparing five-minute presentations as if they were given a one-on-one conversation with the next President of the United States. Write, describe, express or otherwise show in a multimedia format what you would say or what would happen. Cash prizes awarded. Submit entries to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by noon Oct. 1. More details can be found at Presented by V.P. Debate Committee and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Sept. 16

Constitution Day Trivia Challenge: Saint Louis University vs. Washington University. 6 p.m., Danforth University Center Rooms 233 & 234. Enjoy refreshments while testing your knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. A joint presentation of the College Democrats, College Republicans, the School of Law and the Gephardt Institute for Public Service.

Sept. 17

Elizabeth Kolbert. “Field Notes from a Catastrophe.” 4 p.m. Graham Chapel. Kolbert’s book on global climate change has been chosen for the freshman class to read and discuss. Presented by Assembly Series and Freshman Reading Program.

Sept. 18

Voter Registration/Change of Address Drive. All day at 10 locations throughout campus. Presented by Gephardt Institute for Public Service.

Sept. 22

Why Vote? 6 p.m. Lab Sciences Room 300. Featuring Jeff Smith, lecturer in political science in Arts & Sciences and Missouri State Senator; Scott Rupp, Missouri State Senator; Denise Lieberman, lecturer in political science in Arts & Sciences; and former Rock The Vote president Jehmu Greene as panelists. Presented by College Democrats/Congress of the South 40/ Gephardt Institute for Public Service.

Sept. 23

Public Service Fair. 3 p.m. Location to be determined. Find the right service project for you among the countless possibilities available. Presented by Community Service Office and Gephardt Institute for Public Service.

Sept. 24

Steven Fazzari, Ph.D. “The U.S. Economy in the Consumer Age.” 4 p.m. Graham Chapel. Fazzari, professor of economics in Arts & Sciences, presents the history behind the present economic slowdown and how it will affect the country. Presented by Assembly Series.

Sept. 24

Why Should I Care Who the Vice President Is? 7 p.m. Danforth University Center. Vice presidential expert Joel Goldstein provides an overview of the role of the “Veep” and answers your questions. Presented by WU Political Review/WUnderground/V.P. Debate Program Planning Committee

Oct. 1

The Power and Problems of the Vice Presidency Panel Discussion. 7:30 p.m. Brown Hall Room 118. Three experts come together for a discussion: Joel Goldstein, Douglas Kriner, and Michael Nelson. (Reservations are required: Presented by Weidenbaum Center Forum.

Oct. 2

Vice Presidential Debate at Washington University. 8 p.m. (Note: Only persons with current, valid WUSTL ID can access the Danforth Campus.)

Vice Presidential Debate Watch & Panel Discussion for Community. 7:30 p.m. 560 Music Center. This event is open to the public; reservations required by calling 935-5752 or contact

Red vs. Blue. 9:30 p.m. Graham Chapel. Post-debate program sponsored by Congress of the South 40/Student Union.

Oct. 8

Student Debate Competition. Noon, Danforth University Center Commons. Topic: Is Our Country Ready For a Black President? Presented by V.P. Debate Program Planning Committee.

Oct. 15

Student Debate Competition. Noon, Danforth University Center Commons. Topic: Should the Drinking Age Be Lowered to 18? Presented by V.P. Debate Program Planning Committee.

Oct. 22

Student Debate Competition. Noon, Danforth University Center Commons. Topic: To be announced. Presented by V.P. Debate Program Planning Committee.

Oct. 23

Carl Bernstein: “Public Ethics: The Responsibilities of Elected Officials.” 4 p.m. Graham Chapel. The famous investigative journalist will discuss the need for ethical governance and a free press to ensure it. Presented by the Assembly Series.

Nov. 4

Election Day. Shuttles will be available to area polling sites. Visit for more information. Presented by Student Union/Gephardt Institute for Public Service

Election Day Viewing Party. 7 p.m. Danforth University Center. Join friends to watch Election Night coverage. Presented by Student Union

Ongoing project

Artistic Installations relating to Election Year. Funding is available for students to create installations or artistic expressions with political or election themes. Visit for details. Presented by V.P. Debate Program Planning Committee and Art School Council.