Willamette Debate Watch

Our Debate Watch program brings together community members to view political debates, discuss public issues, and build civic engagement.

As students study the relationship between communication and democracy, they transform knowledge into action by leading community discussions about current issues. 

In fall 2016, Civic Communication and Media students led Willamette Debate Watch events during the three televised US Presidential Debates. These events drew more than 800 participants  to view the debates and participate in student-led small group discussions. In addition, students developed and implemented strategies for robust social media engagement during and after the debates, connecting with journalists, scholars, civic leaders, alumni, as well as students at more than 25 campuses across the United States. 

Professor Cindy Koenig Richards created Willamette Debate Watch in 2012. She teaches courses linked with this experiential learning program, including The Public Sphere (CCM 361) and the Networked Publics Lab. Our 2016 Debate Watch events were supported by the Civic Communication and Media department and the Willamette Debate Union. 

Willamette Debate Watch in the news:

USA Today, “We Asked College Newspaper Editors for Reactions to the first Clinton-Trump Debate. Here’s What they Told Us.” 

Statesman Journal, p. A1, “Locals Gathered to Watch Debate Showdown.”

Willamette Magazine, “Willamette Students Respond to 2016 Debates.”

Bearcat Bulletin, “Students Assess This Year’s Unusual Election Through Debate Event.”