Students gathered in Friley Hall on Sunday to watch the second presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The Debate watch party was hosted by Friley Hall staff, the campus engagement organization, the Ames League of Women Voters and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center. The event also was part of a study done across multiple universities where students were encouraged to live tweet the debate using #ComDebate2. They also filled out a survey post-debate.
But tweeting was not the only way students showed their interest during the event. Students showed their reactions through laugher and jeers whenever an interesting topic was discussed. When Trump brought up Clinton’s emails, the crowd let out an “ooh!”
Multiple organizations, including the Story County Democratic Party, were also present at the watch party in an effort to register voters.
Both candidates entered the debate facing scandals that could hurt their chances of becoming president. Trump has received a lot of media attention recently because of the uncovering of audio recordings in which he talked about groping women among other things many are calling sexist and demeaning.
“I think that I have always been ashamed that that’s the language that has been used,” said Megan Koppenhafer, senior in environmental science.
Many students like Koppenhafer seem to be disappointed in the language being used in the election. One student, however, thinks a lot of the controversy may be overblown.
“I kind of took it as him being a billionaire playboy," said Benjamin Whittington, freshman in political science and supporter of Trump. "That’s the world he lived in. It’s in the context of him being a billionaire … it does matter, but at the same time, it was 11 years ago.”
Although it may not have garnered as much controversy as Trump’s audio recordings, Clinton did not enter the debate on a clean slate.
During the primaries, Clinton came under fire for not releasing the transcripts of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and other financial firms, which took place behind closed doors. The transcripts of those speeches recently became available on the website WikiLeaks.
“It’s about time we get some transparency,” Whittington said.
Like many other students, Whittington also believed the seriousness of these statements was overblown.
Students in the room seemed to favor Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. At a discussion after the event, all but one student thought Clinton won the debate.
“I think they both did pretty well, although Hillary Clinton probably won,” said Anthony Sillman, freshman in biology.
At the discussion after the event, students willing to stick around were encouraged to discuss the debate. Students shared their feelings on topics from who they thought won the debate to whether they thought the debate was well moderated.