FAIRBORN — The first presidential debate prior to the election will take place at Wright State University in Fairborn Monday, Sept. 26 and locals will face opportunities to get involved as the event approaches.
The City of Fairborn highlighted the debate during a citizens forum Monday, April 25, which invited Ryan Rushing of Wright State University to share his insight.
“If we do it right — if Wright State University, Fairborn, Greene County, Montgomery County and the entire Miami Valley comes together and is a terrific host for the first presidential debate, we will bring this debate back in 2020, in 2024, in 2028,” Rushing said. “[We can] put Wright State on the map as the debate sight for Ohio … We can repeat this entire process every four years.”
Volunteer opportunities will surface as the debate draws nearer and may include hosting watch parties and serving on a welcome committees. Emailing [email protected], including contact information and special skills that would be useful in the act of volunteering, is the first step individuals can take in getting involved.
The Commission on Presidential Debates will be responsible for vetting volunteers. The City of Fairborn will additionally host volunteer opportunities, but is currently working toward establishing a contact point for such.
“There’s lots of different things and ways people can volunteer, whether its at the [Wright State University] Nutter Center or at a watch party,” Fairborn Mayor Dan Kirkpatrick said. “We’re going to need a lot of volunteers and we want Fairborn to take the lead because [the debate] is in Fairborn.”
Wright State University President David Hopkins expressed in the past that the college is committed to giving all of its tickets to students. Officials said they would be selected through a lottery process after being fully vetted. Rushing said tickets will be limited to the public due to security.
The Commission on Presidential Debates is expected to take over the Nutter Center so that it may secure the area to its standards. The debate is expected to attract thousands of media members, who will be permitted to cover the event from the McLin Gym within the Nutter Center while the candidates face off on the arena floor. Journalists may arrive to the area seven-to-10 days prior to the debate.
Fairborn officials and Wright State is working together to develop welcome pamphlets that highlight the area. In preparation for the debate, the city will host a community-wide clean-up day Saturday, Sept. 10.
“This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Rushing said. “But this is how Wright State is looking at it: it’s a first in a lifetime opportunity.”