Carnegie Mellon University
September 25, 2020

New Student Coalition Drives Civic Engagement

CMU Votes will host debate watch parties online throughout presidential election

By Michael Henninger

Jason Maderer
  • Marketing and Communications
  • 412-268-1151

Before COVID-19, multiple student organizations at Carnegie Mellon University followed the U.S. presidential primaries, viewing them through the lens of the issues they cared about most. Groups like the Roosevelt Institute and Sustainable Earth hosted debate watch parties with food, games and good company to spur discussion and help students decide how to complete their ballots.

 As those student organizations became aware of each others' watch parties, they started combining efforts and drawing larger audiences. Those groups have announced a new coalition called CMU Votes, which, in light of the pandemic, will host online debate watch parties throughout the 2020 presidential election, starting Sept. 29.

 Jacob Feldgoise, chapter co-president for the Roosevelt Institute, one of the founding organizations of CMU Votes and a senior majoring in policy and management; science, technology and public policy; and minoring in Chinese, said he hopes this is a new and fun way for students to engage in the election process.

"Right now, it's not possible to do a lot of traditional civic engagement activities," Feldgoise said. "It's not the most responsible thing to get a bunch of people together to go knock on doors for a candidate during the pandemic. Hopefully these watch parties will bring something unique to the table." 

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