#DemDebate 2015

National exposure, a photogenic bulldog, prospective students, pancakes and all three Democratic candidates for president on stage — the Nov. 14 #DemDebate brought all that and more to Drake University’s campus. Miss anything? Look below.

Politics and Pancakes

The day began with Student Senate hosting Politics and Pancakes, a combination of a pair of two Drake-student staples: political involvement and free breakfast food. While enjoying their pancakes, students could participate in a straw poll or simply soak up some of that sweet, sweet media attention.

Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, stopped by about halfway through the event to speak, previewing that evening’s debate and urging students to get involved in the political process early like she did. She wasn’t the only big-name guest, though…


Drake’s new live mascot, Griff, ran a long day of campaigning before and during the debate. With his dad handing out “Vote Griff” buttons, there was no shortage of support on campus. His day started at Politics and Pancakes, but he also made appearances in front of Old Main, at the spin room and inside the media filing center. It was a long day, but his well-documented exploits earned him the ultimate indicator of Des Moines fame: a Raygun T-shirt.


Prospective students pose for a photo in front of the #DemDebate stage on Nov. 14, mere hours before the debate began. Photo by Austin Cannon.

School of opportunity

The morning of debate day was also an opportunity for Drake to impress some politically inclined prospective students. Around 25 of them were treated to an impressive morning. It started with a quick bite to eat at Politics and Pancakes. Then they were shepherded across campus to get a look at the debate stage in Sheslow Auditorium. The tour finished with stops at the spin room at Cartwright Hall and the media filing center. A panel featuring eight political science students and alumni capped the busy morning. It made one thing obvious: If you’re looking for a university with an active political scene, it’s difficult to beat Drake.

Watch parties

Sadly, not everyone was able to be in the audience for the debate, but there were still several places on campus for students to watch.

Student Senate and Sidewire hosted a watch party in Harvey Ingham Hall. The Hillary Clinton campaign had its watch party in the Olmsted Center. Clinton herself even stopped by the event after the debate. The ICP’s Haley Barbour attended.

The Bernie Sanders campaign also held a watch party, just off campus at the Varsity Theatre. Cornel West, one of the U.S.’s most respected public intellectuals and a Sanders supporter, was a featured guest.

One more thing…

In case you’re interested, here’s the debate stage in Sheslow Auditorium being built in 83 seconds: