A student-led initiative at the University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, is seeking to land a presidential debate on campus grounds in 2016. The group must submit an application meeting a list of guidelines which will be released this January from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD). Typically the CPD is concerned with logistical challenges such as providing space for the media as well as accommodations and parking, to name a few.


Report from the Cavalier Daily:

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates selects four sites to hold the debates — three for presidential candidates and one for vice presidential candidates. In recent history, these debates have been held at colleges and universities.

Darden student Travis Nixon, a founding Commission member, said he believes the University’s history and close proximity to the nation’s capital would make it an ideal debate location.

“U.Va. would be the perfect place to host an event like this,” Nixon said. “The atmosphere here, I believe, would be very conducive to forwarding the political process of America.”

Though the exact cost of bringing the event to Grounds is unknown, Nixon said there would be a significant return on investment.

“There would be a tremendous economic benefit to U.Va. in general and to Charlottesville as well,” Nixon said. “A lot of the key [benefits] in hosting one of these events is the exposure the school gets and the jobs that are created in the town around the school.”

Currently, the group is entirely student run. Meetings have been set up with the University President’s office, where the Commission will determine how much involvement administration is willing to volunteer to pursue the initiative.

Many schools and universities around the country will be starting a similar quest to land one of the four coveted debates which inevitably brings in great publicity for the host institution. As previously noted, universities are uniquely qualified to hold these debates because often the costs are offset by alumni associations.