When the Democratic National Committee selected Loyola Marymount University’s Gersten Pavilion as the venue for the sixth Democratic presidential candidates’ debate on Dec. 19, 2019, LMU students from across the university jumped at the chance to get involved as volunteers and be a part of history.
Students from CFA certainly made a big splash during the event; the Consort Singers from the Music department sang “America the Beautiful” to the rapt audience, and Zachary Birdsall, a junior music major, kicked off the debate with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem. Following the debate, the VIP afterparty featured an in-the-moment mural by the artistic collective Curbside, comprised of studio arts students Jacob Johanson, Jack Alving and Bobby Sutton. And a number of student volunteers from across LMU volunteered as candidate and moderator stand-ins for two days of rehearsals. All students who volunteered were able to stay and watch the debate.
“Being able to contribute to such an important national event like the debate was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had,” said Eric Renna, a sophomore theatre arts major who acted as a stand-in for candidate Andrew Yang. “I was ecstatic to help the Democratic Party in any way I could, and I’ll never forget being on set and meeting some of the presidential candidates. I’ve never been prouder to be a student of Loyola Marymount University.”
As a leading intellectual center, LMU values diversity, a principle expressed through varying viewpoints. Our educational environment is enriched by a free exchange of ideas as LMU seeks to model a culture of inclusivity, honoring multiple perspectives and championing civil discourse, which is often missing in the current political climate.
Above is a selection of images featuring LMU students at the debate.