In This Section

Tips for Organizations, Schools, or Students

Each past participating group has found a unique way to contribute to DebateWatch. The obvious benefits of participating in DebateWatch are promoting civic and community participation within your group. In addition, DebateWatch can strengthen your organization by offering media opportunities, allowing you to involve members of your organization in a discussion of the election, and giving you a chance to share your reactions via the DebateWatch feedback form.


Media Outlets
Community-Based Efforts


  • Promote DebateWatch in your newsletters and membership mailings.
  • Link to DebateWatch from your website, and mention it in any membership emails. If your website has a chat area, encourage members to host online DebateWatches.
  • Let members know that by partnering with local media, they could gain publicity for their organization while encouraging civic participation.
  • If your association has an annual conference, offer a workshop on planning and hosting community DebateWatches.



  • Host DebateWatches in your place of business for your clients, customers, employees, suppliers, or shareholders.
  • Post information at your business that encourages members to host DebateWatches.
  • Forge a community partnership with local agencies, media, or government to promote and host DebateWatches.
  • Promote DebateWatch through in-house publications.
  • If you have overseas employees, offer DebateWatch as a way for them to feel involved in national issues.



  • Host a DebateWatch event for students at your library. Work with teachers or professors to encourage attendance and conduct a follow-up discussion about the issues presented.
  • Encourage library patrons to host DebateWatch events in their homes. Post a calendar of local and national debates near a display of information about the November elections and/or on the library’s Web site.
  • Prepare a list of resources about election issues and encourage patrons to inform themselves prior to each DebateWatch event.
  • Publicize each DebateWatch event through newsletters, campus newspapers, flyers, local media and the library’s Web site.
  • Maintain a community bulletin board on your computer system where people can discuss issues before and after each DebateWatch event. Publicize the bulletin board through your newsletter and flyers and signs throughout the library.
  • Keep teachers and faculty well informed on the election resources at your library and the dates of any upcoming debates.
  • Work with other nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations to co-host a DebateWatch event and ask a representative to moderate the discussion.


Media Outlets

  • Host local DebateWatches after one or all of the presidential and vice-presidential debates. Focus on the first debate if you are only planning to do one, and encourage community members to plan events for the subsequent debates.
  • Partner with other local media (TV, radio, newspapers) or area businesses (grocery stores, law firms, barbers shops).
  • Via editorials or on-air commentary, encourage people to host or attend DebateWatches. Challenge local businesses to take the lead with community-wide DebateWatches. Remind citizens of the benefits of making informed decisions while connecting with their community.
  • Merge DebateWatch into existing voter education drives.
  • Include listings of local DebateWatches in your community calendar.
  • Integrate DebateWatch into planned election coverage. Reporting on these events offers unfiltered citizen opinion and insight about the debates and policy issues.


Universities or Colleges

  • Throw a campus-wide DebateWatch party by viewing a debate on a large screen or multiple televisions. Then, break into smaller groups of 6-12 to talk about candidates and issues. Solicit local pizza places or restaurants to provide free food. Invite entertainment, like local bands, to play before the debates.
  • Get DebateWatch on the calendar of the student activities board.
  • Suggest to Greek organizations, athletic teams, or other campus groups that they choose
  • DebateWatch for their community service project.
  • Involve student government in organizing and promoting DebateWatches.
  • Plan “town-gown” DebateWatches that get students and the community together at senior centers, hotels, the local library, or on campus.
  • Promote the project in faculty and alumni publications.
  • Encourage professors to incorporate DebateWatch into their curricula (via group projects, political awareness efforts, etc.), particularly in required, high-enrollment courses.
  • Tap campus media (student newspaper, television/radio stations).
  • Use DebateWatch to talk about issues important to students, such as the student loans, tuition increases, and jobs.


Community-Based Efforts

  • Encourage people to host DebateWatch events in their homes.
  • Use community centers, libraries, or other public facilities to host DebateWatches.
  • Partner with local media (newspaper, television/radio) to promote DebateWatch, and don’t forget to invite the press to some of the local discussions.
  • Adopt a high school, community college, or university to get students involved in hosting the groups. Work with those schools to recruit faculty members from government and communications departments to serve as group leaders.
  • Integrate DebateWatch into efforts to recruit first-time voters.
  • Work with libraries on integrating DebateWatch into existing special programs (speakers, reading lists, etc.).
  • Work through local organizations to get citizens motivated. Options include:

o Chambers of Commerce
o Mayors’ offices
o Nonprofit organizations
o Book clubs
o Senior citizens centers
o Civic clubs (Rotary, Elks, Grange, etc.)
o Religious centers



  • Invite your friends and host a DebateWatch in your home. You can lead it yourself or ask someone else to serve as the discussion leader.
  • If you are a good discussion leader (as many students in debate, journalism, or student government are) make yourself available to groups that need leaders. This can include community groups, churches, book clubs, or student volunteer groups.
  • Encourage your school to host a large DebateWatch, with a mass viewing of the presidential debates followed by smaller break-out groups for discussion. (Big viewing screens can make this fun!)
  • Encourage your teachers to make DebateWatch a class project. You can watch the debates at home and then discuss them in school the next day. Or, record the debates, watch them in class, and then discuss them.
  • Submit information on DebateWatch activities to your student newspaper.
  • Plan a DebateWatch for a group of which you are a member (sports team, musical group, SADD, 4H, student government).