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Student volunteers ready to step up on debate day

A picture of Sean Doonan By Andrea Ordonez and Joe Pantorno

Managing Editor/Editor-in-Chief

Sean Doonan is standing in front of a secure zone with police, only letting people with debate tickets or credentials through. Outside of the debate, the senior works for Resident Safety as a supervisor, so the importance of security is not something new he has to learn. But Doonan does not have any immediate dreams of pursuing a career in law enforcement. In fact, he’s a drama major.

“I like the experience of being this intimately involved without being a part of a campaign,” said Doonan on why he signed up to be a volunteer for the debate.

While the second presidential debate seems to immediately cater to communications and political science students, with lecture series including prominent politicians, policy makers and journalists, it might not be clear what the event provides for students with other majors.

However, for three students, signing up to help out with an event that might not directly tie to their major doesn’t worry them. They just want to mark their place as students proudly representing their college.

Before Hofstra, Ryan Denault, a freshman finance major, lived in rural Massachusetts. He signed up to volunteer for the presidential debate in hopes of eventually putting the opportunity on job applications one day.

“It’s cool that the center of the United States will be here for 24 hours,” said Denault, who will be working event operations in the Netherlands complex. “It’s historic, and also a good thing to put on my resume.”

But while Denault admits his volunteer duties share little ties to his major in finance, he found that the coming debate has made him keep up with campaign news and polls. “Everyone in my house watched the debate,” he said, after explaining why he’s been watching Romney’s lead in the polls.

Denault originally wanted to collect tickets at the debate, but is completely fine with where he’s stationed. He’s happy to be a part of Hofstra’s moment in the political limelight and the pride it could bring to his small town. “Everyone’s going to be looking at Hofstra and saying, ‘Hey, Ryan goes there,’” he said and then let out a quiet laugh. “No, I’m just kidding, but it’ll be cool though.”

The distinct honor of collecting tickets goes to sophomore computer science Olivier Andre.

“I’m a ticket volunteer and I will be welcoming the Democratic and Republican people to Hofstra,” said Andre. “I will be the face of’s stressful, but I am very excited.”

Hailing from Haiti, Andre has been in the United States for two years where he has had to grown accustom to American politics.

“The way the electoral vote works, it’s very different from Haiti,” said Andre. “But I’m getting used to it.”

Though he might be stressed, he is delighted how Hofstra is handling things on the eve of such a momentous occasion.

“I think Hofstra has done very well,” said Andre. “I think Hofstra looks even more beautiful and there are all the debate signs around so it is very nice.”

Andre realizes the position he is in, and is truly grateful for the opportunity that has been afforded to him.

“I wanted to get involved,” said Andre. “I was so happy when I learned that we were going to host the debate again so I wanted to be apart of it any way I could.”

Senior Becky Cuthbertson is not even interested in politics. As a Jewish Studies major not only can she provide expertise on religion, she can pack a punch as she will be a security volunteer for event management.

“I have been involved with resident safety since I was a freshman,” said Cuthbertson. “So security has always been a huge concern of mine and I’ve been very involved with it.”

Cuthbertson realizes the magnitude of where she will be today.

“I mean, how many students can say they helped work security for the President?” said Cuthbertson. “It’s a cool little bragging right. The fact that you have to be credentialed by Secret Service and go to all these orientation meetings and to deal with all these things is really exciting.”

While Doonan credits his mother as being an influential part of his political awareness, he solidified his political views over the summer and has since becoming very active with Hofstra Students for Liberty. He currently serves as secretary and events manager of the club. “It’s politically different from views of people in theater,” he said. “My views are more conservative than the general theater populace.”

Doonan is currently working on a one-act play he wrote called The “Right” Hand of the State, which explores the question of who builds the roads in a libertarian society. He hopes to showcase during the Drama Department’s experimental works night in November.

But Doonan will leave his personal views and experiences aside for a night as he works toward a safe debate along with Public Safety and the Secret Service.

“I love doing theater, don’t get me wrong,” he said. “But I saw this as a better chance to get involved than to pray and hope I could get one of 200 or so tickets.”

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