Super Tuesday Watch Party Open to Students

By Katherine Peterson | Staff Writer

The road to the presidential election will be far shorter after the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses. To celebrate the intricate and exciting events of this presidential race, a Super Tuesday watch party will be held March 1st and be both free and open to the public.

The watch party is from 6:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. in the Hicks Undergraduate Library, Room G980D. There are many events planned for the evening including an interview with Alexander Heffner, host of the PBS show, “The Open Mind,” a discussion panel featuring Heffner and President Mitch Daniels, followed by an expert panel and more.

Joshua Scacco, assistant professor of media theory and politics in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, thinks that this event will be a good experience for students to better understand and be involved in politics.

“This watch party is designed to engage Purdue students around the 2016 presidential election at an early stage in the nomination process,” said Scacco. “The event is a great opportunity to hear about the mechanics and dynamics of the 2016 presidential election. There also will be free food!”

Scacco, who will be interviewing Heffner, said that the discussion will revolve around many aspects of the election.

“We will be discussing the state of the presidential nominating contest for both the Democratic and Republican Parties,” said Scacco. “Specifically, we will discuss the state of the electorate and why they are choosing particular candidates, the role of money in political campaigns, and the messages that are resonating with the public.”

The watch party is sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha, the Honors College, and the Brian Lamb School of Communication.

Dr. Natasha Duncan, advisor to Pi Sigma Alpha, who is helping to organize the watch party, says that she encourages students to attend this event for two reasons.

“First, I would encourage students to attend as a means of inspiring them to pay attention to and participate in the political process, as the candidates vying for the presidency will have an impact on their lives should they become next president,” said Duncan. “Second, the viewing party offers students an opportunity to hear from Purdue experts on U.S. electoral politics, thus providing an alternative to the ‘infotainment’ that is a feature of cable news channels.”

Michael Brannigan, a senior in political science and history, is also involved in putting the event together, along with other students.

“I’ll be working with a team of fellow political science students to develop some of the content for the evening, including questions for the expert panel to polling questions for online viewers and live audience members to answer on Hotseat,” said Brannigan.

The watch party’s speakers and panel discussions will be streamed live for individuals who are not able to make it to the party. The point of the event is to encourage students to be involved in and excited about the election. Therefore, the organizers of the event want students to be involved in the happenings of the watch party, even if they can’t make it to the Hicks Library themselves.

“At its core, we designed this event to engage individuals in the political process outside of Election Day,” said Brannigan. “In Indiana, the primary election isn’t until May 3rd, at which point we’ll likely have presumptive presidential nominees from both parties. In that case, people will be less likely to vote or be engaged. However, political engagement goes beyond simply voting. Rather, it involves gathering knowledge, understanding the process, and discussing them with others.”