UNLV will take center stage for final presidential debate

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Monday marks one month until the presidential debate at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack Center. On October 19 and the days leading up to then, the university will be at the center of the political universe.

UNLV will be a media zoo with thousands of journalists, strategists and surrogates claiming parts of campus in the run-up to the final debate of the presidential cycle.

And as the candidates each try to put their best foot forward on their final appearance together, the university will be doing the same.

With one month to go until Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump square off at the Thomas and Mack Center there are already signs that the campus is gearing up for the debate.

That has students excited for what’s to come.

“I think it’s a really good thing for our university, so I’m really excited,” said Allesa Chazelagmay, a freshman.

“It’s a big accomplishment for the university, said freshman Bradley Benavidez. “I think it’s just excellent, it’s amazing.”

But with the exposure comes the inevitable inconvenience.

Network producers are already scoping out spots on campus to build temporary television sets and as the date nears, there will be closures.

“We’re trying to minimally disrupt campus, and we’re trying to maximize on this incredible event that’s going to be taking place,” said Carl Reiber, UNLV sr. vice provost.

On the day of the debate and the day before, classes will be canceled in the buildings closest to the Thomas and Mack.

Shuttle busses will be available in the days leading up to the debate due to parking restrictions. 

“This is a great opportunity for our students to participate in the presidential electoral process, and that’s going to be happening right in front of their eyes, Reiber said.”

More than 100 million people or a third of the U.S population are expected to tune into the UNLV presidential debate.

LVCVA President and CEO Rossi Ralenkotter says that equates to tens of millions of dollars in free media exposure not just nationwide but worldwide.

“Whenever they talk about the debates on TV, on the radio, papers or whatever, we’re in that mix,” Ralenkotter said.

The university has also been in contact with the other two schools that are hosting presidential debates this cycle.

UNLV will look at what went right and what went wrong and apply those lessons on campus next month.

The first presidential debate is next Monday and you can see it on channel 8.

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