SC State hosts first presidential debate of '08 campaign
There were lights, cameras, and a lot of action on the campus of South Carolina State Thursday, as the stage was being set for an unprecedented presidential debate.
"There was another debate at Morgan State College sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, but this is the first to be sponsored by one of the parties on the campus of a Historically Black College or University," explained Andrew Hugine, president of South Carolina State University.
On Thursday, Hugine was a celebrity, telling national media outlets about the impact of the debate on the school and its 5,000 students. "You can feel the energy and feel the excitement on this campus," said Hugine. "Students are moving around, enjoying this, taking part in this. They're well-versed on the issues."
Demar Roberts, a junior majoring in political science, says he never expected to receive real-world experience during his college years. "Interviews, campaigns, meeting candidates, seeing a variety of people, it just gives you excitement," said Roberts. He says the event has motivated him to follow in the footsteps of alums like U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn, who wielded his power as House Majority Whip to put his alma mater in the spotlight.
"I think this gives us an opportunity to launch a new beginning on this campus," explained Clyburn. "That's why I pressed so hard for it to come here. I have been on this campus many, many times. I have seen people look beaten and defeated. Today, they are uplifted."
Hugine thanked Clyburn and the Democratic Party for shining a positive light on the institution. "Individuals throughout this world will know there exists a South Carolina State University," he said. "The university could not afford that kind of positive exposure."