La Verne alumnus and E! News talent Ross Mathews returned to the University Tuesday 10 years after his graduation to host a presidential debate-watching party.
He brought the E! News crew to film student reactions to the political event.
“You are the demographic these candidates are hungry for,” Mathews said to a group of more than 50 ULV students gathered in the Nancy and Jerry Laird Lounge in the Campus Center.
“I wanted to show college kids are in tune, that this vote will affect them more than any other demographic,” Mathews said.
The Campus Center room was unrecognizable as it was prepped for taping with five studio lights, red white and blue balloons, two separate cameras, an American flag and a Californian flag, and furniture rearranged for better filming.
After an informal poll to see which candidate the students planned to vote for, it was clear that the majority of the students there had favored Obama, while fewer said they’d vote for Romney and fewer still were undecided.
Others who attended the filming were La Verne faculty and staff along with University President Devorah Leiberman.
After arranging the students by who they will vote for, Matthews focused on a few of undecided voters and asked them a series of questions, one of the most important of which was what they were looking for going into this presidential debate.
“As a college student I really look at what directly affects me,” Cintya Lopez, senior computer engineering major, said.
Mathews persuaded the undecided voters to keep an open mind and to stop the cynicism.
Throughout the debate students snickered and made hushed comments on what was said and done in the debates.
“This was far different from the first debate,” Mathews said. “In the first debate it was Romney vs. a kitten, in this one Obama’s claws came out and it was two hungry lions fighting for a piece of meat that is the presidency.”
Not all students found the bickering between the two presidential candidates entertaining.
“I don’t like that our generation is criticized for not caring or watching the debate, and when they do they argue like little kids,” said Jessica Gerard, senior social science major.
Gerard went into the debate as an Obama supporter but says that after this debate and seeing not only how they fought with each other but how they answered the questions, she was pushed on the fence and is now undecided.
Gerard also criticized the presentation of the debate saying that she preferred the first one because they had a podium, and the open floor seemed too casual.
The filming was an all-day event, including shooting footage of Mathews walking around La Verne.
Changes since Matthews’ graduation in 2002 include the addition of Vista La Verne and the Campus Center.
“I picked La Verne because I know what a jewel this community is,” Mathews said. “Coming back 10 years later, I am so proud of the changes.”
He interviewed various students and faculty around La Verne before starting the filming of the debate.
While watching the debate, Mathews sat among the undecided voters.
After hours of filming, the debate was done and a full days worth of film was condensed into a 5 minute segment.
The final product can be viewd on E! News Online.
Veronica Orozco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.