SPB to kick off presidential debate week with roller-skating, lighting of Brookings

| News Editor

Under the red, white and blue lights of an illuminated Brookings Hall, Social Programming Board will kick of its presidential debate week with an event this Saturday, Oct. 1. The event, held in collaboration with the Office of Public Affairs and WashU Votes, will feature a neon roller-skating rink, free food and a live DJ.

The function will cost SPB approximately $4,700, which will be taken out of the organization’s special events budget.

SPB president and senior Rahool Bhimani said that while the lighting of the building was the genesis of the event, the organization soon decided to turn it into something bigger.

“Public Affairs and WashU Votes had to light Brookings facade with red, white and blue, but we wanted to make it more of an active event as opposed to people just coming to see lights and then leaving,” Bhimani said. “So the idea was to bring a neon skating rink which is kind of a cool, creative, active event which would get people there and hopefully have them stay and enjoy themselves.”

According to Andres Avalle, junior and SPB treasurer, the event aims to provide students with a fun start to the week of debate-related programming.

“It really should have a bit of a carnival-esque feel,” Avalle said. “We’re going to have hot dogs, popsicles, then commencement remarks from administration. Hopefully this brings a lot of people together to see what is the most iconic structure of Washington University lit up in our nation’s colors.”

In addition to the festivities, the event will also provide students with the opportunity to register to vote through WashU Votes.

“WashU Votes has been doing a lot of tabling and stuff like that already, so they’re just going to set up something similar to that at the event and get more students signed up,” Bhimani said.

After the kickoff event, SPB will be involved in organizing an event on the day of the debate as well.

“We’re currently in talks with Congress of the South 40 to do a screening on the Swamp, which we think would be a cool collaboration,” Bhimani said.

Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Jill Friedman echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing her excitement for the upcoming event.

“This debate is a particularly excellent opportunity for our community, and especially our students,” Friedman said. “We hope to raise interest in the electoral process, and to get people excited, and also to raise visibility of this massive event happening on our campus.”