FAQs for the Campus and Local Communities

Longwood Sign

French Hall

How will the debate affect campus and the region?

The debate will be a substantial event, primarily affecting campus but inevitably to some extent the town of Farmville and broader region, particularly on the day it takes place. Most of the planning remains to be developed in the months ahead, so it’s premature to speculate on logistics. However, Longwood will be communicating regularly throughout that process, and we will do our best to minimize inconvenience.

In 2012, several thousand media covered the presidential and vice presidential debates in person, along with representatives from the campaigns and the Commission on Presidential Debates.

What will be the economic impact?

The upside for the campus and the region will be extraordinary. Recent debate sites have calculated that hosting a debate produces immediate economic impact exceeding $10 million, and in excess of $50 million worth of global publicity thanks to media coverage. Television viewership of the 2012 vice presidential debates exceeded 50 million people nationally, and countless more worldwide. Hosting this event has nearly incomparable potential to share the story of Longwood, Farmville and our region with the world.

How can I get involved?

There will be many opportunities for Longwood faculty, staff, students, alumni, and local residents to help with the debate effort and serve as volunteers. For now, the best way to stay on top of news about the debate and such opportunities as they emerge in the months ahead is to sign up to receive regular email updates on the debate homepage.

Will I be able to attend the debate in Willett Hall?

Probably not. It is not yet known how many people will be able to attend the debate in-person in Willett Hall, or how many tickets Longwood would receive. Students will be prioritized. On the night of the debate, however, we will plan memorable events on campus to watch the debate and participate in the occasion.

What will it cost Longwood to host the debate, and where will the funding come from?

Altogether, recent debate host sites have typically spent a few million dollars in costs associated with hosting the debate, and Longwood would expect to do the same. However, much of that would consist of upgrades to campus infrastructure with benefits enduring long after the debate. There will also be opportunities for philanthropy and sponsorships. Meanwhile, expenditures will come from cash reserve funds that have been set aside, not tuition dollars. Longwood will not be dipping into its operating budget or cutting any other spending to host the debate.

Hosting a debate is an investment, and with our strong financial footing Longwood is well positioned to make such an investment. Factoring in the immediate and long-term economic impacts, and the sense of pride hosting a debate instills, institutions that have hosted debates have found the experience deeply rewarding and thoroughly worthwhile.

Is there a debate logo or other graphic(s) I can use to promote the debate on printed materials, my website or merchandise?

Longwood has developed an extensive library of graphics related to the 2016 U.S. Vice Presidential debate. The graphics can be downloaded here: Debate Graphics Library.