Some Centre College students are putting their fall break plans on hold after being chosen to attend tonight’s vice-presidential debate.
One hundred students heard their names called for tickets Wednesday, while 30 others were drawn as alternates in case any of the group can’t attend.
College officials found a sure way to get the attention of hundreds of college students when they announced a ticket lottery last week. A large crowd gathered in front of Young Hall as names were drawn from a hopper and read by President John Roush.
Patrick Noltemeyer, the school’s associate dean and director of community service, said more than 560 students registered by the weekend deadline. He said the 100 attendees and the 30 students in the debate hall as ushers will allow the school to reach its goal of getting about 10 percent of its student body into the event.
Newlin Hall at the Norton Center for the Arts typically holds just under 1,500 seats, but 600 were removed to make way for television production. The remaining tickets are split among people with the presidential campaigns, the Commission on Presidential Debates and Centre.
A similar allotment was given to Centre students before the 2000 vice-presidential debate, but Roush said up until late last week it was believed there might be 25-30 tickets up for grabs this time. An audible murmur went through the crowd Wednesday when he announced how many would be given away.
Danielle Ryan, a senior from Louisville, was even more surprised to have her name called because she thought she had missed her chance to register for the lottery.
“It’s such a huge, collective effervescence, this moment,” Ryan said of the mood on campus as the debate has gotten closer. “I think now everybody’s just sharing in the emotion of it because we weren’t sure we were going to get this many tickets.”