Patrick Noltemeyer ’01 recalls experiences as student volunteer during 2000 Debate
With the upcoming Vice Presidential Debate at Centre less than 100 days away, preparations are in full swing to prepare Centre for its big moment. For Patrick Noltemeyer ’01, associate dean and director of community service and Bonner program, the debate this October will likely create a sense of déjà vu.
Noltemeyer was one of numerous student volunteers during the Vice Presidential Debate at Centre in 2000.
“I was part of the fence installation crew, helping to install hundreds of yards of temporary chain link fence around campus to insure the security of the important guests,” he says. “I have many memories of riding around in the back of a pick-up truck with my friends, loading and unloading sections of the fence, and getting to know our Facilities Management team in a whole new way.”
Interactions with the Centre community were a highlight of the experience for Noltemeyer.
“I think that is one of the greatest aspects of hosting an event of this magnitude—it takes a lot of work and cooperation, but through those efforts, students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to get to know one another in a new way and develop a new appreciation for one another’s talents and work ethic,” Noltemeyer says.
Over 28 million people tuned in to the 2000 Vice Presidential Debate at Centre, giving the College national recognition. Since nearly 70 million watched the most recent debate in 2008, Centre will likely have an even bigger audience this October.
“Having the debate on campus raised our campus community’s sense of pride in the institution and helped to spread the good name of Centre across the country,” Noltemeyer says. “After the debate, when people would ask me where I went to school, they would immediately recognize that we played host to such an important event and asked all about it.”
Student volunteers played a large role in making the debate successful in 2000, and Noltemeyer is glad current students will have the same opportunities to volunteer this October.
“Pulling off an event of this size is an impressive feat, and our students will forever be able to say that they were part of it,” he says. “I am confident that by being part of a civic event of this magnitude, our students will pay closer attention to future debates and be more engaged in the political process.
“There were so many opportunities for students to be involved, it felt like we all contributed to making the debate happen—everyone had a role and we were all in it together,” Noltemeyer continues. “The amount of teamwork and cooperation that was required to pull off the debate resonated throughout the rest of my Centre experience, and I hope our students will find the same to be true this time. I am excited that our current students will also have that opportunity and be part of something of this magnitude.”
To visit Centre’s debate website, click here.