Project Name: 2016 Presidential Debate
Campus Partner: Office of the Chancellor
Since 1992, Public Affairs has been a dedicated player in hosting presidential debates at WashU. In 2016, we took our efforts to the next level, inspired by our place in the national spotlight. Our comprehensive efforts included coordinating media relations and logistics for major media networks; publicizing the debate through 40+ unique stories, video, and social media; producing debate apparel and memorabilia; blanketing campus with debate banners and signage for increased visibility; and much more. And we had fun throughout the entire process.
In 2016, our inspired approach included producing a light display projected onto Brookings Hall during debate week, which kicked off with a lighting event involving the campus community. We also provided an opportunity for one of our interns from the Sam Fox School design the overall debate logo (a tradition dating back to our first debate).
Our social media efforts included events designed to encourage the use of the #WashUdebate2016 hashtag, and a collaboration with Snapchat for a national debate story. With 11,000 uses of the hashtag, more than 8.6 million Facebook engagements, and around 4.4 million Twitter impressions, we helped share the debate experience well beyond campus. Overall, the debate resulted in 5,000+ mentions of the university’s name in mainstream coverage, our faculty being interviewed and quoted in a variety of media outlets, and 14 billion unique views in print and online related to the debate.
Through branding, planning, media relations, social media, and the myriad duties of hosting a debate, we raised the media profile of the university, encouraged student and faculty involvement, and ensured another successful debate at WashU.