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Utah State debate takes questions via Twitter

February 25th, 2015 Posted in Opinion

The Utah State University Student Association’s election committee turned to Twitter on Tuesday to take questions from audience members to participants in a student government debate in the Taggart Student Center Hub.

“We’ve done Twitter in past elections to update people on dates of events and general information about elections,” said Chris Glaittli, the public relations coordinator for the USUSA elections committee. “The live Twitter feed is a new addition that I think is helping students to be more aware and to be a lot more involved.”

Finalists for executive positions were asked two pre-formulated questions and one from the Twitter feed using the hashtag #USUSAdebate. Finalists for senatorial positions were asked one pre-formulated question and one from Twitter. The hashtag #USUSAelections is being used throughout the entire elections week.

Only a few students asked questions using the hashtag, and not all of them were serious — one student asked about eliminating raisins in the college catering service’s cookies.

But Antonio Lopez, a candidate running for College of Humanities and Social Sciences senator, thought the live-tweeting made the event more accessible to students who could not attend the debate.

“There are students, whether they work or they are too busy or too involved, that can’t be here to ask those kinds of questions,” Lopez said. “I think it’s a perfect idea, as long as students are taking it seriously.”

Maegan Kasteler, a junior who attended the debate, used Twitter to ask about how athletics and campus recreation vice presidential candidates planned to make athletic events easier to attend for those with disabilities.

Kasteler said she thought Twitter made it simpler for students to ask questions.

“Not only does it give us a greater voice as students, it also allows us to ask questions from a different standpoint. It’s hard to approach a mic and ask hard questions,” Kasteler said. “I would like to see more tweets being presented to candidates. As students, our questions are important and should be answered.”

The president’s debate will take place at 11:30 a.m. today in the TSC Hub.

Hillary Dodd, Samantha Kiser, Jillian McCarthy, Kayla Watanabe and Olivia Webb contributed to this report.

– mdl

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