By Ashley Pettaway
HAMPTON, Va. -- Just four years ago, anxious Hampton University freshmen gathered in the student center atrium to watch the historical debates that would ultimately help determine the 44th president and first African-American president of the United States.
Wednesday was no different as the new freshman class came together to watch what would be another eventful night in the world of politics.
"This presidential election means a lot for our future as students who are trying to get jobs. There's a lot at stake," said Ronnell Chatmon, a senior political science major from Chicago. "That's why it's important for us to get acquainted with these candidates that will impact our decisions like staying in school, getting a job, and finding other career opportunities. Depending on what candidate we choose, this election can turn in our favor."
Like many of the upperclassmen that showed up to the event, Chatmon encouraged his peers to be as informed as possible about the presidential candidates. Students who packed the 150-plus seat theater appeared to be very enthusiastic throughout the course of the 90-minute debate broadcast from the University of Denver.
"It's interesting to watch the dynamic of the debate when both candidates are speaking," said Freshman Erick McCleary, a freshman from Ohio. "President Obama made really good points while [former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt] Romney seemed more adamant about getting his point across."
When the event ended, McCleary said, "During the debate you could see our president trying to hold back, but towards the end you could see moments where he started fighting back and making contrasting statements between the two plans."
"I didn't feel disappointed or angry about the debate because it was really Romney's time to show and prove himself," said Chatmon. "There are still two more debates left. President Obama didn't hammer away at Romney in order to save his best for last. Romney was prepared for the debate just like he was for his interview on CBS a couple of weeks ago.
" There were so many low expectations for Romney that anything he can do to make himself look good is positive for him.
"However to me there is no real winner until fact checking takes place."
The correspondent is a senior at the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.