Brookings Hall lit up for presidential debate

Hundreds celebrated the start of debate week at Washington University in St. Louis Saturday night with the lighting of Brookings Hall.

Students, staff and community members gathered on the steps of Brookings after dark Oct. 1, to watch the iconic administrative building get lit up in red, white and blue. During the upcoming week, there will be political and debate-related events around campus in anticipation of the second presidential debate next Sunday, Oct. 9 at the Athletic Complex.

The patriotic illumination of Brookings Hall was a big hit with students. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

The patriotic illumination of Brookings Hall was a big hit with students. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

“It was pretty exciting,” said Kahini Shah, a junior in Arts & Sciences. “I’m an international student, so I don’t have a vested interest in the election. But seeing the lighting of the hall still created a sense of excitement about the debate coming to campus.”

This is what WashU’s Social Programming Board (SPB) was aiming for when it organized the lighting in conjunction with the Office of Public Affairs. “We wanted the event to be a cool way for people to come and get excited about the debate,” said Rahool Bhimani, a senior in Arts & Sciences, who helped organize the event for SPB.

In addition to the lighting, there was a roller-skating rink, a selfie booth, games with debate-related prizes, popsicles, cake pops, glow sticks and hot dogs.

Provost Holden Thorp (right) leads the countdown to light-up in front of Brookings Hall Oct. 1. (Photo:  James Byard/Washington University)

Provost Holden Thorp (right) leads the countdown to light-up in front of Brookings Hall Oct. 1. (Photo:
James Byard/Washington University)

Provost Holden Thorp led the countdown to the lighting, which took place around 8:45 p.m. The crowd cheered as the lights came on for the first of nine consecutive nights. Brookings Hall will be lit up every evening through Oct. 9.

Haley Dolosic, president of the Graduate Professional Council and co-chair of WashU Votes, was running a voter registration booth at the lighting. “Look how much business we’re doing,” she said. “It’s fantastic. The debate shows just how politically engaged WashU is and how students want to get involved.”