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Student volunteers helping at the Vice Presidential debate

Natalie Aris (left) and Alyssa Le (right) use golf carts to help shuttle national media around the University of Utah Campus ahead of Wednesday's Vice Presidential Debate. (University of Utah)

SALT LAKE CITY — Student volunteers are playing a big part ahead of the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah.

Senior Natalie Aris is spending most of her time this week driving a golf cart around the campus. Her job is to shuttle national media members wherever they need to go across campus.

“We have such a big beautiful campus, with lots of hills. It’s fun to experience it a different way,” she said.

The U has been planning for this debate for a year but had to change things because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is super safe,” said Aris, who had to get a COVID test. “We have our Lysol and masks, and it is being handled super well.” 

“When we first heard about the event, we mobilized a lot of student groups and student government to see how students might be involved in this,” said Lori McDonald, the U’s VP for Student Affairs.

McDonald said she hopes this opens the students’ eyes to the process.


“Universities across the country are microcosms of society. We are all about education, learning, being civically engaged, no matter what you are studying,” she said.

Alyssa Le is also a student volunteer, driving a golf cart for media members.

“On TV it looks so seamless, but seeing the inner workings of how they make this happen, I’m excited about that.”

Le said she wouldn’t try to talk to the reporters but would be listening to what they talked about.

Aris, who came to the U from New Jersey, says she is going to put this on her resume.

“I’m taking in all the stuff around me because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. We are the only VP debate this year and it’s only once every four years, and what are the odds of having it at your school?”

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