Thousands of University students will participate in civic engagement, civil conversation, and friendly and spirited debate as part of the Chico Great Debate on Friday, October 26.

The purpose of the Chico Great Debate is to bring members of the campus and community together to investigate and engage in civil dialogue around a single topic. The theme for this year’s event, which is free and open to the public, is “Engaging in our Democracy,” with discussions and topics to focus on policies and candidates during the upcoming primary election.

The day-long event will include speeches, presentations, and debates in various parts of the CSU, Chico campus, including rooms on the second and third floors of the Bell Memorial Union from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional discussion sessions will run outside throughout the day. The Civic Expo is an interactive set of informational exhibits created by more than 130 students and will start at 10 a.m. on the Glenn Hall lawn. The facilitator-led Cookies and Conversation will take place in Trinity Commons beginning at 10:15 a.m.

Finally, the main event will take place in Colusa Hall, Room 100 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The CSU, Chico Speech and Debate Team, as well as stakeholders from throughout the community, will formally debate the impact YouTube has had on our democracy.

The Chico Great Debate is a twice-a-year component of the University’s First-Year Experience Program, with the goal of teaching new students how to become active citizens through thoughtful discussions and civic engagement. Each semester, CSU, Chico, Butte College and the City of Chico collaborate on the Chico Great Debate with the goal of creating a public stage for civil discourse.

Debate topics in the past have included technology, politics and elections, and, last fall, issues in public health.

Those who require an accommodation in order to attend the Chico Great Debate or who have questions about accessibility may contact the Accessibility Resource Center at 530-898-5959.