UNH IT Provides Infrastructure for Democratic Debates

February 9, 2016

by UNH IT Staff

Chris Robinson, UNH IT Telecommunications

On Thursday, February 4, UNH hosted the 2016 New Hampshire Democratic Primary Debates in the Johnson Theater. The debate drew national attention to the University and was the fifth in a series of debates between Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

UNH IT Telecommunications staff worked tirelessly to provide phone and internet service for the debates at the Johnson Theater - which was used for the debate itself - and Huddleston Hall and Holloway Commons, which housed press and debate staff.  These efforts were led by Telecom’s Chris Robinson, who, along with his staff, had only four days to organize themselves in advance of the debates.

UNH IT Telecom Manager Dan Corbeil oversees Network Operations, the crew responsible for providing the labor and technical know-how at this event.

“We received confirmation of the event on Sunday morning (January 31), and the event was on Thursday,” Corbeil said.

Although it was a tall task to pull off all of the necessary work, it proved to be familiar territory, as UNH IT Telecom has provided support for similar events in the past. “We typically (help with the debates) every 4 years but the locations tend to change. The first event I remember using the Memorial Union Building as the press area. We have also worked events in the Whittemore center, with the press staged in the Hamel Rec Center. Telecom also assisted with a town hall meeting for Barack Obama in the Paul Sweet Oval at the Field House during his first campaign for President.”

The event was not without its own unique challenges. There were requests by the press that required process exceptions to be granted, and there was a brief period during the event where WiFi network connectivity in Holloway Commons was not optimal. This particular condition was precipitated by a large number of media members and a high ratio of wireless devices per person. Regardless of this challenge, once notified, UNH Telecom responded in a timely fashion and quickly remedied the situation. 

Photo credit: Erika Mantz - Director, UNH Media Relations

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