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Serena Welch, student body president

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Pacific student to question U.S. Senate hopefuls on live TV

Apr 22, 2016

Pacific student to question U.S. Senate hopefuls on live TV

University of the Pacific's student body president has been given an opportunity few voters get in an election year — the chance to ask a question directly of candidates vying to fill a U.S. Senate seat.

Serena Welch, 21, of Elk Grove, will ask the question Monday during the 2016 U.S. Senate Debate hosted by University of the Pacific with KCRA 3 and the San Francisco Chronicle. Five candidates are scheduled to participate in the debate: Tom Del Beccaro, Kamala Harris, Loretta Sanchez, Duf Sundheim and Ron Unz.

"The Senate debate provides UOP a unique opportunity to reach out and connect with America's finest leaders," said Welch, who will graduate in May with a degree in business and minor in economics. "As student body president, it humbles and honors me to be asked to be part of this process. My hope is that through this event students will gain insight into the significance of the political process as issues relevant to today's students are debated. Such an amazing opportunity can inspire and encourage students to become future leaders of tomorrow."

Welch, a graduate of Franklin High School in Elk Grove, plans to pursue a master's degree in health administration with a goal of earning a PhD in public health.

Welch and other Pacific students have been involved with organizing Monday's debate, and led a voter registration drive on campus that registered more than 100 people.

Other student-run events the day of the debate include a panel discussion of prominent policymakers focusing on big issues that California must resolve in the coming decade. That will be 4-6 p.m. Monday in The Lair on the second floor of the DeRosa University Center. A watch party with free pizza hosted by the student-run Pacific Political Science Association will follow that discussion.

Pacific's Speech and Debate Team, ranked No. 7 in the country, will host its own version of the debate for U.S. Senate in the Janet Leigh Theatre on campus. Debate team members will play the roles of the five candidates. High school debate teams from the community have been invited to attend and the public is welcome to the free event.

And in Sacramento, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law's Capital Center for Law and Policy and the Student Bar Association will host a quick primer on federal issues before livestreaming the debate in Northwest Hall. More information on these opportunities is available at

Media contact:
Claudia Morain | 209.946.2313 (office) | 209.479.9894 (cell) |
Keith Michaud | 209.946.3275 (office) | 209.470.3206 (cell) |

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