Host a Debate Watch Party

A #ScienceRising Party Pack

Published Jan 14, 2020

Who says democracy can’t be fun?

debate watch party bingo cards
Tosin Fadeyi

We know you care about the 2020 elections – and hosting a debate watch party is an easy way to invite others to get involved this election year.

Check out the steps below, including opportunities to ask us for advice during live video office hours, free printable BINGO cards, and more. If your party is open to the public, you can also list your event on Science Rising to bring even more people to the discussion!

Step 1: Check out these resources to make it a great event

Join us for live party planning help: We’re hosting two live video office hours, where you can join Union of Concerned Scientists staff online for advice and meet others who are planning parties where they live. Register to join us on Monday, January 27 at 7:00 p.m. ET or Tuesday, February 4 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

For more on how you can host a great event and get engaged in this election, check out this comprehensive set of resources, including videos, tips, and more.

Step 2: Pick your debate

Whether it’s a national presidential debate or a local race, choose the debate you want to plan around. Plan on starting the party up to an hour before the debate begins on TV.

Step 3: Spread the word

It’s time to start inviting people! If you want to make your party open to the public, we’ll list and help promote your event on ScienceRising.org to help get the word out. Click here to list an open event online.

If you just want to invite people you know, that’s ok too! When you email out your invitations, don’t forget to use blind carbon copy (BCC) so that nobody can reply all.

Email invitation template

Hi friends,

I’m hosting a party to watch the [Friday, February 7 or other date] debate of [election] candidates, and I hope you can join me!

This election is SO important, and watching a debate is a great way to find out where the candidates stand on the issues that you and I care about – such as [the climate crisis, public health, the threat of nuclear war].

Plus, you might just win BINGO! I’ll have BINGO cards from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and [snacks, refreshments, prizes].

Debate watch party at my house Where: [Your address, City, State] When: [Day, Date, Time]

I hope you’ll come over and join us to watch the debate live, maybe shout at the TV together, compete in our science-themed BINGO game, and stay for a conversation about how we can stay involved in the election together.

Can you make it? Let me know if you’d like to bring anyone, too. [If you list your event on sciencerising.org, include a link for more information]

Sincerely,

[Your name]

P.S. If you want to get more involved in the election, check out the resources on www.sciencerising.org

debate watch party bingo card
Tosin Fadeyi

Step 4: Get your party supplies ready!

Before the day of your debate watch party, pull together your party supplies:
  • Science Rising BINGO Card: Make the debate an interactive, and competitive, experience! Eight different cards are available; each includes four blank squares for you to fill in.
  • Science Rising Prize: Set aside something good for anyone who gets BINGO first!
  • Sign-in Sheet: If you’re organizing an event that is open to the public, you may want to collect their contact information so you can get in touch with them after the party.

Step 5: Debate Party!

Have fun! You might offer your guests some refreshments or have name tags available. Make sure you’ve got markers and your printed BINGO cards and ask people to sign in when they arrive. Once the debate is over, talk to the group about ways to take action together.

debate watch party bingo card

Step 6: Keep the Momentum Going

By hosting a debate watch party, you’re joining a movement we call Science Rising – a network of partners and advocates that fights for science, equity, and justice in our democracy. And we hope that by getting together with friends and neighbors to watch the debate, you can spark a conversation and keep the momentum going.

Democracy depends on public participation. No matter who won BINGO, everyone at your party can take action between now and this November to help more people register to vote, engage with the candidates on important issues such as science and justice, and get to the polls.

After the debate, ask your guests what they care about and what ideas they have for taking action together. Don’t forget to ask if anyone needs to check their voter registration. Some tips:

  • Be open to everyone’s ideas. Ask more questions to keep the discussion going!
  • Keep it nonpartisan – not everyone will agree on the same candidate, and that’s ok. We need everyone to participate in our democracy.
  • If you don’t have time to plan another gathering, ask someone to volunteer to host the next meeting.
  • Name a few ideas for taking action together, and see what people are interested in. If there are lots of ideas in the room , take a vote to see if 3 or more people like one idea that’s easy to start.
  • Help people check their voter registration or register to vote online if they’re eligible.
  • Use your sign-in sheet to keep track of who wants to take the next step, and email, text or call them about it the next day

Finally make sure to thank your guests! Send everyone an email to thank them for coming and ask them if they’d like to volunteer together in the future. Quick follow up makes a difference, so set yourself a reminder to send your thank you the next day.

Step 7: Tell us about your party!

Send us a note to tell us you’ve got a plan in the works or tell us how well your party goes after the fact.

If you're on social media share photos of your event using the #ScienceRising hashtag or tag us on Twitter (@SciRising, @UCSUSA) or Instagram (unionofconcernedscientists).

Related resources