As the nation turns its eyes to the commonwealth as a key battleground state in the upcoming election, it means more exposure for an area university. This week, the University of Richmond began welcoming national media outlets who are traveling to Virginia to cover different aspects of the race.
When candidate Mitt Romney speaks at the university Sunday, thousands are expected to show. In fact, this gymnasium holds 8,000 people. University officials say it's not the first time this campus has been the center of national attention.
The White House specifically requested the U of R last year for President Obama to announce his plans to create new jobs, according to campus officials. Now the campus is making the news again.
"The Romney campaign approached the university about renting the Robins Center for this event," spokesman Brian Eckert said.
Friday, preparations started for Romney's speech on Sunday. Crews installed telephone and internet lines for all of the media expected to show.
"We've been shooting some tape elements. We interviewed some undecided voters yesterday," said NBC News producer Kim Cornett.
The network arrived in advance to get the lay of the land and conduct interviews.
"All eyes are on Virginia and that's why we are here. Lester Holt has started a battleground tour," Cornett explained.
"This all kind of happened fast," said freshman Lauren Pepe.
Students say it feels good to have their campus at the center of the spotlight.
"When Obama came here last year it was lined up to North Court from the Robins Center," Pepe said.
Campus officials continue to welcome the attention, recognizing the lights, camera, and action equate to national exposure.
"This is a very politically aware campus. To be at the center of an event like this election really is exciting and it's great to have the attention," Eckert said.
Cornett says NBC News is planning to broadcast live from campus. You can expect many other media outlets to also be on site as well.
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