Calhoun’s is the spot for students, politicians alike

Calhoun’s Rooftop Bar and Grill welcomed students to watch the Republican debate with the Texas Federation of College Republicans. | Leen Basharat/The Cougar

It took six security, nine bartenders, three servers, five people working in the kitchen, four managers, one owner and one investor to work Calhoun’s Rooftop Bar and Grill Thursday night during the Republican debate on campus.

With the actual debate occurring less than two miles away from the venue, students are very pleased with having a location so close and so lively to celebrate from.

“I really think this is a UH landmark. In just a year, it has been one of the most frequent spots on campus, and it has a wonderful venue,” said Matthew Wiltshire, director of public relations for Texas Federation of College Republicans and history junior.

“I am so amazed at the incredible work that Calhoun’s has done,” Wiltshire said. “They were able to move another event for this.”

Wiltshire came to assistant general manager and event coordinator Kayla Thurman with the idea of hosting this event two weeks ago.

“Matthew Wiltshire is a friend of ours. He came to me saying they wanted to do an event for the debate,” Thurman said. “We’ve done one before for them previously at a smaller scale, and it went really well, and the organization liked it, so they decided to do it again.”

Thurman said they have been preparing for the event for a month, even before the debate was officially announced by the University. The turnout was more than she expected for the watch party, and she cannot imagine how it will be for the after party.

Thurman reached out to any universities and colleges within a 200 mile radius, like Sam Houston State University and Texas A&M University. In addition, the group reached out, inviting news sources and politicians to come.

“We couldn’t get tickets to go inside the debate, but this is the next best thing, and we’re so happy we’re here,” said Jacob Duncan, business junior and Vice Chair of the College Republicans at Texas A&M University at Galveston. “I think this is a great venue because there’s lots of TVs everywhere.  It’s very nice outside. It’s great because we can get a lot of people in here.”

Thurman said she has received several compliments and thank yous for the event.

“Everything has been so smooth, everyone has been enjoying themselves, everyone is thanking us for doing this,” Thurman said. “We just didn’t expect this many people to want to do something like this.”

At the end of the day, students were pleased to see guests intermingling and actively participating in this historic event on campus.

“I love the amount of students that are here. It makes me really happy to know that politics are involving such a young crowd,” Duncan said. “To see so many young students out here, young voters, makes me so glad to know that politics in America is young. It’s still active, it’s growing and we’re here and we’re passionate about what’s going on because we know that it affects us.”

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