Large turnout at Meet the Candidates Community Picnic

Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for public affairs, speaks July 13, 2011, at the Meet the Candidates Picnic on Olin Lawn (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

More than a thousand Vanderbilt University employees and friends became better informed about the Aug. 4 Metropolitan Nashville election while enjoying a complimentary picnic lunch on partly-shaded Olin Lawn.

Vanderbilt’s Meet the Candidates Community Picnic on July 13 drew approximately 60 local candidates running on the upcoming ballot including Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Vice Mayor Diane Neighbors and many citizens who are running in the council district and at-large races.

“Today was an opportunity for Vanderbilt to promote the value of being involved in the democratic process, the value of an increased awareness around issues and the value of community,” said Christine Bradley, assistant vice chancellor for Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations. “There is nothing more important than an involved public, and to that end Vanderbilt is always proud to contribute and to partner.”

Under sunshine and 90 degree-plus temperatures, candidates shook hands with prospective supporters and made brief introductions to the crowd while standing on a soapbox in Vanderbilt’s “public square.” Those in attendance could also learn more about the recent council redistricting that will affect where voters cast their ballots as well as opportunities for early voting from July 15 through July 30.

A Dixieland jazz band set the mood for the festive gathering, which included grilled beef and vegetable hot dogs, chips, ice cream and cold drinks.

A Dixieland band performs during the Meet the Candidates Picnic on Olin Lawn (Vanderbilt University/Steve Green)
The Meet the Candidates Picnic was held July 13, 2011, on Olin Lawn (Steve Green/Vanderbilt)