UCLA Students, Others Gather to Watch First Presidential Debate at Crest Theater in Westwood

At Westwood's Crest Theater a few blocks from UCLA, where dozens of students and other visitors had gathered to watch a CNN feed of the debate, Alexander Nabavi-Noori, 21, studied a laptop and greeted visitors at the back of the packed auditorium.

UCLA students and other visitors gathered to watch the first presidential debate at the Crest Theater in Westwood on Sept. 26, 2016. (Credit: Matt Pearce/ Los Angeles Times)

UCLA students and other visitors gathered to watch the first presidential debate at the Crest Theater in Westwood on Sept. 26, 2016. (Credit: Matt Pearce/ Los Angeles Times)

Unlike the other students who had shown up in their casual wear, the economics and political science double-major was wearing a bow tie and a long-sleeved shirt, looking professional. Like NBC News' Lester Holt, he plans to moderate a debate this evening -- this one featuring students who will hold their own debate after the presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump onscreen.

And perhaps unusually for a college student, and for this election, Nabavi-Noori -- a vice president of finance and outreach for a campus civic literacy group known as Vote For Our Future -- sees his role as strictly nonpartisan.

"There's definitely enough polarization, so that's not a niche that needs to be filled," Nabavi-Noori said with a smile. Instead, he sees his job as spreading civic literacy and "making sure the two sides have a conversation." (When he graduates, Nabavi-Noori wants to go into law school and, eventually, "work in government.")

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