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Story Ideas for Media 10/20/08


Ohio State retains rank as nation's largest campus.
For the third consecutive year, the Ohio State University is the nation's largest university. New autumn quarter enrollment figures show the Columbus campus has the nation's highest enrollment with 53,715 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
Enrollment at all Ohio State campuses (Columbus, Lima, Mansfield, Marion, Newark, and Wooster) set a new record this year at 61,568, up two percent over autumn 2007. The previous record for enrollment was 60,589 in autumn 1991.
Enrollment at the Columbus campus increased by more than two percent (1,147) students, and surpasses main campus student enrollment at other large universities such as Arizona State University at Tempe (52,734), the University of Florida at Gainesville (51,413), the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities (51,140), and the University of Texas at Austin (50,006).
The increase in enrollment was driven by higher student retention and more students transferring to Ohio State. CONTACT: Amy Murray, (614) 292-8385.


Ohio State study: Voters in battleground states more ambivalent about presidential candidates. Heavy advertising by both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates may actually make voters in battleground states more confused about which candidate to vote for, a new study suggests.
A nationwide study found that voters in heavily contested states like Florida and Ohio become more ambivalent when they are exposed to a lot of opposing messages from the two candidates.
"In battleground states especially, both candidates will invest a lot of money in television commercials. So people in these states are getting a lot of competing messages from both candidates and that translates into voters in these states wrestling with conflicting ideas," said Luke Keele, co-author of the study and assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University.
"But if you live in a state that is not competitive, you're probably seeing one-sided messages from a single candidate or few messages at all, so you're less likely to be ambivalent. So the state in which you live can influence your decisions." CONTACT: Luke Keele, (614) 247-4256. SEE: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/ambivalent.htm

Putting a New Face on the Elections. The facial expressions of this year's presidential candidates could play an important role in helping voters make choices, according to an Ohio State University researcher.
The study shows that characteristics of a person's face affect how we draw conclusions about a person.
Aleix Martinez, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Ohio State University College of Engineering, found that the vertical distance between the eyes, nose and mouth of a person is correlated with the perception of expressions of anger and sadness — even if that person is not actually displaying any emotion at all. Researchers previously believed that human emotions were shown by underlying facial muscle motion, he said, not by simply the position of the facial features.
"We tend to over generalize," Martinez explained, "and perceive sadness or anger even when there is none. That is very dangerous not only for politics but also for other instances, such as juries, where faces play very important roles in our perceptions." CONTACT: Joan Slattery Wall, (614) 292-4064. SEE: http://engineering.osu.edu/news/archive/2008/081017.php


Politics and elections – Ohio State election experts are online. Ohio State University offers journalists the expertise of faculty and staff from one of the nation's leading public research universities. Experts are available to comment on topics including Ohio and national politics, presidential politics, the youth vote, campaign and election law, communication and voter perception and others. A complete directory is online


Ohio State is focus of several election events – Oct. 21-23. OSU Votes and the John Glenn Civic Leadership Council are hosting three campus events this week:
• The CNN Election Bus will visit campus from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday (10/21) at the Wexner Plaza at 15th and High Street. The visit is part of CNN's "Express Yourself" Tour. Students will have the chance to play political trivia to win prizes, make buttons, and take political polls.
My First Vote will be filming students around campus Thursday (10/23), 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. My First Vote, formed earlier this year, is a non- partisan grass movement created to motivate, engage, educate and mobilize eligible 18-year-old first time voters. The organization interviews students about issues and features them at http://www.myfirstvote.tv/

Students hold mock debates – Oct. 23. Ohio State students will play the roles of the candidates during a mock presidential and vice presidential debate at 7 p.m. on Thursday (10/23) in 100 Mendenhall Laboratory, 125 S. Oval Mall.
The 30-minute debates will feature students portraying the republican and democratic vice presidential and presidential candidates. The debates are hosted by the John Glenn Civic Leadership Council in partnership with OSU Votes, College Democrats and College Republicans. CONTACT: Beth Morrison, OSU Votes.

Ohio State students attempt to break Guinness World Record for largest pillow fight – Oct. 23. Feathers will fly as Ohio State University makes it's fifth attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest pillow fight. Thousands of students will gather on the South Oval (Recreation and Physical Activity Center if it's raining) at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday (10/23). The 60-second pillow fight begins at 5:30 p.m., with an announcement of the final participation count by 6 p.m. (The University at Albany in New York holds the current record of 3,648 participants for the "Largest Pillow Fight."). CONTACT: Jin Schrattenecker, Mortar Board, (614) 804-3945.

OSU celebrates Homecoming 2008 – through Oct. 26. Ohio State invites alumni to come home for Homecoming 2008, October 20-26. The weeklong event celebrates Buckeye pride, traditions and history. Throughout the week, events include "Floats under construction" under the south stands at Ohio Stadium from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thursday (10/23), the annual Homecoming Parade and Pep Rally on Friday (10/24); the homecoming football game versus Penn State on Saturday (10/25) and the Step, Stride and Swim-A-Thon (to benefit the Stephanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research ) on Sunday (10/26). CONTACT: Colette Masterson, (614) 247-8432. SEE: http://homecoming.osu.edu/

The person listed as the CONTACT will have the most current information about the story. Call on our media relations staff for help with any Ohio State story: Liz Cook, (614) 292-7276, Shelly Hoffmanm (614) 247-4748, Jim Lynch, (614) 247-4110, or Amy Murray, (614) 292-8385.