Last night, students crowded into Lecture Hall 14 to cheer the president on as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, in a live screening hosted by the College Democrats.
They hosted the event hoping it would inspire students to get more involved in this year’s election, according to Taylor Arluck, president of the College Democrats.
“It’s about engaging the larger youth vote to make a change in America,” said Arluck, a senior double-majoring in philosophy, politics and law and economics. “This was an event to do exactly that.”
He took the large student turnout to indicate the excitement surrounding Obama’s reelection campaign, even in a trying economy.
“That you care enough to watch a speech that will change your lives [is important],” Arluck said. “The students that are here are a testament to how excited the young in this country can be after recession, job losses and unemployment.”
Binghamton University was selected, along with other colleges, to have their screening of the DNC projected behind President Obama during part of his speech.
However, shortly before the event, Arluck received a call saying that C-SPAN and Google+ Hangouts had cancelled the live feeds due to weather-related issues.
Arluck said he began to plan the event over the summer with the Obama for America campaign.
“I had been talking to campaign officials and had been lobbying heavily for Binghamton University to take center stage for the campaign,” he said. “We wanted to play a larger role in the campaign to make a difference.”
He added that although the lecture hall was not projected behind Obama, the rest of the event went as planned.
The students in attendance were generally excited about President Obama’s speech. Some students brought an American flag to wave, others shouted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” and the majority of the attendees applauded throughout.
The lecture hall erupted in applause when Obama addressed the state of education.
“Education was the gateway to opportunity for me and for Michelle,” Obama said, to cheers from the students in the lecture hall. “And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.”
Alisha Ogbewele, a sophomore majoring in accounting, said she believes education is the most important issue in this election.
“Everyone goes to college because that’s what they have to do to get a job,” Ogbewele said. “That’s what they’re told, but then they’re in their 30s still paying back loans.”
Obama said millions of students are paying less for college because they took on a system that wasted taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.
“No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money,” he said.
Francisca Banahene, a graduate student studying industrial systems engineering, credited Obama’s speech with brightening her outlook on the future.
“It was extremely inspiring,” she said. “It really instilled hope in me that the U.S. has potential to finally be on top again. And if Americans support the president for change, we can be properous again.”
Dane Jackson, a senior majoring in political science and treasurer of the College Democrats, praised Obama’s speech for its optimism. She contrasted his speech with those at the Republican National Convention.
“I thought it was great. I think he went for that inspirational drive,” Jackson said, referring to Obama’s speech. “It wasn’t pessimistic like the Tampa speeches last week.”