President Obama visited Binghamton University Friday as part of his tour of upstate New York, planned to promote his proposal to make college more affordable.

The conversation, though, extended far beyond the scope of the plan, as the president fielded questions from the audience about green energy, racism and veterans’ affairs. The talk lasted for just over an hour, with about 300 students, faculty, staff and media members in attendance.

Obama began speaking by discussing how important getting an education was for both him and his wife.

“The only reason I’m here today is because I got a great education,” Obama said. “It’s the essence of the American dream for those who are willing to work hard, to achieve their dreams. And it’s essential to make sure people can afford to go to college.”

The president went on to outline the main points of his proposal as well as take questions from students, faculty and staff in the audience.

“This will be a pretty informal affair—well, as informal as it gets when the president comes,” Obama said of the town hall-style event. The president took questions from the audience in “boy-girl-boy-girl” order, to ensure fairness.

Audience members were chosen from a lottery open to students, faculty and staff. Those who were not selected could watch the president’s remarks through a live stream on the White House website, which was also shown to students in Watters Theater.

Check Monday’s Pipe Dream for the full story on President Obama’s visit to campus