Cheers and applause broke out in Tyler Haynes Commons Thursday night as Illinois Sen. Barack Obama became the first African-American to receive and accept the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
Students, faculty, alumnae and staff watched Obama lay out his policies and campaign on a large projection screen in the Game Room at the Democratic National Convention Viewing Party held by Richmond College and the Center for Civic Engagement. Roughly 130 people filtered in and out during the two and a half hour event, many staying the entire time to watch the speech.
There was applause from students throughout the speech, and some gave Obama a standing ovation. But those who commented on the speech afterward had mixed opinions.
"I thought he spoke well but I just don't like his policies," sophomore Caleb Routhier said.
Senior Andy Feltzin said he originally supported Sen. Hilary Clinton of New York but decided when she left the race to support Obama. Feltzin said he liked Obama's speech and most of his policies, but not agree with Obama's stance on clean coal.
"At the end of the day I'm probably still going to vote for him," Feltzin said. "Of course, it's not really fair to behoove that before I watch McCain's speech."
Junior Amber Ducksworth said she had never felt an emotion like she did while listening to Obama.
"I am just charged with energy, with feeling," Ducksworth said, "... and knowing that so much more can happen and [that] we can make this happen ... that Obama is the one who can make this happen."
Ducksworth also won "The Audacity of Hope," one of Obama's books, in a raffle that all students who attended could enter.
Darius "Rasheed" Nazeri, a junior and president the university's Students for Barack Obama group, said he was speechless. Several members of UR for Obama attended the event, and Nazeri said they were ready to continue campaigning now that Obama had officially been nominated.
"We encourage new voters including young people to get involved in the political process given the seriousness and the importance of this election," Nazeri said.
The viewing party is the third hosted by RC and the CCE since the presidential primaries began last semester. The events have had a similar turnout and response.
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When asked about the event, Ducksworth said she loved it. She said she feels that the current college generation is seen as complacent and this election can prove otherwise.
"We're at the time where a lot of people are saying that college students are complacent, that we're not doing enough ... that we don't have the spirit of the 60s," Ducksworth said, "You can't sit back and just let things happen. You need to get involved."
Contact staff writer Stephanie Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org
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