Excitement, stress build as the President prepares to visit campus

Aaron Kinney

The sudden announcement that President Barack Obama would be speaking at Kent State last Thursday left student organizations with few days to prepare, but the Undergraduate Student Government has risen to the occasion.

“It’s always difficult when you have a figure of this magnitude coming to campus,” Evan Gildenblatt, USG’s executive director, said. “It’s not something that we’ve ever really had to deal with before, so everything is new to us.”

Preparations for the president’s Wednesday afternoon arrival have gone smoothly, despite the changes to routine. The College Democrats, which has had to recruit almost 200 volunteers in preparation, remain optimistic.

“It’s been a lot of long nights,” said Jake Green, the Kent State College Democrats’ communications director. “The whole ticket distribution event yesterday required a lot of planning, as well as recruitment for volunteers for both yesterday and Wednesday.”

All tickets were given out in a single morning, after thousands lined up for a chance to watch President Obama speak.

Gildenblatt said the presence of a president on campus is a milestone for Kent State.

“First of all, it means that we really are on the map, academically and socially,” he said. “We’re recognized as a superior institution. What it does for us, also, is … it excites our students and faculty, and the members of the community.”

Green said that it’s not easy to prepare for a visit from the president, but the effort will be worth it.

“We hope that Wednesday goes off without a hitch,” Green said, “and we’re pretty sure that it’s going to.”

Contact Aaron Kinney at [email protected].