A quiet morning at Tuscarawas Campus for Obama

Justin Metz

This morning’s visit from presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Kent State Tuscarawas Campus had an atmosphere very different from the pandemonium that typically characterizes campaign rallies.

Outside the Founders Hall front entrance, Obama supporters lined up for the event – supposed to begin at noon.

During his visit to the campus, Obama was scheduled to lead a discussion on women and the economy. The event was described as being invitation only, with attendees from the community being invited by the Obama campaign.

There were no angry protesters with picket signs or fanatical Obama fans screaming their support. The only noise came from those in line talking to one another.

Students went on to class as usual, passing by those who eagerly waited in line. Many students were unaware of Obama’s visit to their campus until they actually arrived for class.

“I only had one class today, but I just wanted to see him,” said freshman nursing major, Marie Hlavin. “I’m really surprised that he’s coming here.”

Michael Lehigh, a New Philadelphia resident and Kent State alumnus, showed up at 8:30 a.m. to secure the first place in line.

“I’m retired, so I listen to him every day on the internet,” said Lehigh. “I know the speech, I just wanted to hear him in person and hear him talk more about what’s going to happen here in Tuscarawas County.”

On the front lawn, small groups of students and community members stood in circles carrying on in conversation.

Some members of the community came to hear Obama, not realizing that the event was by invitation only. After discovering that they would not be allowed inside many of them were disappointed but not angry.

Some even stayed at the campus, if only to watch the days events unfold.

Rachel Guerra, a sophomore nursing major at the Tuscarawas campus, stood on the sidewalk holding her 15-week-old daughter Ava, who wore a “My Mama’s For Obama” shirt. She was at the campus to show her support for senator Obama, and hopefully catch a glimpse of him entering the building.

More than anything else, she was excited to hear more about Obama’s stance on women’s issues.

“I’m a single mother, I work and I’m in school. So it’s really important to me that he helps out the females and improves the economy for women,” said Guerra. “It’s important that I can provide for my family. It’s hard these days.”

The doors for the event were scheduled to open at 10 a.m., but security precautions pushed the time back. Nearly an hour later supporters still remained in line, but there was no turning back now.

Everyone was anxious to hear what senator Obama had to say concerning Ohio.

Contact Regional Campus Reporter Justin Metz at [email protected].