Donned with reelection pins for Obama’s 2012 campaign, CU students came to show support for the upcoming presidential election by gathering for the Greater Together Obama Youth Summit.
The event was held Wednesday evening in Duane Physics, with approximately 100 people in attendance to show support for Obama’s campaign. The purpose of the summit was to discuss President Obama’s national campaign strategy and to give students the opportunity to get involved in the campaign.
Hosted by Organizing for America – Colorado, the event featured guest speakers behind the Obama for America campaign: David Simas, Obama for America campaign advisor; Buffy Wicks, Operation Vote director and James Kvaal, the campaign’s policy director. A panel of students also interacted with the largely student audience, answering questions along with the guest speakers. Actress America Ferrera was supposed to speak at the summit for her involvement in the campaign, however she cancelled last minute due to personal issues, according to the event’s Facebook page.
Cathryn Houdek, a 21-year-old senior sociology major, said that her support of Obama’s campaign came from some of its specific focuses.
“I’m here because I support Obama, mainly because of his actions on behalf of healthcare for women,” Houdek said.
Erin Hauer, an 18-year-old freshman environmental design major, said that she came to the event to educate herself on the ins-and-outs of the campaign.
“I feel like I need to be able to back myself up when confronted about my political views, and get information [about the campaign] and know what I can do to help the campaign and show the campaign that my support is here,” Hauer said.
The Greater Together Obama Youth Summit targeted the college-age audience by asking them to interact with the panel via text and Twitter. Attendees were advised to text Buffs to a number that would then send them updates in regards to the campaign. For each topic that was discussed, such as healthcare, job growth in the economy and education, a student was asked to join the panel and the audience asked questions from their seat or via Twitter.
The panel was interrupted by a group of students who stood up in the middle of a student question and started chanting. The three students were said to be members of the Occupy CU movement.
Buffy Wicks, Operation Vote director for Obama for America, said that CU, as well as the state of Colorado, has the ability to make an impact on the upcoming election.
“We are at a pivotal point in this campaign,” Wicks said, “This campus will play an important role [in the upcoming election]. Colorado is an important state, and a battle ground because it is a swing state.”
In the 2008 presidential election, according to statistics from NPR, Colorado’s final votes came in 53.5 percent for Obama and 44.9 percent for McCain, affirming Colorado’s reputation for being a “swing state.” In the 2004 elections, Colorado was a Republican state, the majority of the votes being for former Republican president, George W. Bush.
David Simas, Obama for America campaign advisor, said that in the upcoming elections, the choice of which candidate to vote for should be an easy decision for the audience.
“When you think about the choices that the president is offering and what the other candidates are offering, it is a clear choice,” Simas said. “The other side says ‘you are on your own,’ and we, the president’s side say, ‘we are there for each other’.”
James Kvaal, policy director for the campaign, said that the accomplishments of Obama’s presidency need to be protected, and that his supporters need to work hard to ensure that happens.
“I think that there is something very important to remember about this election,” Kvaal said. “That is that we are not done, and all of the work that has been done these past three years can be undone.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Bethany Morris at Bethany.email@example.com.