The race for the White House is officially underway. On Saturday morning nearly 30 Carleton students boarded a school bus heading to the Greater Together Youth Summit at the University of Minnesota – one of the first big events for the Obama campaign in Minnesota.
The event was an opportunity for politically active students from different colleges to get together. Students came from the University of Minnesota, Macalester College, St. Olaf College, Augsberg College, Hamline University and Carleton.
Jeremy Bird, the National Field Director for Obama for America, spoke at the event.
“The difference is you,” Bird said to the crowd of excited college students. “You are literally the difference in this election.”
Bird not only got students excited about the campaign by explaining how big of an impact they could have, but also highlighted some things the president has done for students.
“His priorities were to get more money to students,” Bird said, citing the fact that Obama had increased Pell Grants and Federal loans to help with the growing cost of college.
He also pointed to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, healthcare and the economy as big issues that directly apply to students.
Actor and Minnesota native Josh Hartnett joined Bird and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak at the rally.
“Let’s start early, let’s start strong, let’s make a difference,” Hartnett said.
While Hartnett was the featured celebrity guest, he wasn’t the reason most students went.
“I’ve been interested in politics and read a lot of news about it,” said Drew Polasky ’15, “so I felt like I should actually do something.”
Emily Ager ’13 is a volunteer for Organizing for America and helped organize the Carleton students.
“I volunteered in the 2008 campaign and just wanted to be involved again this year,” she said.
Ager, one of many Carleton students volunteering for the campaign, thought that this event was particularly special because “it’s important to organize as many college students as possible.”
Students left the event with a free t-shirt, information on how to get involved, campaign materials and the energy to start working.
“Are you willing to fight?” asked Rybak. “Because this is going to be a tough battle.”