Student Democrats: Words were powerful, ‘more than I expected’


Rose Byrne, co-president of Campaign for Change, smiles at a joke in Barack Obama's speech during a viewing party Thursday night in the backyard of a home on East 11th Street. James Brosher Buy Photos

Claps and yells echoed across 11th Street as about 80 students gathered around a projector to watch what – at least so far – they called the biggest speech of the 2008 presidential campaign.

The students came together late Thursday in a small backyard under the title “Campaign for Change” to watch Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., accept the Democratic nomination for president.

“Obama said it best: ‘Our time is now,’” said a teary-eyed Rose Byrne, a senior and co-president of the Campaign for Change, an organization that combines Students for Barack Obama and IU Democrats.

“It was more than I expected,” said junior Suzanne Galblum. “I like how he emulated the ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. It was very powerful.”

Organizers used the event to ask attendees to help register students to vote. During the past three days the group said they registered about 800 students, including many incoming freshmen.

The group’s focus in the coming months is to increase youth participation and registration, which goes beyond their support for Obama.

“There’s one thing more important than getting Obama elected and that’s getting young people involved,” said sophomore Ranger Mack, a Campaign for Change member. He called the youth vote movement a force that will engage students politically for years to come.

“In some ways it is a small democratic revolution,” he said.

Students believe that campuses across Indiana can make Indiana a blue state for the first time in 44 years.

“I like our chances,” said senior Waddell Hamer. “I like what he’s doing. We’ve got a shot in Indiana.”

Many in attendance said it was up to them to make Obama the next president.
“It’s on the backs of us to make this happen,” Mack said.

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