Campus Community Observes Obama Inauguration
Students, faculty and staff set aside homework, classes and other activities for a few hours Jan. 20 to observe the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, part of Alma College's celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Week.
viewing screens were set up in the Dow Science Center, Swanson Academic
Center and other campus locations, and pizza was served as the campus
community observed the oath of office, the inauguration speech and
Students presented their reflections of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy during Dreamfest '09.
(from left): Joe Conroy, former state senator; Calvin Hilson, 2006 Alma
College graduate; and Ed Lorenz, professor of history/political
science. They discussed "Where Do We Go From Here?" in the context of
the Obama inauguration.
Quotes From the Panel Discussion
Hilson, a police officer
in Las Vegas, said: "We have made progress in that America has elected
a black president. However, progress has slowed. As a police officer, I
see many black teenagers who don't know or understand history and the
struggle of America. They don't go to school, don't learn. ...
Where do we go from here? Love, understanding and hope. Don't give up
on people or judge them by where they come from or by their skin color.
... As a student, I loved that I had a dialog at Alma. I learned.
Faculty helped me."
Lorenz, who grew up Baltimore and lived through the consequences of racism in education, said: "I'm amazed to have lived long enough to see someone elected who was not from the white elite. ... President Obama faces major challenges in dealing with the national failure to understand the uses of power: We have overestimated power abroad, and underestimated power in domestic policy for doing good. ... We need high quality people in public service."
Conroy, who participated in civil rights and education reform during a long career in public service, said: "Prepare yourself. You will be tested. You need to improve yourself, so that you are qualified to do what you want. That's how this generation will succeed. The message of Martin Luther King Jr. will be more open in your mind to decisions that are positive."
Alma Students Drive to D.C. for Inauguration
Alma students gathered on campus to view the televised coverage of the
presidential inauguration ceremony, sophomores Brandt Ayoub and Paul
Cline decided they wanted to be part of the festivities. They jumped in
their car on Sunday and drove straight to Washington, D.C., where they
met up with Libertyville, Ill., freshman Alexandra Brewer.
Arriving late Sunday, they stayed with members of Brewer’s family on the outskirts of Washington.
“We got on the metro around 6 a.m. Tuesday and then got in line for the Mall at around 6:30 a.m.,” says Ayoub. “We finally got to the base of the Washington Monument around 10 a.m., where there was a giant Jumbotron screen.
“It was cold and an extremely long time to stand, but the energy and crowd were totally inspiring,” he said. “It was awesome to be one of the 1.8 million people in the Mall at this historic moment. When the Obamas were introduced just before the swearing in, the crowd reaction was deafening.”
Following the ceremony and unable to gain access to the parade route, the trio did some limited sightseeing on foot before heading back to Michigan. They were back on campus Wednesday afternoon.
Posted: Fri, January 23rd, 2009 at 4:44PM