All Eyes on the State of the Union Address

The Stern Great Room was packed with students for the Public Affairs Committee State of the Union address watch party.

The Stern Great Room was packed with students for the Public Affairs Committee State of the Union address watch party.

Campus watch party feels jolt of excitement when President Obama calls out incoming student Estiven Rodriguez '18

The Public Affairs Committee of the Dickinson Student Senate hosted a watch party last night for the State of the Union address, and for the gathered students, the event was punctuated by the president's mention of a future Dickinsonian.

"Estiven Rodriguez ['18] couldn't speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age 9," President Obama told the crowd and the nation. "But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he's going to college this fall."

Rodriguez was in attendance as a special guest of First Lady Michelle Obama, and the moment was not lost on those watching the speech in the Stern Great Room.

"The excitement felt at our first glimpse of Estiven in the first lady's viewing box was palpable," said William Nelligan '14, president of the Student Senate. "We cheered when he was first mentioned."

The watch party, attended by nearly 100 students and assistant professors of political science Vanessa Tyson and David O'Connell, was a lively event that continued on for more than an hour after the president left the podium, and the debate among student became "fierce" at times.

"I think this event shows that there are many ways to contribute to the intellectual lives of students," Nelligan said. "We were really proud of the turnout."

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Published Jan. 29, 2014