Oct 15, 2019
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An historic day


Nancy Stone / McClatchy Tribune

Three Fresno State students travel to Washington, D.C. to see Obama sworn in

On Tuesday afternoon, Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African-American to sit in office.

Obama’s road to the White House was long and captured the attention of Americans everywhere.

In particular, this election demanded the attention of young people as they were called to “rock the vote.”

Now, more than ever, America began to see young people caring, involved and voting.

The story was no different in Fresno.

For Fresno State students Mark Torres, Willam Oliver and Humberto Avila, this election resounded as more than an opportunity for a new president, but also as an opportunity for a leadership revolution.

A golden ticket

When Obama was first elected, Torres, a graduate student studying public administration, decided that staying in Fresno for the epic inauguration wasn’t an option and booked his flight to Washington, D.C.

Torres said he didn’t even know if he would have a ticket to the event, but knew no matter what, he would be in Washington.

“Going to Washington, D.C. for a presidential inauguration is something that all Americans should be a part of at least once in their lives,” Torres said.

Torres was lucky enough to get a ticket for himself and three others that he gave to friends.

Torres got the tickets from Congressman Devin Nunes after putting his name on a request list.

Torres said that when he found out he was guaranteed a spot at the inauguration, a feeling of sheer excitement came over him.

Politics a college passion

“I have been a volunteer with the Obama Campaign since January 2008, canvassing precincts in Henderson, Nevada, during the early state caucuses,” Torres said.

“Being part of such a large number of people excites me; we will all be a part of something much bigger than ourselves.”

Torres said that even though he has always understood and liked politics, his passion for it didn’t begin until his college years.

“It wasn’t until I got to college that I started becoming more proactive and getting involved and educated on causes and candidates that I was interested in,” Torres said.

“It’s been nice to see other college students getting active politically as well.”

Torres believes that this presidency in particular is something that college students should be enthusiastic about.

“Students should be particularly excited about this election, because of the implications that have led to our country losing its reputability across the world; also because it adversely affects all of our futures in some shape way or form,” Torres said.

Traveling with Torres was fellow Fresno State student and Obama campaign volunteer Will Oliver, who had a different reason for his inauguration excitement.

“I can’t wait to tell my children and grandchildren that I was there and was able to share that moment with President Barack Obama,” Oliver said.

Students think Obama’s message important

Oliver, a senior studying business administration with a minor in political science and journalism, said that his reason for getting involved in the first place was simple, he wanted to be a part of the change he saw Obama bringing, especially to the lives of young people.

“Throughout his campaign, and throughout his career, he has become very sensitive to the issues facing college students,” Oliver said. “…Our president will reach out to young people, and students will have the opportunity for college to be affordable.”

Oliver said that a more affordable tuition isn’t the only thing students should be excited about.

“This inauguration indicates that with a collective effort, young people can have a large imprint on the future direction of this country,” Oliver said.

Humberto Avila, a senior biology student who ran for state assembly in 2008 and another traveler to Washington, D.C., agreed with Oliver.

“Obama’s run for President inspired me to run for state assembly because he showed me that anyone, no matter where you come from, can climb the highest of mountains,” Avila said.

“This is the most important and anticipated inauguration in my lifetime,” Avila said. “To me Obama is the one of the few politicians who really wants to make a difference in this world. I believe that the opportunity for real change has come to America.”

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