Students react to President Obama taking the oath of office. (Leah Reidenbach / Valencia Voice)


By Alex Barrett
Valencia Voice

As many as 2 million people from around the globe gathered in Washington to witness President Barack Obama’s inaugural address. Millions more watched from home on television screens, Internet feeds, anxiously awaiting the 44th president to be sworn in and give his first Presidential speech.

There aren’t nearly 2 million people on Valencia’s West campus, but the HSB building could have been as bustling as the Washington monument spire if there were room.

Theater 105A was crammed full of professors, students, and staff seeking to spy the event. Students popped in and out hastily as they went between classes, if only to get a glimpse of history; not just a presidential swear-in — the first African American President in the history of the United States.

Among these individuals, Linda Ramirez was anxious to see the speech, and was patiently waiting to view the event.

“He represents change on many topics, and we need it,” said Ramirez, when asked what she thought the new president would represent for this country.

“It is great to be able to watch a piece of history like this.”

Andrew Jammer, another student catching the speech, didn’t get the luxury of sitting down to watch the event.

“I ran all the way here from building five, and now I have to go back,” said Jammer. “But the volume wasn’t working on the TV there and I wasn’t about to miss any more of this speech.”

In the auditorium, onlookers alike gathered to gaze upon the giant screens showing the live CNN coverage on location via an internet feed, and that included Xenia Conquy, professor of environmental science on the West Campus.

“This means a lot to me specifically because we finally have an environmentally friendly president in office. He won’t rely on oil as much and will limit wasteful expenditures.”  said Conquy. She took her class away from the daily teachings down to see history unfold, and they were there in numbers. “He genuinely seeks peace as well. We can’t overlook that as being vitally important.”

And if that wasn’t enough, the overflow from the classroom went into the Little Bean Cafe across the hallway, with another hundred people gathered to view the proceedings on the cafe’s sole, 27 inch television screen. There were refreshments provided by the SGA, and a scribble-board so those that chose to could write their name for support. There was plenty of support to be seen, as the crowds erupted in unison as soon as now-President Obama completed his oath.