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Patience Pays Off in Bid to See Obama

The first group of students who gathered to wait in line showed up, for some reason, at Harrelson Hall Sunday night. They were told to go home until further notice.

Student Body President Alex Parker sent out a HOWL email first thing Monday morning telling students the details of ticket distribution for Wednesday afternoon’s visit by President Obama to NC State’s campus.

By 7:15, a small group of Park Scholars was standing outside Reynolds Coliseum, waiting for the first tickets to be handed out at 11 a.m. They were joined by members of the White House advance team and a half-dozen public safety officers to monitor the line.

At 11:01, sophomore political science major Khari Cyrus of Goldsboro, N.C., and sophomore mechanical engineering major Zack Goodman of Salisbury, Md., picked up the first student tickets, which are limited to only a few hundred for Wednesday’s invitation-only event.

Whatever It Takes

The topic of the president’s visit – his second at NC State since taking office and his third overall – had not been announced by the time students began picket up their tickets, but that hardly mattered to those who woke up early, skipped class and stood outside in the shade on the 33-degree morning.

Students in line.
Students line up for a chance to secure tickets to see President Obama.

“Anytime you have a chance to see a sitting president, you have to do whatever it takes to get there,” Cyrus said. “We weren’t here the last time he visited, so I thought I had missed out on that chance.

“I’m just interested to hear what he will talk about. I hope he addresses issues in education.”

In just over 38 minutes, the allotted student tickets were distributed at the Reynolds location, about three-quarters of the overall student total. The other quarter were given out at Wolf Village Apartments on Centennial Campus, beginning at 2 p.m.

A Second Chance

The second line was decidedly lower key, as most students fit inside the hallway next to On the Oval Culinary Creations. Many of those who missed out at Reynolds hurried over to Centennial Campus for a second chance.

Students holding tickets.
Persistence pays off for students hoping to score tickets for Wednesday’s presidential visit.

Emily Bennett, a graduate student in educational psychology, showed up around 10 a.m. and was by herself in line for about 15 minutes until others started showing up. Only a few dozen of the several hundred students in line walked away with tickets when the distribution began at 2 p.m.

“I voted for Obama in both elections and wanted to be here to hear him speak,” said Bennett, a Raleigh native who received her undergraduate degree in education from Meredith. “Personally, I would like to hear him address education and educational reforms, but I am guessing he will talk about economic development.”

There are no public tickets for Wednesday’s visit. The crowd will consist of invited guests, including the students who managed to procure tickets.