Close to 100 students, faculty members and administrators eagerly gathered in the lobby of Carnesecca Arena to watch the historic inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.
The viewing party was held by Participate in ’08, a collaboration between College Democrats, College Republicans, Student Government and administration. Participate in ’08 has held events throughout the Fall Semester to rally students to register to vote and to vote on Election Day. “This viewing of the inauguration is the culmination of everything,” said Dominic Scianna, assistant vice president of Media Relations. “This is a wonderful historic event. This is a great, fitting end to the election, and we would like to see the youth continue their participation.”
Joseph Sciame, vice president of Community Relations, shared similar feelings.
“This is a proud day in America,” he said. “We are the beneficiaries of this day.”
Students could also watch the inauguration on Jan. 20 in the Moot Courtroom in Belson Hall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. When Obama took the presidential oath, the crowd erupted in applause and a few students started crying.
“I wanted to watch this because it is an historic event,” said Deanna Scinto, a sixth-year pharmacy student.
Gerard Murell, an international student from Trinidad and Tobago, said that he “wanted to watch this in a group to feel the experience.”
“In my country we have already had black leaders, so at first I could not fully appreciate this event, but by watching people’s reactions I am starting to,” he said.
Nick Roloson, president of College Democrats felt moved watching the inauguration at St. John’s.
“I don’t know what to feel right now,” he said. I am so proud of our country.”
During his inaugural address, Obama, who was sworn in using the same Bible that President Abraham Lincoln used during his inauguration in 1861, stated, “Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.
They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.” Sciame noted that he was happy with the student turnout at the event.
“It was a hard day since school did not start yet, but I am proud of the turnout,” he said.
Roloson was also pleased with the turnout.
“I plan to keep people involved even though the presidential election is over,” he added.