Sen Bernie Sanders speaks at BW

BW students plugged into the Democratic process at a campaign rally for the presidential hopeful.

Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Draws Crowd at Baldwin Wallace Rally

February 25, 2016

Sen Bernie Sanders speaks at BWVermont Senator Bernie Sanders (D) came to Baldwin Wallace University today to speak to a crowd of about 3,500 people from the collegiate and greater Cleveland communities. 

The doors to the Lou Higgins Recreation Center opened at 7:15 a.m., giving rally attendees who lined up in light snow some much-needed warmth from the February cold. Eager to see a potential presidential candidate speak, observers had shown up hours early, wearing promotional gear, carrying hand-made signs, and anxious to get good seats.

Before the Speech

As bleacher seats and open floor space began to fill, the preprogram began with a welcome and introduction from Baldwin Wallace's College Democrats President Rachel Szeles, performances by Mr. Sun's Echo, BW's student a cappella group, and an introduction by Student Body Senator Jerald Goins, who advocated for student support of Sanders in the presidential election.

bernie-sanders-2-previewBetween the BW performers and speakers, outside speakers took to the stage to give short speeches of support, a local hip-hop violin musician Humble G performed, and CJ Harkness, BW Director of Diversity, who also serves as a pastor for Mount Zion Church, led the invocation.

Crowd-Rousing Speeches

The program officially began at 10:30, when former state Senator Nina Turner took the stage to introduce Sanders. After Turner awakened the audience with an invigorating, lively speech, Sanders took the stage for a little less than an hour to discuss issues and causes important to his campaign and his "political revolution." 

You can read more about some of the issues Sanders discussed, along with student reaction, in a story by WCPN ideastream reporter and BW broadcasting graduate, Elizabeth Miller '15, or in The Cleveland Jewish News. To watch the full speech, check out C-Span or Fox8.

Baldwin Wallace Student Experiences

BW has a long history of encouraging political engagement by welcoming presidential candidates to campus with visits from Ronald Reagan and Jess Jackson to John McCain and Barack Obama.

During the Sanders event, Baldwin Wallace students were tapped as volunteers to shepherd the press and welcome the audience. Others immersed themselves in the event as photographers, videographers and reporters for student media, as well as producing a simulcast for the student-run WBWC The Sting radio.

BW's political science professor Tom Sutton told The Toledo Blade that student interest and support for Sanders is strong. "Democrats clearly need young people to turn out and vote for their nominee. Clearly there's an overwhelming amount of support for Bernie Sanders,” Sutton said.