Students react to Bernie Sanders’ speech on Penn State’s campus

Students and attendees gathered outside of Rec Hall as early as 8 a.m. Tuesday morning to ensure a spot at the Bernie Sanders rally. Wearing “#FeelTheBern” T-shirts, stickers and various other kinds of gear, the crowd caused the venue to fill up quickly with an attendance of 6,655.

Before Vermont Sen. Sanders took the stage, students Jacob Ryan and Lauren Smith both addressed the audience on behalf of the senator and invoked strong reactions from the crowd.

“I was pretty impressed by their speeches. I didn’t know there were student clubs like [Students for Sanders] on campus,” Maryam Shahri said.

Ryan, the director of Centre County for Sanders, said he vividly remembered the day Sanders first announced his campaign because it was a turning point in his life.

“Bernie is here today at Penn State because he truly cares about us,” Ryan said. “He is a man of consistency who knows what it’s like to not have everything handed to him.”

Ryan said he believes Sanders is so popular among millennials because he makes an effort to show the younger generation they matter. Sanders is the ideal candidate for Ryan because the senator isn’t too far to the right or the left.

Bernie Sanders stopped by India Pavilion for dinner before addressing the crowd at Rec Hall

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People hold up signs in support of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders at Rec Hall on Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Antonella Crescimbeni/The Daily Collegian.

“There isn’t one issue that I disagree with him on,” Ryan said.

In just a little over an hour, the presidential candidate covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from drug abuse to equal pay.

“I think he did an awesome job tonight,” Jacob Letts said. “He discussed every issue mentioned on his site.”

Letts (junior-mechanical engineering) said he supports Sanders because he constantly reminds Americans, namely millennials, they are capable of changing the political system. Letts said he was so inspired by the senator’s words, he lost his voice from cheering him on at the rally.

The rally seemed to have a positive impact on the crowd, regardless of whether or not they had already attended a Sanders rally.

Nina Walk, a Penn College student, traveled from Williamsport to hear the senator speak for the first time.

“I’ve heard what he’s had to say before but it was great seeing him in person,” Walk said. “You could really feel his momentum building tonight.”

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders spoke to a crowd of Penn State students and State College locals Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Rec Hall.

Tuesday night was Rudy Fuzaylov’s second time listening to Sanders as he had traveled to Pittsburgh over a month ago to support him. Fuzaylov (junior-political science and English) said he finds Sanders’ speeches to be very empowering.

“He’s the only candidate talking about climate change as a legitimate issue,” Fuzaylov said. “He’s what you want in a candidate.”

Fuzaylov also said Sanders is considered poor by political standards.

Sanders made a point to be a part of the State College community during his visit. He walked around downtown and had dinner at India Pavilion, a popular restaurant among college students, before the rally.

With less than a week to go for the Pennsylvania primary, Ryan said he believes Sanders has a very strong chance at clinching the commonwealth’s delegates.

“There was over 6,000 people in this room and a bunch of people were turned away at the door,” Ryan said. “I definitely believe tonight showed Pennsylvania’s interest and support in Bernie.”

To read the article which was originally published on The Daily Collegian, click here.


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