The presidential inauguration may have taken place in the middle of Princeton final exams, but students across campus put aside their study guides and review sheets to gather around the nearest television or computer monitor and watch Barack Obama become the 44th president of the United States.
Suvi Gross ’10 and Lucia Diaz ’10 were among a few hundred people who watched the swearing-in ceremony in Frist Campus Center, where free snacks were served from a long table festooned with red, white, and blue. “I have an exam tonight, and we were studying over there,” Gross said, gesturing at a nearby table covered by physics texts, “but we just wanted to watch.”
Diaz added that, like many other undergraduates, 2008 marked her first time voting in a presidential election. “I really read speeches, and actually looked into what the candidates were saying,” she said.
The two students said that their physics exam kept them from traveling with classmates to Washington to witness the historic event. “Princeton wouldn’t reschedule the exam for me to go, which made me very upset,” Gross said.
Other students, though, were glad to be watching Obama’s inauguration on campus. “It’s an exciting time to be a student here, and really on all college campuses,” said Alexander Leaf ’12. “You can see the energy with which people are embracing this historic occasion.”
Students, faculty, and staff filled Dodds Auditorium in Robertson Hall to watch the ceremonies on a large screen, cheering along with the crowds on the mall and standing to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” as it concluded the ceremonies.