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Student organization's efforts bring President Obama to Athens Campus

College Democrats work to pull together a presidential visit in less than a week

The efforts of Ohio University's College Democrats are bringing President Barack Obama to the University's Athens Campus for a campaign stop on Wednesday.

President of the College Democrats Shannon Welch, a senior in political science, said that the president's campaign approached her organization about the rally last week.

"His campaign decided, based on how much work we had done, that they wanted to bring the president here," she said. "That was all facilitated through my organization."

In less than one week's time, Welch and the College Democrats have borne the large task of helping to prepare for a sitting president to visit the Athens Campus.

"[The president's campaign] reached out to me last Wednesday evening, and they immediately started to get the ball rolling on where he would be speaking. I spoke to Vice President [of Student Affairs Ryan] Lombardi that evening, and we were able to make it public on Friday," Welch said.

For the members of the College Democrats, who are balancing class work and the campaign, the past week has been hectic.

"The biggest thing we've been doing is ticket distribution and letting people know where we are. People are definitely coming to us and are excited for the visit," Welch said.

But more than the logistical accomplishment of pulling the rally together, Welch is excited about her organization's legacy in Ohio University history.

"This is the first sitting president to come to Athens since Lyndon B. Johnson announced his war on poverty," she said. "I'm really proud to bring the president to Ohio University and Athens. I know it's really important to OU and to Athens as a community. I'm really proud of my organization because I didn't do this on my own."

Welch added that it is important for students of any affiliation to be politically active.

"Everything affects us whether we realize it or not," she said. "We go to a public university, and politics impact our lives. To be informed and involved and to fight for the people who fight for you is important."

President Obama will speak on the College Green Wednesday. Gates open at 3 p.m.

WOUB Public Media will live stream President Barack Obama's speech at woub.org.

The president will speak on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium's West Portico, facing the College Green.

The campaign event begins at 5 p.m. and the speech is expected to begin around 6 p.m.