Just past the HUB-Robeson Center and the audience filing in to hear Vice President Joe Biden speak, another student stood waving a red, white and blue sign that read, “2012: Just ‘Biden’ Our Time.”
The student and his peers from the Penn State Chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) set up camp alongside Pollock Road Tuesday morning, holding handmade posters protesting the current administration, passing out miniature American flags and conversing with passersby.
Though it seemed like YAF President Samuel Settle and his group were opposing the vice president’s visit, Settle said their real goal was to reach out to other students who are frustrated with current political leaders, but don’t feel as though other students share their discontent.
“It’s a message to the general student body: If you’re feeling like a minority, you’re not,” Settle (junior-political science and history) said.
But, Settle said, that’s not to say he and his fellow YAF members weren’t trying to get those in power to pay attention to them, either.
“It’s important that the administration knows that we’re not a voting bloc that are just going to blindly follow them off a cliff,” he said. “We’re not someone to count on for votes and then cast aside for four years.”
YAF member Lauren DeRoo echoed Settle’s statements, saying the upcoming elections will probably reflect that students are disappointed with the progress of the Obama administration.
“People voted for Obama because he was a pop culture icon,” DeRoo (sophomore-political science) said. “And we haven’t seen any reason to believe he’s ‘The One.’ ”
On issues such as unemployment, rising tuition rates and addressing healthcare reform, Settle said President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden have not put enough of an emphasis on the problems facing young adults.
Settle and DeRoo said the feedback they received from other students was mostly positive — DeRoo said she was surprised she didn’t get into any “battles” with political opponents.
But some students, including Genna Mott, said she wasn’t entirely happy to see the YAF table set up outside of the Biden rally.
Though the YAF demonstration didn’t take an aggressive approach or create any chaos, Mott (sophomore-chemistry) said she still didn’t think it was an appropriate way to welcome a national leader to campus.
“It wasn’t too much, but it was still inappropriate for the situation,” she said. “Especially when someone like the vice president is coming.”