FIU shared the political spotlight over the weekend when Hillary Clinton stopped on campus to introduce her vice presidential running mate.
In a lead up to the Democratic National Convention, which starts today, the presumptive presidential nominee made her first joint appearance with Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine since the announcement he would join her on the Democratic ticket. The two addressed a crowd of approximately 5,000 at a public rally on Saturday in FIU Arena.
National coverage of the event once again put FIU in the middle of a heated election season. Back in March, FIU was the backdrop for a visit by then-presidential candidate and former visiting professor Marco Rubio, who was running for the Republication nomination.
“For the university, I think it’s great, the exposure,” said Marion Reyes, an alumna and current graduate student in the College of Business, who came to see Clinton for the sheer experience.
“I’ve never been to anything like that before, so just the event alone was a whole shift in how I saw things,” said Reyes, a self-described independent voter. “Whether or not I agreed or disagreed with anything, it was more just being there, instead of just seeing it or hearing it, like on Twitter or something like that. It was just being there and the first to hear it.”
Senior computer science major Chelsea Benony recognized the value of the Clinton campaign’s holding the event in multicultural South Florida.
“One thing about Florida International University, we have a very large demographic here, a lot of Haitian-American students, a lot of Hispanic students, Hispanic Americans as well as first-generation, second-generation students,” Benony said. “I thought it was very good place to hold it because she’s trying to have a more diverse platform.”
In a recognition of that diversity, Kaine several times addressed the crowd in Spanish, which earned cheers and applause. Democrats now huddle for their four-day convention in Philadelphia on the heels of last week’s Republican convention.