Jan 202009
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Amid throngs of students toting beer-filled glasses and middle-aged Fort Collins residents crowding around a potluck dinner table, Avogadro’s Number on Mason and Myrtle Streets Tuesday night saw many opinions. But one in particular echoed among most in attendance.

As President Obama takes office, he still has much to prove to citizens throughout the nation.

Though cries of “We love Obama” filled the bar’s crowded restaurant and outside courtyard, both skepticism and excitement rang from the local clientele as they waited for coverage of the Commander-in-Chief Ball in Washington D.C. to air on Avos’ two projector screens.

Standing in a circle of three friends with a Five Barrel brew in hand, CSU undeclared freshman Brooke Martinez said she’s hesitant to buy into the hype surrounding Obama’s election and his eminent presidency.

“It’s kind of scary,” Martinez said. “(Obama’s) promised a lot of things, but how are we supposed to know they’re coming?”

Her friend, M/gan Kelly, said she wanted to avoid joining what she called the bandwagon of those blindly following the newly elected leader and insisted she’d come out to support the local jazz bands playing late into the evening.

“Any change is good, though,” the senior Spanish and history major said, “because we can expand the boundaries we’ve created, and we can explore how far we can push them.”

The crowd that remained outside versus the one that sat near the buffet line inside the bar expressed differences in outlook as well as a clear distinction in age.

Surrounded by groups of residents a generation or two older than those in the courtyard, Martha Coleman, a member of the Larimer Obama Group, said Obama’s call for Americans to invest in a day of service inspired the night’s events.

The potluck-style dinner, which required all attendees to either bring a dish to share or to pay a $10 entrance fee, was Coleman’s brainchild and brought in over $2,380 in donations to the local Homelessness Prevention Initiative, a project with which Coleman’s group partnered to serve the community.

“What we’re doing here was activated by Obama’s request for change, and what we’re doing now will activate change and will motivate people,” Coleman said. “That’s the direct connection between Obama and Fort Collins.”

Sue Beck-Ferkiss, the executive director for HPI, said she hoped change would carry not just past last year’s election and Obama’s inauguration but also past the president’s first 100 days in office and even past his first term.

“I hope it carries past his second term,” she said, with cheers coming from the crowd in response.

“I’ve never seen this kind of excitement for an inauguration, and with it coming on the heels of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it really just makes us feel there is hope for our country.”

And while Allison Stafford, a second-year water shed science graduate student, said she was excited to celebrate “such a big day,” she also said the nation needs to be careful to not make a messiah out of Obama.

“He’s got a lot to prove and a lot of change to bring, because we need it,” she said. “But it’s so awesome to feel proud of my country again. It’s been a long time.”

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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