Students Energetically Await President Obama’s Visit, Speech

The news of President Barack Obama’s arrival on campus has sparked excitement throughout the MIT community, but it has also prompted protests.

Jared S. Silvia G is one of the lucky students who received a ticket for Obama’s address. His thesis work investigates the reduction of carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide. According to Silvia, one of his supervisors nominated him for a ticket.

Peter Lu ’11 also received a ticket. During the last two summers, Lu did energy-related work for Biodiesel@MIT and the MIT Electric Vehicle Team. He said that he is a big fan of Obama and hopes to shake his hand if given the chance.

“I was surprised to be picked,” Lu said. He is happy that he was picked despite the fact that he is Canadian, he joked.

Director Ernest J. Moniz of MIT Energy Initiative said that some students and faculty involved in the MITEI have been given tickets to see Obama’s speech in Kresge. Moniz also said that he, too, will be attending the talk.

Protests Expected

During the speech, an estimated 80 protesters will convene on Killian Court to rally for climate action, said Benjamin Scandella G. Scandella and Eric B. Mackres G started organizing the event two weeks ago and that it is only a coincidence that it is happening at the same time Obama is visiting MIT. Scandella said the rally will continue just as scheduled.

Participants will bring laptops and form themselves into a “< 350” shape, representing the amount of carbon dioxide in parts per million required for the Earth to stabilize the climate.

The rally is only one protest among many that will be happening all over the world. On Oct. 24, about 4,500 rallies in over 170 countries will be held in recognition of the International Day of Climate Action. The main purpose of the event is to convince world leaders of climate change before they meet at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark later this year.

Another student, John “Sweet Tea” Dorminy ’13, stood outside the steps of Lobby 7 yesterday wearing a large protest sign. Dorminy said that he and a dozen other students will gather Friday morning when Obama arrives. They will protest against administration policies on healthcare and nuclear energy. Dorminy said that he believes healthcare should be a freedom and choice and nuclear energy should be better utilized.

In an e-mail solicitation, Dorminy asked for students to join him on this morning. “He’s my president … but we’re a democracy and thus I’m going to make it known where I disagree when I have the chance.”