Elon community gathers to watch inauguration of President Trump
The first floor of Moseley Center provided a popular gathering place to watch the country's 45th president be sworn in.
Elon students, faculty and staff tuned in Friday in the first floor of Moseley Center to watch as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the country's 45th president.
With the events surrounding the inauguration of Trump as the next president played out on screens around the room, some people watched with expressions of excitement, others clapped and still others wore expressions of concern. But as Matt Furlong '18, a Trump supporter, said following the conclusion of Trump's inaugural address, there's a lot of value in having a group with a broad range of political views able to gather peacefully to watch the transfer of power in the U.S. government.
"I think it's great we can come together like this," said Furlong, who said he clapped several times during the speech.
While he admitted there were many who might not agree with Trump's election as president, he was hoping that in his inaugural address they heard a message of unity, not division. "I think a speech like this, hopefully they can appreciate the message of unity and coming together," said the Long Island, N.Y. native.
The Inauguration Watch Event on Friday in the Moseley Center was one of many events held throughout the recent election season to help bring together the broader campus community to share in experiencing the political process, and also to help generate discussion and community, said Bob Frigo, associate director of the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement.
Frigo has been active with the Elon University Political Engagement Work Group, which is a nonpartisan collaborative team that involves students, faculty, and staff representing areas such as the Department of Political Science, Study USA, Center for Leadership, Student Government Association, Residence Life, Student Media, Truitt Center and National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement. The group’s charge is to implement voter education activities and increase student participation in local, state, and national voting and election initiatives.
"Events like these help raise the level of civic and political engagement on our campus, and we plan to keep up the effort," Frigo said.
Among those gathered in the Moseley Center Friday was Caroline Blanchard '17 of Lakeville, Minnesota, who attended not out of support for Trump, but through her continued interest in the election. Blanchard said she had hoped to hear changes in the rhetoric that she heard from Trump during the election. When asked if she had, Blanchard said, "nothing different."
Furlong saw things differently, saying that hearing Trump's inaugural address made him even more excited about the next four years. A transfer student, he said he's found in Elon an environment that is much more tolerant of a diversity of viewpoints, and gatherings like the one on Friday go a long way to cultivate that.