State of the Union Viewing Party Draws Crowd

Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama delivered the much anticipated State of the Union Address, an annual report of the nation’s state of affairs and upcoming agenda. As people tuned in nationwide, students at USF gathered in Parina Lounge for a watch party. The International Studies Program teamed up with the McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good to put on the event, which went on from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

During the speech, cameramen from ABC 7 News filmed the event and interviewed Corey Cook, assistant politics professor and director of the McCarthy Center. A cameraman from ABC 7 said that the station was filming local events for the State of the Union address.

In an interview with the Foghorn, Cook stressed the importance for students to watch the address because “this is the most important speech given by the president this year on international and domestic issues. One of the values of USF is to link the curriculum with the real world.”

International Studies Majors Morgan McCloskey and Alisha Herrick attended the viewing party. Both are on the Peer Advisory Board for the International Studies program and offered their opinions on national and international issues.

State of the Union by Sean Culligan
State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama, International Studies Program, McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good, ABC 7 News, Corey Cook, Jamey V. Padojino (Emily Bogden/Foghorn)

In response to Obama’s address, Herrick said, “Obama’s effort to international policies is great because it was damaged in the previous presidency. The removal of troops from the Middle East is commendable, but I would like him to talk about different regions and a broader range of topics.”
McCloskey agreed and said, “to think that domestic laws don’t affect the rest of the world is just naive.”

As Democrats and Republicans sat together on Capitol Hill, the USF community of various majors and backgrounds sat in silence when the speech began. The audience listened attentively, murmuring comments to one another as Obama laid out his plan for the coming year. Amidst with the somber mood in the speech, Obama’s joke about salmon injected laughter into the room.

During the event, the International Studies Program invited the USF community to State of the World, a series of free events which will be taking place on-campus throughout the semester. The first event was a response to the State of the Union address, featuring a panel of Politics Department professors who lead the discussion at Fromm Hall on Feb. 2.

Free pizza and cookies were offered for everyone watching the speech, but all the complimentary food disappeared as quickly as it arrived.
Public Affairs graduate student Angelina Pena said, “Obama covered a lot of current events, especially the Arizona shooting. I’ve always watched the State of the Union addresses though I view the speeches as a stand-off.”

In a response to the issues raised in Obama’s address, Cook said, “The speech was very provocative. There was nothing particularly new. Obama is finding common ground with the Democrats and Republicans asking them to let him raise the idea of an issue, unlike Clinton who tried to poke at the Republicans. Obama is saying to find a commonality.”

To watch the ABC 7 news coverage of the State of the Union address viewing event, visit:

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