“I went expecting to see politicians. I was ready to hear maneuvering and rhetoric, and so I was surprised when a local unemployed RV worker introduced Barack Obama. I expect there were many unemployed people in attendance. Going to this town hall meeting helped me to put a face with a number like 15.3 percent — our local unemployment rate. It’s easy to ignore a number. It’s hard to not be moved when somebody asks for help to regain their home or job.”

–Joe Friesen is a junior environmental science major from Goshen.

“I was especially pleased with [Obama’s] emphasis on creating jobs that explore and develop renewable energy and take our dependence off of fossil fuels. President Obama addressed the fact that this economic plan is not perfect but also mentioned that it does not have any earmarks and that the Obama administration is working toward more ethical politics.”

–Hannah D. Miller is a senior peace, justice and conflict studies major from Scottdale, Pa.

“For me there is a line between support for Obama’s policies, and support for Obama as the president. On the campaign trail, Obama was an ideology, but he is now in reality the president of the United States. Therefore he is directly responsible for our wars of aggression, our missile launches and the philosophy of force that, though he has reinterpreted it, is still central in our foreign policy. I support the direction that the president is taking with the country, but I’m uneasy with support of the man, which inherently includes support for his office.”

–Lane Miller is a senior Bible and religion major from Danvers, Ill.

“One of my … concerns was regarding the future of those who will take the construction jobs, many of them coming out of the RV industry, getting trained to be able to build a road or whatever, and in a year or two, they’ll finish those projects, and then what? These projects are all ideal for the well-being of the nation, the economy, for Elkhart County. But what about those workers? Where will they go then? I am a strong supporter of the plan, and I see it necessary to do something about it now, but it wouldn’t hurt to think about the future of the workers as well.”

Jheny Bianney Nieto is a junior social work major from Three Rivers, Mich.

“The dire situation in northern Indiana, made any news welcome. The vast majority of those in attendance were delighted to have the president’s attention directed towards the suffering Elkhart County. Even those who might not have ascribed to the same political agenda were anxious to listen how Barack was bringing his promised change. Generally, there were minor criticisms of the proposed legislation but everyone echoed President Obama’s sentiments. ‘Four more years of the same is not acceptable.’ The future looks brighter now.”

–Brian Wyse is a senior accounting major from Seattle, Wash.

For more reflections, from both students and faculty, click here.