Servicenation Forum/Obamacain/McBama – New Details

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As the joint Obama-McCain forum rolls closer, more and more details are beginning to emerge. Last night, Bwog told you about the councils’ and groups’ plan for Thursday. Now, more details are emerging about the event itself.

The first issue is seating. Many of you are no doubt wondering when those emails granting you entrance will show up. It turns out that they will not arrive in your inboxes until tomorrow morning. The lottery was conducted early Monday afternoon, but Secret Service checks and other delays will keep the final list from being sent out until Tuesday.

Sadly, chances of getting a ticket are not exactly high. Sources told Bwog that over 15,000 people registered for the lottery. 300 people were selected, but only the first 100 names on that list are guaranteed entrance. The other 200 names will be put on a waitlist, with no more than half of them getting in. The final student count depends on how many seats there are, but suffice it to say that, even if you managed to brave the internet traffic jam to enter the lottery, your chances of actually sitting inside are only about 1%.

More details about event, including who else will be sitting in Roone, and what to do if you’re not able to get in, after the jump.

For those of you who must resort to alternative viewing, there will be several options. First, there will definitely be a Jumbotron, but, unlike last year’s event when it faced one of the lawns, this year it will face Low Steps. The organizers believe this will allow more students to watch, as well as increase visibility and attendance at the council/group-led “service fair” preceding the forum on Low Plaza.

If you would rather stay in your room or lounge, the forum will be broadcast on PBS, NY1, C-SPAN, and probably the cable news outlets. There won’t be an official webcast through Columbia (as this weekend showed, Columbia doesn’t exactly have the servers for such a huge amount of traffic), but CNN et al. typically webcast feeds of every McCain and Obama event on their websites.

If you do manage to make it inside, you will be joining 150-200 Columbia students, members of the ServiceNation summit, staff from both campaigns, and, finally, family members of 9/11 victims. As of right now, there are no plans for the candidates to be on the stage at the same, and it is not known how or when they will enter or exit the building (though Obama is scheduled to have dinner with former president and new Columbia parent Bill Clinton before the event).

Finally, NYPD is already working on security: Bwog spotted NYPD officers this morning at 116th and Broadway, and tipsters report the NYPD is already traveling the subway as far up as the Medical School.

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  1. I saw  

    people in suits who were either Secret Service or Columbia Business.

  2. hmm

    Is this forum thing really that much of a coup for Columbia? I mean, it seems like these forums/stumps/debates are usually held at pretty crummy/unremarkable schools. It just strikes me as kind of weird. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that I get a ticket, though.

    We also need to beg Obama to speak at commencement. If he doesn't acknowledge Columbia in some way during the forum, I'm voting for McCain. Take that.

  3. Alum

    you kids in New York are so deprived. i live in the midwest now, and during the primaries you could practically be stepping over the candidates.

  4. Good

    I hope Bill and Obama get Hillary as the VP to replace Biden.

  5. eventual alum

    I wouldn't mind being an alum living in the midwest right now. But not for the presidential candidates. Big deal. So you get to hear some people delivering the same stump speeches over and over again without having to turn to cable news.

    • Alum Again

      I'm certainly not claiming that seeing Presidential candidates is worth doing. But the point is, there are plenty of places to do it, just not in New York.

      Get to a contested state, and you can see them make all the speeches you want.

      That said, after a while, enough is enough. Let's just have this election be done with, so I can get back to following celebrity gossip.

      • Confused  

        Wait, what's the difference?

      • i think  

        the difference is that they are doing this event together. i haven't paid enough attention to know if they are sharing the stage or not, but either way this is a very unique and historic event. seeing a candidate in person is great and you'll never forget it, but it isn't a unique opportunity. as you said, you can see them a ton if you live in or near a swing state; that's not all that unique though.

  6. Riven  

    saw Obama from 100 feet away in Berlin ^^

  7. So...

    Is there any discussion of the Incredible Shrinking Student Seating Section?

    It's an event about encouraging americans to serve the nation; Obama has made targetting college students for national service efforts a major plank of his campaign; less than 7% of the seats at this event are reserved for students at the host institution. Does anyone else notice the irony?

  8. Monsieoor  

    Doesn't Obama count as a Columbia student? So the percent's a bit higher! (Crosses finger)

  9. mmm  

    symbolically ironic, yes. but everybody's gonna watch it anyway.

  10. let us  

    devise a proper drinking game for this event. this seems to be a proper time to drink a 40 on low steps.

  11. that  

    post was non sequitur

  12. Sad

    It's pretty sad Columbia couldn't let in more of its own students to this. By the way, I thought some speeches were held at the Kennedy Government Center at Harvard during the 2004 election, so I don't think there's a real history of no-name schools. I am, however, surprised Columbia was chosen given the relatively recent Minuteman and Iran conflicts. Obama wants to avoid association with the school as much as possible and I wouldn't be surprised if McCain wouldn't want too many neocons to find out his daughter went here (the school, whether you like it or not, still retains that 'far-left, liberal nutjob' feel for many Americans, no matter how much it may be true).

  13. wondering  

    does anyone know if they have notified the winners yet?

  14. noone

    I don't usually defend CU but I don't think they are the only ones that determine the seating allotments. Foe instance, there are no seats for faculty and they received an email saying that they were not allowed in the lottery as CU was trying to allocate its seating to students. I'm sure a lot of seating is going to each campaigns' people and the press, so for once let's not be super harsh on CU.

  15. Alum/Med student

    I just got an e-mail that my anatomy lecture was moved because McCain and Obama will be at the health sciences campus on Thursday. So I guess that's why the NYPD has been spotted as far up as the med school. I have no clue what they're doing up here though.

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