Even before sunrise, college students wait for Obama

Even before 5:15 a.m., people lined North Sixth Street in downtown Minneapolis alongside the Target Center in anticipation of President Obama’s speech. The doors open at 9:30 a.m., but the line still stretched down the street. The cement sidewalk was a place to sleep rather than walk, and most were waiting with sleeping bags and pillows.

College students were scattered among those who waited, including students from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Bemidji State University and Bethel University.

Bethel student Kim Groen and three friends arrived to the Twin Cities at 12:30 a.m., and camped out on the sidewalk. Groen worked on homework while her friends tried to catch a little extra shuteye.

“It was really hard to sleep,” Groen’s friend said. “It’s not very comfortable.”

Even though the speech wouldn’t start for another seven hours, Groen and her friends knew why they were there.

“[We came for] Obama,” Groen said. “It was interesting that it’s for free and he’s talking about the healthcare reform. Three of us are social work majors and one of us is a nursing major so it’s right in our field … I think it’s really important for us [college students] to know what’s going on.”

Mary Kenkel can be reached at mlkenkel@stthomas.edu.