Bernie Sanders visits CSU campus, encourages supporters to caucus Super Tuesday

Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick

Video by Neall Denman.

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The line to get into Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “A Future To Believe In” rally stretched behind Moby Arena and all the way around the Intramural Fields on the Colorado State University campus. With thousands in attendance, the long line consisted mostly of people under 30 years old and many CSU students.

At the front of the line was first-year sophomore psychology major Em Boyett, who had claimed her spot at 7:30 a.m. 

“I was so afraid, because I heard about the huge turnout at the Denver rally a couple weeks ago. I wanted to make sure I got here in time,” Boyett said. “I wanted to get in there. I wanted to see Bernie.”

Sanders’ speech included many of his usual points — he began with mentioning how far the campaign had come. The crowd collectively scoffed at the idea that this campaign began as a fringe movement and cheered when Sanders recalled how far they had come.

He went on to describe wealth inequality, the 1 percent, the broken election system, the billionaires, prison reform, higher education, student loan debt, universal health care and environmental issues.

The speech was centered around the trials and triumphs of marginalized groups such as African-Americans who fought for Civil Rights, women who fought for the vote and the gay community who fought for the right to marry. Sanders emphasized that change, especially in these examples, never happens from the top down, but from the bottom up.

Different than usual, Sanders was extremely critical of his opponent Hillary Clinton — a break in his usual attack-free campaign. He called for the release of Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs. Sanders also talked about how little change she was asking for.

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“If you start a campaign asking for half a loaf, you’re going to get crumbs,” Sanders said. “We need the whole loaf.”

The speech concluded with Sanders sentimentally talking about how he intended to win.

“We will win because community and caring for each other trumps selfishness,” Sanders said. “We will win this election because love trumps hatred.”

Following the speech, sophomore psychology major Zach Hussey cradled his own hand and looked at it in amazement. The Vermont senator had touched it.

“Oh, my God. That was amazing,” Hussey said. “I’ve been supporting Bernie Sanders for a while now and really wanted to see him in person.”

Hussey stood in line for two hours with a group of friends.

“I definitely support Bernie and this is such an important election that I was like, ‘I definitely need to to something,'” sophomore communication studies student Baylee Moench said.

Other, more long-time fans of Sanders were in attendance. This rally was senior journalism and media communication major Ryan Polsky’s third time seeing the presidential hopeful live. 

“The cornerstone of Bernie’s campaign is equality and fairness for everybody in America,” Polsky said. “And that is something that really resonated with me. It’s why I’m such a long-time supporter of Bernie.”

Polsky is the communications director for Rams for Bernie, CSU’s on-campus student organization.

The president of Rams for Bernie was one the speakers to introduce the Vermont senator. Erica LaFehr is a junior sociology major, but is not the average undergraduate student. She is a single mother on her second attempt of completing her education.

She told the crowd that Sanders “needs all of us to stand up and stand for what is right.”

Other students resonated with Sanders’ unique emphasis on environmental issues.

“I really like how he talked about environmental issues, because no other candidate has given any sight into that,” said senior psychology major Cam Cowell. “That among other things just presents the genuine campaign that is for the people and not the super PACs.”

Junior natural resources management major Kaatje Hahn agreed with Cowell.

“Anything that has to do with conservation and sustainability and realizing that climate change is actually happening and drawing attention to that is really happening,” Hahn said. “If any other candidate is mentioning it, it means they’re refuting it and calling it a hoax. Obviously, I don’t believe that.”

Sanders pushed for supporters to vote for him in the Colorado caucus Tuesday and said young voters have more power than they think.

“Choose to use your power,” Sanders said. 

Collegian Reporter Tatiana Talesnick-Parafiniuk can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @tatianasophiapt.