Lander University was among the schools across the country chosen to participate in a conference call with U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday, an event that gave student journalists an opportunity to question to him.
Mistie Hart of Laurens, a senior mass communication major and editor of the student newspaper, The Forum, sat by the phone waiting for her chance to pose a question to Obama. The president took questions from students at four schools but time ran out on the conference call before Hart had a chance to speak with him.
Obama exhorted young people to be energetic participants in the November mid-term elections. "You can't sit it out," he said. "It may not be as exciting as the 2008 presidential election but it will make a huge difference."
He added, "Democracy requires sustained engagement and involvement."
Student journalists expressed concern about the cost of higher education and the state of the economy especially as it affects the availability of jobs when they graduate.
Obama responded that his number one priority is to grow the economy, which, in turn, would create jobs. He said, "I have no doubt that the current generation of students will be successful despite the economic tough times."
The president said he places a high priority on guaranteeing that every student receives the best education possible. "It is up to students to finish college and it is up to us to help them."
He outlined a series of steps his administration has taken and is planning to take to make college more affordable. And he said the administration will work with university and college presidents to discuss ideas for controlling the costs associated with higher education.
Obama's conference call with students lasted about 40 minutes. Lander was selected to participate because of its affiliation with MTV Networks, which is the host for The Forum Online, Lander's web-based interactive news site.
Lander's new television station, WLG-TV, covered the Obama event by video and audio with student Heath Smith handling duties as the camera and audio technician. He is also director of operations for the station.
Lander's new television station, WLGTV, covered the President Obama conference call by video and audio with student Heath Smith, Director of Operations of WLGTV, who handled the duties as the camera and audio technician for the President Obama Conference Call.