By Lauren Santye
As millions of Americans tuned in to watch President Barack Obama get sworn back into office for his second term, three members of the Rider community witnessed the historical moment firsthand.
Rosemary Genao, a graduate resident director for Seabrook Hall on the Westminster Campus, served as a volunteer for the Swearing-in Ceremony as a “Jump Team member.”
Her role in being a part of the Jump Team was to provide support wherever it was needed. This included crowd control, greeting attendees, re-energizing and motivating the crowd and passing out American flags.
“In the words of Michelle Obama, I felt honored and blessed to be joining so many of my fellow Americans gathered to watch the Inauguration,” Genao said.
She was already planning on attending the Inauguration when she decided to volunteer for the Presidential Inaugural Committee after a friend’s suggestion.
She was excited to volunteer because she would be able to show her support of the re-elected president through service.
Following the Inauguration, Genao hopes that others become more politically and globally aware of the events that affect Americans and do not take their freedoms for granted.
Rider alumnus Greg Lorjuste, ’04, who was a double major in elementary education and American studies, saw the Inauguration from a different position.
Lorjuste has worked at the White House since Jan. 26, 2009 as one of three people who organize and prioritize the Obamas’ day-to-day schedule.
“This includes coordination between the executive office, advance teams,
communications, press, policy, and the White House military office to finalize details for all of the president’s domestic and international events,” said Lorjuste.
Lorjuste has been a planner for both of Obama’s terms; however, his experience with Obama’s first inauguration was significantly different from this time.
In 2009, he worked as a scheduler who determined the logistics for the president’s day.
Unfortunately, he spent the day in the office, so he was unable to attend the events.
“I remember walking to work that day and seeing all the thousands of people making their way to the Capitol building and thinking to myself, ‘I played a small part in what’s about to happen today,’” said Lorjuste.
For the 2013 Inauguration he was still the lead scheduler, but he made sure to attend the events this time around.
“I took my dad to the Swearing-in Ceremony at the Capitol and attended the Inaugural Ball with my wife, close family and friends,” he said.
“Inauguration Day is special because from the minute the president and first lady walk out the door they are on camera and every minute is scheduled with different events throughout the day,” he said. “It’s a joy to just watch because you get to see all the work you have put in happen in real time right in front of your eyes.”
Eugene Marsh, who is finishing his degree in liberal studies, had a prime view at the Inauguration because of his many contributions to the African-American community. He is not only the construction manager for the Statue of Liberty renovation, but is the vice president of 100 Black Men of America Inc., which works to improve the quality of life and enhance educational and economical opportunities for African-Americans. He is also a Vietnam War veteran.
Marsh received free tickets to stand in front of the Capitol on the Gold Gate Section, observing the Inauguration on large television screens.
“The feeling as an African-American standing in front of the Capitol watching history gave me the assurance of the many possibilities of what I could become in life,” Marsh said. “I never dreamed in my lifetime that an African-American could or would be elected as president of the United States.”
In addition, he was invited to attend the 100 Black Men of America Inc. reception that was held for Obama at The City Club of Washington.