Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Watching the president speak from his seat in the crowd, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said he was impressed. He enjoyed the content. He appreciated the number of interruptions by applause. He was struck by the makeup of the crowd gathered around him.
The crowd, designed to feature university students rather than political figures normally the focus of these types of events, was designed to showcase the people he was speaking directly to, he said. The audience soaked it all in, he said, and appeared genuinely interested in what was being explained.
"It was like the president was speaking directly to them," he said. "Even when he started off, making an observation about the (football) team sitting behind him, about how they had a big opening game coming up (against powerhouse Ohio State) ... I had a feeling looking at the students, I got the sense they knew the president had a sense of understanding their situation."
Besides Obama, another president was in Alumni Arena. Niagara University Student Government President Matthew Nadler was one of a handful of students representing the Lewiston school Thursday.
Watching himself, he said Obama's message was clear and concise and one he could easily get behind.
"I liked his ideas he was talking about, like holding the schools accountable (through rankings)," Nadler said. "I liked hearing about how students shouldn't have to pay more than 10 percent of their income on student loans. I enjoyed the experience and am very happy I had the opportunity to go."
Joining Nadler inside the arena from the school was his good friend, Andrea Nicolia, who serves as a lead community advisor in her dorm on campus.
Nicolia was also impressed with the message Obama delivered, adding the way he not only addressed the problems but also gave solutions was refreshing.