NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) holds a rally Saturday night on the campus of Virginia Wesleyan University, an estimated 4,000 people are expected to attend. That would be more than twice the enrollment at the school, where students are excited to see a presidential candidate up close.
“I was a little surprised because we’re such a small school, so it was really cool to know that somebody like [Sanders] was coming here,” said freshman Jennaphur Nixon.
The school prides itself on its level of political awareness.
“This would definitely be one of the highest-profile visits and events in the history of the school,” said Virginia Wesleyan University President Scott Miller. “The buzz that’s been on campus and in the community has been pretty phenomenal.”
Brian-Patrick Kurisky, VWU’s director of civic engagement and service learning, sees the Sanders rally as a learning tool.
“Even if you don’t agree with Bernie Sanders’ politics, being able to engage and talk with other individuals and talk with the campaign, seeing how a campaign works is very vital.”
Celvin Pelaez Gonzalez, a VWU junior, wants to study business law and says he’s a Sanders voter.
“I heard that they needed volunteers for his campaign and I went in there and I signed up and tried to be the first one.”
The Sanders campaign says it chose Virginia Wesleyan for its rally because of the size of Convocation Hall and the location of the campus on the border of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.