Chelsea Clinton to appear at ‘Nova today’

Stephen Buszka

The Clinton campaign will make an appearance at the University today at 9:45 a.m.

Chelsea Clinton will hold a town-hall style meeting in Connelly Center’s Belle Air Terrace to speak to students and other members of the local community about her mother’s campaign and to field questions from the audience.

As is the pattern with presidential campaigns, the entire event was organized relatively quickly.

Villanovans for Hillary, an unofficial campus organization, had been in contact with a division of the Clinton campaign in Pennsylvania since they set up a headquarters in Philadelphia in March.

Last Saturday Tom Nardi, co-founder of Villanovans for Hillary, received a call from the campaign expressing interest in bringing a member of the Clinton campaign to Villanova, especially after Michelle Obama spoke and John McCain announced plans to visit campus.

“We kept saying that Villanova would love an event with someone from the campaign,” Nardi said. “The campaign was committed to bring someone out in any event, but it goes to show that Villanova is in a very good position in the Philly suburbs and as an active college campus.”

Nardi received a call on Monday from the Clinton campaign confirming Chelsea’s appearance today.

He spent much of Tuesday working with administrators, especially Director of Student Development Tom Mogan, to finalize the details.

“It’s great exposure for the University,” Mogan said. “What is great about it is that we’ve had representatives from all three campaigns. It presents wonderful opportunities for the students to learn about candidates and their platforms while getting involved in the political process.”

One of the issues discussed in planning the event was the location of the event.

While Obama spoke in the Jake Nevin Field House and McCain and the “Hardball” tour will be utilizing the Pavilion, the Clinton campaign hoped for more intimate quarters.

“She had done a couple of these types of events before, and what seems to work well in these informal events is an atrium-type atmosphere in a student center,” Mogan said. “They mentioned a multi-level eating area where there might be a stage for her to have these informal events, and the Belle Air Terrace sounded like the right place.”

Villanovans for Hillary spent the past two days raising awareness for the event.

Aside from flyers and encouraging teachers to promote the events to their students, an important factor in raising awareness was the newly founded Facebook group “Breakfast with Chelsea Clinton!”

The group managed to bring Chelsea to campus after an earlier attempt to bring her to campus in late March fell through.

“A couple of weeks ago, they almost had [her come] right after Easter break on Thursday or Friday,” Nardi said. “They called me on the Monday of break, but there were no administrators around to organize the event.”