Brooklyn College alumnus, Bernie Sanders made a surprise visit to the college on Friday where he attracted a crowd of students and faculty, roamed around and signed a nearly 60-year-old letter that he wrote to a former Kingsman editor.
“It was pretty surreal,” said Dan Kwon, a Brooklyn College student. “I live across the street from campus and I walked out of my place and saw a major presidential candidate walking out the gates towards me.”
Sanders attracted not only nearby residents and students, but also those in possession of college artifacts.
An old letter to an editor of The Kingsman, written by Sanders in his time at the college resurfaced and was signed by the candidate on Friday. Nancy Strein, associate director of digital at the Office of Communications and Marketing framed the letter that is now waiting in her office to be hung in an appropriate location.
The letter showcases a young Sanders opposing the administrative decision to ban students from touching the grass in the lawn between Boylan and Ingersoll Halls.
Sanders was filming for his campaign with actor, Mark Ruffalo before his rally at his former school, James Madison High. While on campus, Sanders was responsible for a digital storm on the Brooklyn College Facebook page, “BC In the Know.” The page blew up with videos, pictures and exclamations from students that spotted Sanders for themselves. At that point it became a race to see Sanders in the flesh.
Sanders attended Brooklyn College from 1959 to 1960 as a freshman before transferring to the University of Chicago.
The campaign of movie stars, celebrities and local activists has had a presence on campus for nearly a month.
The series of events began with Danny DeVito and Justin Bartha on March 24 when they encouraged students to register to vote in the New York primary. Spike Lee brought a group of celebrities that included Rosario Dawson and Dr. Cornel West to the campus on April 1 to film a campaign commercial for Sanders. Throughout the entire semester, student activists such as the Young Democrats have been urging students to register to vote and attempting to get Sanders to host an event on campus. All this culminated in the big reveal of Sanders himself last Friday.
“It was nice, though I wished he had spent time with the students,” said Tim Donnelly, president of the CLAS student government. Although, the presidential candidate’s visit did not go unappreciated. “I think any effort to increase voting is a good thing,” Donnelly said.
“It was great seeing Bernie coming out of the same school exits that I walk by every day,” said Joseph Guevara, a Brooklyn College film major.