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Justin Long visits USF for campaign event

Published: Sunday, October 14, 2012

Updated: Sunday, October 14, 2012 23:10

Actor Justin Long, best known for his role in the film Accepted and his appearances in Apple’s Mac commercials, spoke to students at USF on Friday about the importance of voting and how to support President Barack Obama as part of a stop for the Vote Now! grassroots campaign.

The Vote Now! event was presented to students by Organizing for America, a Democratic-affiliated organization that has chapters nationwide.

The event was co-hosted by USF organization College Democrats.

Long, a representative for Obama, was chosen to tour college campuses to speak with students and raise awareness on how they can get involved in and support Obama’s campaign.

Long arrived at the Marshall Student Center around 2 p.m. on Friday and was greeted by an overflowing room of students and administrators. The Today Show was also at the event covering his appearance and capturing footage of Obama supporters.  
“I didn’t know anything about politics. I didn’t do any research, and I think I did it to be fashionable,” Long said to students about his jump into the world of politics about four years ago.

Long encouraged students to research issues important to them. He said he had to drop out of school because of “skyrocketing school prices” and the increase in student loans that has hit many college students in recent years.

He said Obama’s student loan reform is benefitting students, noting that 3.1 million students are going to school through assistance from Pell Grants.

He also said he approves of Obama’s efforts concerning the Dream Act and illegal immigration.

Long also said he supports legalizing marijuana.

“I think it’s ridiculous to make that contraband and I think it would solve a lot of issues in Mexico as well,” Long said.

Long encouraged students to cast their ballots as soon as possible.

“You can actually vote now in Florida. This is important to tell your friends. You can go to the Supervisor of Elections Office and you can vote right there in the office,” Long said.

Ferguson Yacyshyn, a senior and member of Organizing for America who helped organize the event, said he was ecstatic about Long’s appearance.

“I couldn’t be happier to be having someone of his stature come onto campus and take time out of his busy schedule to talk to people our age about why they should vote and why they should vote for Obama,” Yacyshyn said.

Bobby Blackledge, a sophomore and member of College Democrats, said he thought Long’s visit was exciting.

“I was actually surprised as to how many people showed up, because to the best of my knowledge, it wasn’t super well advertised, and I guess he’s popular enough that close to 100 people wanted to be jam-packed into a room for an hour and a half just to see him for 20 minutes,” Blackledge said.

Blackledge said he heard about the event from the College Democrats president at its last meeting.

The majority of the advertising for Long’s visit was grassroots-based though, Yacyshyn said.

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