By ALLISON MATYUS
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), visited his alma mater, University of Chicago (U. of C.), Monday morning as part of the university’s Institute of Politics Road to 2016 series.
Sanders, who graduated from U. of C. in 1964, returned to a packed house, full of mostly U. of C. students motivated by Sanders’ words of changing this country.
“Believe today that change never takes place from the top down; it always takes place from the bottom up,” Sanders said. “That takes place when people determine that the world they see in front of them is not the world it should be.”
Sanders also spoke a little about his time on the South Side as a college student, and how the Civil Rights Movement and Peace Movement of the ‘60s shaped who he is as a person and a politician today.
“I think about coming here as a young man from a family who did not have a lot of money, and that transition,” he said.
He also said that he learned about Democratic socialism here in Chicago. In 1963, Sanders worked on a re-election campaign for Ald. Leon Despres, who was independent just as Sanders is today.
Sanders spoke at the Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., just blocks from President Barack Obama’s house, aiding to the fact that the South Side of Chicago is a hub for political reform and change.
The presidential candidate spoke of the past and made comparisons to then and now, saying, “While we have made significant changes, there are major issues that affect us today.”
He touched on several of his left-sided political agendas, including women’s rights, poverty, sexual and racial equality, the environment and the economy. Towards the end of the event, he opened the floor to audience members who asked him questions on his views and how he plans to change the political climate.
Monday’s event was open to the public, but an overwhelming majority of the crowd was young people or college students that came out in droves to see a politician speak. While young people often have the stereotype of not caring about politics, Sanders’ crowds prove time and time again that they are, in fact, starting to care.
“I would hope that all of you are prepared to think big, not small,” Sanders said. “We can accomplish all of this and more, but we will not accomplish that if 80 percent of young people don’t vote.”