Bye bye Barack – Teesside students bid a sad farewell to first black US President

English: Nobel Peace Prize 2009, Barack Obama

EXTRAORDINARY: Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FRIDAY 20th January 2017 marks the day our beloved leader across the pond Barack Obama comes to the end of his Presidency.

With the likes of Hillary and Trump battling to get into the White House, students at Teesside expressed their sorrow as the first African-American president prepares to step down.

As he served longer than any President in decades without a scandal and became the first President to win a Nobel Peace Prize, Obama’s image over the years has gained him more and more admiration – particularly with younger voters.

The youth vote may have even secured Obama’s win in the election 2008 with his strong social media campaign that tapped into the interests of thousands of voters aged 18-25.

The Obama campaign reached five million supporters on 15 social networking sites – by November 2008, he had approx. 2.5 million Facebook supporters, 115,000 twitter followers and 50 million viewers on his YouTube channel.

Tside asked students at Teesside University what they like about Obama to figure out why he’s so popular with the younger generation.

Callum Matthews, 22, said: “Obama’s use of social media allowed him to tap into a completely difference audience.

“The fact he hired one of Facebook’s co-creators allowed him to understand the nuances of the platform and fully maximise its potential.

“He thinks about young voters. Too often the British government take from students, i.e. the increase in tuition fees, but [Obama’s] idea to introduce two years of free community college education revolutionised the system and influenced younger voters.

“Too often young people are made to feel worthless and like their opinion and thoughts don’t count. Obama gave them a voice and power – inevitably another reason that played in his favour.”

Matthew Lal, 20, said: “Obama appeals to me because I think he is a very charismatic individual and from social media I know one of his main concerns is climate change.

“The major parties in Britain aren’t too concerned so I think it’s really good that Obama is forcing the issue into the mainstream.

“During his time as president he’s come across very friendly and I find his speech is more accessible.

“He also has two young his daughters which are similar age to our generation and he uses that well as kind of an access point to relate to us in particular.”

Millie Smith, 19, said: “Obama will be remembered as an iconic leader.

“He’s done quite a lot to bring together the different races in America – like removing the threat of Osama Bin Laden and ending the war on terror. He’s made a society that is a lot more accepting to Muslims and I think that because the younger generation tend to be more liberal, they take to that really well.”

Herve Tshimbombo, 21, said: “I think [Obama is] popular amongst the youth cause he understands them and can make certain references to youth culture and discuss rappers like Drake or Kendrick Lamar and get away with it because of his cool persona that people would attribute him with.”

from Tside