President Obama to Speak at MIT on Friday

2404 obama
President Barack Obama will be speaking about clean energy at Kresge Auditorium on Friday. Obama is seen here at a campaign stop in Boston in February 2008.
David M. Templeton—Tech File Photo

President Barack Obama will be speaking at MIT tomorrow “challenging Americans to lead the global economy in clean energy, and to highlight Recovery Act investments that are creating jobs and making advancements in wind energy,” the White House said.

At noon, the President will tour a research laboratory at MIT.

At 12:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium, the President will address state and community leaders, business leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as MIT students and staff, the White House said.

Obama will also advocate for the new Kerry/Boxer Senate climate bill, S.1733, The New York Times reports.

But the number of MIT attendees may be small. Staff distributing tickets said there were a total of 200 tickets for students, faculty, and staff.

Vice President for Institute Affairs Kirk D. Kolenbrander announced in an e-mail on Tuesday evening that tickets will be allocated by the deans. Kolenbrander and the MIT News Office would not release the total number of available tickets.

Marc A. Kastner, Dean of the School of Science, said that he was going to “try to get a diverse group of students, obviously those whose work involves energy.” Kastner, whose school represents 20 percent of MIT’s student population, has only 10 tickets to allocate to students and another 10 to faculty and staff.

Kastner said he would not take a ticket for himself, but would watch it on TV so someone else could attend. “I think we should all enjoy this event,” he said.

Subra Suresh ME ’81, Dean of Engineering, said the number of student tickets he had to distribute, 20, was “very small,” and that some might go to student leaders. With half the student population, the School of Engineering is MIT’s largest School.

Most of the deans have solicited recommendations of who to send from their department heads.

The deans have been asked to take seven factors into consideration. The primary factor is that students’ work should be energy-related, one of the deans’ staff said.

Obama’s visit to MIT has been hastily scheduled. MIT learned of Obama’s plans over the weekend, and has been scrambling since. Since Kolenbrander’s e-mail message, the deans have been swamped with e-mails and requests.

Parking restrictions

Bicycle and automobile parking will be extremely restricted in preparation for the event, the Parking Office said. The Main Lot, Kresge Lot, and Amherst street will be closed from Thursday evening through Friday afternoon. There will be no access to bicycle racks at the Student Center or in the Main Lot during the day on Friday.

Second MIT/Energy speech

In March, Obama and MIT President Susan J. Hockfield appeared together at a White House event, “Investing in Our Clean Energy Future.”

Air Force One is scheduled to touch down at 11:30 a.m. at Logan Airport, and Obama will speak at MIT at noon. Afterwards, Obama will attend a fundraiser for Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick, and Air Force One departs at 3:40 p.m.