“It’s a big deal to us at this time,” she said.
Matthew Nadler, a senior political science major and an academic senate representative in the Niagara University Student Government Association, said he jumped at the opportunity to hear Obama speak as soon as he was offered a ticket.
“I was overwhelmed with the opportunity just to go hear him speak,” Nadler said.
Though a self-identified libertarian, Nadler said the president's message resonated with college students.
"I liked his ideas he was talking about, like holding the schools accountable (through rankings)," he said. "I liked hearing about how students shouldn't have to pay more than 10 percent of their income on student loans. I enjoyed the experience and am very happy I had the opportunity to go."
Nicolia was also impressed with the message Obama delivered, adding the way he not only addressed the problems but also gave solutions was refreshing.
"I like that he wasn't negative," she said. "He addressed the problems we have and said what we need to do to in the future.
Afterward, the crowd buzzed as Obama shook hands and kissed a baby on his way back to his bus.
James Battle, a sophomore communications major at the University at Buffalo, joked with a group of fellow students as they exited the arena.
Battle said he found the president's speech compelling and felt that, being that he is not eligible for another term in office, it was clear that he was not campaigning.
"You could tell this was genuine," he said. "It's not just so that we would vote for him. I thought that meant a lot."
Battle, who supports some of the Obama administration's policies but has doubts about others, uses federal student loans to help pay for his tuition. The president's plan makes him more confident that the decision to attend college will pay off, he said.