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Kumar Goes To Indiana U.

This story was written by Sarah Brubeck, Indiana Daily Student
IU Students for Barack Obama is bringing actor Kal Penn to IU on Saturday to talk to a group of Obama's student supporters.

Penn, otherwise known as Kumar from "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and Taj from "National Lampoon's Van Wilder," will hold a rally at 7 p.m. Saturday in Ballantine Hall 013.

"We hope to fill the room, and it fits about 300-plus," said Tim Granholm, president of Students for Barack Obama. "I'm pretty confident we can fill it. I hope (students) are energized by this rally and it motivates them to get involved in the campaign."

After the rally, Penn will head to The Bluebird at 10 p.m. Granholm hopes to register people to vote at both events.

"I think the campaign sending a supporter here that is high-profile is a symbol of how much students matter," Granholm said. "The campaign is here now. It's a chance for all student supporters to get together and work off enthusiasm."

Besides having Penn here, this weekend is important for Students for Barack Obama because Bloomington's Barack Obama headquarters will have its grand opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The headquarters, located at the intersection of Third and Washington streets, has unofficially been in operation for two weeks. About 10 offices around the state will open this weekend in areas including West Lafayette, Evansville, Fort Wayne and Gary.

Granholm and about 25 other students started the local chapter of Students for Barack Obama in February 2007. They now have about 100 active members and have visited several different states in their campaign efforts. At the beginning of the year, the group got more than 1,000 students to sign cards stating that they supported Obama.

"It's a big deal to us because we've been doing this for a while now," Granholm said. "It's exciting that the race has finally come to Bloomington. It's even more important that we can help influence votes amongst our peers. Now we're lucky enough to have a couple of staff members on the campaign."

Students for Barack Obama visited Iowa four times before the Jan. 3 caucus, and the group has been to St. Louis and Cincinnati.

"We saw (Obama) in St. Louis," said Jamie Worsek, who graduated last semester. "All the girls in the group, our job was to stand in the fourth row behind him and cheer."

Right now, the group's main goal is to get as many students registered to vote as possible, Granholm said.

The group has also held phone banks during which members called people in states holding primaries and reminded them to vote.

"Even with phone banks, we're reaching out to people our own age," said freshman Brianna Dines, the dorm captain for Wright Quad. "It's been really effective getting youth vote, which is really rare."
© 2008 Indiana Daily Student via U-WIRE