Lead Singer Of Third Eye Blind To Speak For Obama

This story was written by Stephanie Goga, Daily Collegian
Third Eye Blind's latest tour didn't stop in State College, Pa., but its lead singer will, and he's singing change in the form of a speech in support of presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

The talk by Stephan Jenkins at Pennsylvania State University is hosted by Students Organizing the Multiple Arts and will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday in 111 Chambers. Tickets are not required.

"Stephan Jenkins is a surrogate of Obama, and he's traveled to a bunch of colleges in Pennsylvania, so he contacted the campaign about coming here," said Nate Trexler, a senior history major and an intern for the Obama campaign.

Trexler said he passed the event along to SOMA because of its connection to the arts scene. Third Eye Blind is an alternative rock band that gained popularity in the early '90s with its single "Semi-Charmed Life."

Kelly Murphy, a sophomore in communications and president of SOMA, said she had a slight concern about taking on a political event.

"I thought it was awesome, and I personally am an Obama fan," Murphy said. "I wanted to run it past the club because I know some people have strong affiliations. But everyone is cool with it, since everyone wants to see Stephan Jenkins."

Danny Michelson, a sophomore in communications and vice president of SOMA, described the event as "very last-minute."

With only two week's notice, the room in Chambers was the only available space, Michelson said. The room has seats for about 60 to 70 people and standing room for a bit more, he added.

Michelson said he thought it was appropriate that SOMA is sponsoring someone from the music industry amid the influx of political figures on campus. He predicted the audience will be about halfway split between Third Eye Blind fans and Obama supporters.

"There's been a recent wave of political figures coming to the school, and people like to hear different views," he said. "But I'm not into politics, and I want to see him because he's the lead singer of Third Eye Blind."

Trexler said Jenkins' position in the music world could help further Obama's cause.

"Somebody from a pop band with a voice like that can really reach a lot of people," he said.

Jenkins spoke about the upcoming election in an interview with The Daily Collegian earlier this month.

"I think we've been embarrassed," he said. "I think we've been diminished. We've been told to be afraid. I think what Barack Obama is saying is that you should have confidence in yourself. You should have confidence in the ideas and the institutions that make us a people. And I think that's extraordinary and extremely needed."

Jenkins has also been a vocal supporter of the importance of the youth vote. Murphy said this will be on the agenda for Jenkins' presentation.

"Now, times are a-changing, and I feel our own chance is upon us if we take it. If you take it. If you guys do it," Jenkins said.

Murphy said the speech would be a good experience for everyone, regardless of who they're supporting in the election.

"I know that a lot of people that aren't Obama supporters or are apathetic are coming, just because they're Third Eye Blind fans and they want to see Stephan Jenkins in person," Murphy said. "It can have a profound affect on people who are on the fence, too."
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