U.S. President Joe Biden will speak to a joint Congress for the annual State of the Union address tonight at 9 p.m. in Washington D.C.
Elon University professor of political science Carrie Eaves said students who want to be an engaged citizen shouldn’t miss it.
“It's this big, once a year moment where the President speaks to the nation and tells us what he cares about and sort of focuses attention on some agendas and items,” Eaves said. “This is the moment to tune in.”
Article II of the Constitution states that the President shall “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union” but Eaves said the SOTU has occasionally been a letter as opposed to a speech.
“We've sort of settled into this moment of it being a big televised address, television has changed the speech, perhaps made it more performative,” Eaves said. “It’s sort of interesting to think it hasn't always been this way. We're only at sort of 100 years of this return to a speech gathered with both the House and the Senate there. It's always interesting to watch.”
Eaves said there will be a lot of attention on Biden as he's potentially looking to launch a reelection bid in 2024. According to a White House press release, possible topics on tonight’s agenda include disrupting fentanyl sales, expanding mental health services and increasing support services for veterans.
As for issues that pertain more closely to Elon students, Eaves said there’s a chance he might bring up student loan debt forgiveness.
“Students will want to have an ear out for that,” Eaves said. “He's also going to talk about the economy, which is going to impact you, when you graduate, and you're looking to get a job and when you're paying taxes. A lot of the things he's going to talk about should impact students.”
Elon junior Tori Kelleher is a co-lead civic engagement ambassador with Elon Votes!, a nonpartisan organization on campus. Elon Votes! is hosting a watch party tonight in the Moseley Student Center at 9 p.m. Kelleher said the organization wanted to host a watch party to increase interest in the address.
“We've had a lot of happenings just in the last month, and I think it's really important for students as much as anyone else to watch it,” Kelleher said. “There's a lot of issues that pertain to people our age, and I think it's really great that we have garnered a lot of interest in general.”
Kelleher said she hopes Biden addresses student loan debt forgiveness tonight.
“That's a really big issue that I feel like a lot of students, especially at Elon, is a really important issue for Biden to address,” Kelleher said. “I would ideally like for him to address Ukraine and foreign relations as well.”
Kelleher encourages students outside of the political science department to attend the event.
The State of the Union will air on major television networks and other news outlets, in addition to online live streams.