Credit: Connie Kang

As students return to campus looking to get involved with extracurriculars, Penn Democrats, one of the most active political organizations on campus, has a prominent recruiting tool: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter .

Mayor Nutter spoke to a room of over 80 students at Penn Dems’ first meeting of the year at Huntsman Hall on Tuesday night.

“I think he is a really interesting politician, and his seat is almost up, so I am hoping he will be a little bit more loose-lipped,” Penn Dems President and Wharton Senior Amiyr Jackson said before Nutter spoke to the room. “But I think it will be nice for people coming from West Philadelphia to ask him questions about issues and things going on here.”

Before Nutter spoke off-the-record to the large group for almost an hour, he expressed his admiration and appreciation for Penn Dems.

“It’s really exciting to be back on campus — and certainly to be with the Penn Dems, ” said Nutter, who graduated from Wharton in 1979 and has been mayor of Philadelphia since 2008.

“Penn Dems were the first organized group actually to endorse me, and at the time you were the only organized group to have endorsed me in 2007, so thank you,” Nutter added , which was followed by widespread applause.

For freshmen that have just arrived to Penn and are interested in Democratic politics, an intimate question-and-answer session with Nutter clearly drew excitement.

“I am very interested in getting involved here, especially with the Democratic party,” Engineering freshman Michael Ramdatt said. “I was really interested to hear what Mayor Nutter had to say ... and this isn’t just some random person — it’s actually the mayor of Philadelphia.”

An up-close and personal session with the mayor brought new students to Penn Dems other than just freshmen .

“I know of Philadelphia politics through Mayor Nutter,” said Michael Tamayo, a first-year graduate student in Penn’s Fels Institute of Government who is from Vallejo, Calif . “It’s an inspiration to hear that other cities are doing better than what I know at home.”

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