“That Empty Space” at the University of Calgary was far from vacant yesterday as dozens of students and community members packed the cafeteria to watch U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration.

A large screen projected the ceremony live from 9 a.m. until its conclusion around 10:45 a.m., with cheers resonating at everything from the announcement that George W. Bush was no longer president to powerful tidbits in Obama’s first speech as the 44th president of the United States.

“I’m here to watch history in the making,” said Frances Sonde, a University of Calgary student who had been planning for weeks to watch the ceremony and had even created a Facebook group encouraging her friends to attend.

People of all ages gathered to watch the screening, some standing on chairs and tables to see the screens and others waving American flags or showing off Obama T-shirts.

“The biggest change will be everyone’s mindset,” Sonde said as the crowd cheered.

“He’ll encourage everybody, no matter what race they are from, that they can live up to their dreams.”

Danielle Groeheveld, a 19-year-old U of C student, said she hadn’t initially planned to watch the inauguration but when the computers in their lab went down, the class decided to head to the cafeteria.

“I thought it would be cool,” she said, adding that if Obama initiates the change he advocates, she’ll be glad to know where she was when it all happened.