"The whole campus is buzzing," Tim Sardinia, president of Miami University's chapter of Delta Tau Delta, tells me in the lobby of his fraternity house. "The house is buzzing." The source of the buzz is Republican vice presidential candidate and Miami Delt Paul Ryan, who will hold a campaign event at his alma mater tonight, the eve of freshmen move-in day.
Ryan developed his interest in economics while a student here and graduated 20 years ago this past spring. This past week, in the wake of Mitt Romney's announcement of Ryan as his V.P. pick, the media attention for this bucolic college town north of Cincinnati has gotten a little intense. Sardinia has fielded a number of requests from reporters and gossip websites trying to learn more about Ryan's time at Miami U.
"TMZ wanted to know if I had any pictures of Paul Ryan shirtless," Sardinia says of the well-known gossip website. "I don't," he continues. "I'm pretty sure he doesn't go around taking pictures of himself in the mirror."
The only institutional memory of Ryan at the Miami Delt house, where he once lived, is a water-damaged picture in the basement featuring Ryan and his fraternity brothers from the 1991-1992 academic year. "He looks exactly the same," says Sardinia.
Do the Miami U Delts have a reputation on campus? At many schools DTD is said to stand for "dorks that drink," but the mild-mannered Sardinia insists, "We don't get that here. We're good guys, fun guys. It's hard to put a stereotype on us."
The event tonight will mark Ryan's first appearance in Ohio as a vice presidential candidate. "We're all really excited for him, and I think the whole campus is," says Sardinia. "That kind of transcends political affiliation."