The day after Barack Obama was elected president, Stefanie Thacker made plane and hotel reservations for herself, her husband, and their two daughters to be in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration. As an African American, Thacker

felt a special pride in Obama’s victory—but so did scores of other Ann Arborites who’ll be making the trip to see the new president take office. U-M junior and Obama volunteer Nathaniel Styer says many students he knows plan to carpool, crashing at the homes of friends and family in D.C. Another fifty students will go by bus, in a program subsidized by their U-M residences—though hotel rooms are so scarce they’ll have to stay at a conference center an hour and a half from the capital. County drain commissioner Janis Bobrin confidently booked a room before the election—and is glad she did. “The hotel rates have tripled since I ordered,” Bobrin says. “I’m already paying $395 a night.”

Bobrin and Thacker are hoping to get tickets from congressman John Dingell’s office that would allow them a closer view of the ceremony, but the competition for those is fierce, too: according to a Dingell aide, by mid-December the congressman had already received “several thousand” requests.