On November 8, student anxiously gathered in the MSC for an election party sponsored by the Social Equality Alliance, as well as other students and professors. The big screen was up to provide results as they came in, and a whiteboard map of the U.S. was colored red or blue as the votes were counted. Some students sat in chairs with friends, taking in the live coverage, while others gathered around tables to play Jenga, Uno, and other card games. One table was full of colored pencils and election-themed coloring pages so students could color a picture of their favorite candidate. There was also ladder golf and cornhole for students to play, in addition to the ever-present ping pong and pool tables. A lot of students came through, staying to watch for thirty minutes or for two hours, or maybe just for one game of ladder golf. As the evening went on, the crowd got larger and more engaged in the screen, awaiting a final result.
Sarah Peck enjoyed having the place to gather with other students to watch the results. She says, “I played Uno with some of my closest friends while waiting anxiously for the Florida votes to come in.” This is exactly what the hosts had in mind, according to Jenna Pitstick, who helped organize the party. She says, “We really wanted to build a positive community of young voters who care about their voices being heard and I think we accomplished that.” The event was positive, even though students who voted for different candidates were in attendance. Everyone played games and enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere after a stressful campaign season.
Some students, like Whitney Croll, came to the event right after voting. She expressed how grateful she was that the Iowa polls stay open until 9pm, saying that her class and sports practice may have otherwise prevented her from voting. Some students voted earlier in the day, like Carrie Tovey, who said the lines weren’t too long. “I was only there for fifteen minutes,” she says. “It feels good to know I had input because voting is so important. My mom always told me I can’t complain unless I vote.” Still, other students voted days or weeks ago, like Melissa Dotson and Shayna Elliott, who voted absentee. Melissa says, “I voted by absentee ballot when they were on campus. It was much more convenient because I didn’t have to drive anywhere.”
No matter the outcome, many students voted for the first time this year, and the number of students who attended the party represented how much GU students care about the political outcome.
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