Presidential election brings hype to campus

November 6 was a monumental day. For many students, it was the first time they voted in a presidential election.

They hopped onto the College shuttle every 15 minutes for the short ride to the Gorton Community Center to vote. Some even earned a high five from one of the poll workers after submitting their electronic ballot.

In the evening, when the hype was at its peak, they gathered in the red, white, and blue-decked Mohr Student Center to watch the coverage in a Student Government, Mohr Student Center Committee, and Gates Center-sponsored event. CNN was on the big screen and additional news stations were represented on other televisions scattered throughout the large open room.

Computers in lap and cell phones in hand, election partygoers also kept up to date with the nationwide happenings with their websites of choice and social media. Student Government representatives colored in a map each time a state was claimed by either President Barack Obama or Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and they also tracked the electoral votes by coloring thermometers.

Meanwhile, in the Skybox, Associate Professor of Politics Siobhan Moroney’s Mass Media and American Politics class viewed the coverage together, pausing every now and then to discuss the presence of bias in certain reports.

The College made several efforts to encourage students to participate in the 2012 voting experience, starting as early as September, when Associate Professor of History Carol Gayle registered both Illinois and out-of-state students in the Mohr Student Center over the lunch hour.  

The Department of Politics also hosted a forum in the Meyer Auditorium in early October to discuss the campaign strategies and offer up a bit of history. For example, the fact that no president has ever won the office without Ohio.

As if the national election wasn’t enough to keep students’ decision-making skills busy, Student Government Executive Officers election activities also took place this week, including a candidate debate on Monday night.

The winners were announced in an email from Student Government President Chris Banville on Friday:

President Jerry Wang
Vice President Sarah Smolyansky
Secretary Katherine Bentley
Treasurer Aneesa Ahmed
e.Team President Kayla Sarkis

The officers will be sworn in, in late November or early December.