Election results viewing unites students

Kelly Petryszyn

As news that Sen. Barack Obama won Ohio came across the big projection screen in the Rathskeller last night, thunderous applause erupted throughout the room. Smiles appeared on students’ faces, eyes lit up, fists pumped in the air, students high-fived each other and screams billowed out of their mouths.

One girl in a “Barack ‘n Roll” shirt covered with four Obama stickers and a “Vote for Change” tattoo on her cheek threw her head back and screamed as she raised her fists.

Chariya-Marie Curd, sophomore broadcast journalism major, said she is excited about this election because she was a John Kerry supporter last time and felt that hope for winning was far away. But not this time.

“Now, it’s tonight and it’s happening,” she said. “It is not far away – it is a reality.”

The Rathskellar held an election results viewing party last night that lasted until 12:30 p.m. The event, sponsored by Kent Student Center Programming, allowed students to get a blank map of the U.S. and color the results red or blue to predict which candidate would take each state. The two students with the prediction closest to the actual results won a choice of two DVDs. Students in attendance enjoyed free pizza, red punch, potato chips, pretzels, cheese and crackers.

When the night started out, the room was filled with quiet chatter. Students were mostly enjoying dinner or working on homework. As the night progressed, however, conversation picked up and students applauded more and more, the excitement mounting.

Freshman psychology major Jessica Bonner said she feels anxious about this election because, “It’s a big change.”

Freshman sociology major Samantha Woolverton said she came to watch the results because this is an “epic election” and she wanted to share it with people who have different opinions.

Elections allow ” little people in a big country … to have the opportunity to voice your opinion,” she said.

Bilal Zoghbi, a physics graduate student from Lebanon, said he thinks this election will not only have an impact in this country, but on the world as well.

“The election here decides what’s going on in the world,” he said.

Zoghbi has followed American politics, even watching the election in his home country.

Watching the election results is “like watching a sports game – if losing (you) want to turn TV off and leave,” he said.

The announcement that Obama took Michigan was met with resounding excitement and thunderous applause; however, when McCain won Georgia, weak clapping and booing filled the air.

Students felt that this moment will go down in history.

“It’s like living history right now,” Curd said. “Anyone who is a supporter can say they were watching the results when they came in. It’s like Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ … his dream coming true.”

Contact news correspondent Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].