July 18, 2024

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, The Office of Student Involvement in collaboration with Student Senate and The Office of Scheduling and Special Events hosted a Presidential Election Watch Party. From 7⁠–12PM, students and staff gathered in various locations around the student center including the CDR, Post 95 and the Geil Lounge to accommodate for social distancing.

In addition to Post 95, the CDR and Geil Lounge were decked out in red, white and blue streamers and balloons, all aglow with patriotic themes. As students sat not socially distant with friends, large projection screens covered live news footage from CNN and NBC News. Featuring Giant Connect Four, Giant Bowling, Photo Booths and free food, students came together to enjoy the night.

“We partnered with a lot of Springfield businesses, for the balloon, the screens and the decorations,” Charlotte Hurst, Senior Class President, said. “We wanted to have some sort of program since we knew there would be a lot of anxiety surrounding tonight, so we wanted to be able to provide food and an outlet of discussion for students.”

Director of Student Involvement Liz Artz also commented on the planning of the watch party.

“We love planning events, with the current political climate we are nervous about how tonight would go,” Artz said. “Our office is offering open office hours, where we will have stress reliever bags. We have bubble wrap, tea and coloring pencils and pages, we also have candy and stickers. We will be there to talk for those if they want to destress and debrief the election.”

For many students, the 2020 U.S. presidential election marked the first time they would be eligible to cast their vote for the next president. The night was filled with excitement, but for others, it was overflowing with anxiety.

Many students showed up in support of their candidate, while some came to be part of the community.

“I came because I wanted to see if my vote would sway the election in any certain way,” Jonathan Golden (’24) said. “I also came because our campus community is pushing voting so much and I wanted to be with others and see what the results would be instead of being in my room.”

“I went to the event to see how the election would turn out due to my own personal hypothesis,” Valentin Polanco-Amparo (’23) said. “I already knew Ohio was going to be a rat. However, I had faith in Texas being a swing state and that would potentially swing him [Biden] by them, for now I see that as a detrimental loss. While Hope is slim, I hope that Biden will win by the 270 mark. But I did my part as a citizen and voted. I wanted to see prosperity in my democratic and human right to vote.”

Wittenberg President Michael Frandsen also came by the event to speak with students.

“I am really excited about the turnout across the country,” he said. “It is exciting to see people participating in the process of voting, it’s really a privilege and it’s disappointing when people don’t take advantage of such an important event. I am excited for the turnout of students especially at a time of limited capacity. I hope we can get our results sooner than later and stay safe.”

Over the course of the evening, results from swing states came in causing an emotional charge for some, while others tried to have fun.

“I thought it was a well put together event that allowed students from all views to come together and support their candidate,” Mya Staysinak (’23) said. “The bowling and food [were] great perks. Sitting with friends to watch the historic election turned out to be a wonderful evening.”

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