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Hannah Huh '22

Students were all eyes Tuesday night as the country’s fate unfolded.

Hundreds crowded into Whig Hall to watch the midterm election results and eat 1,000 Chick-fil-A nuggets, 30 boxes of pizza, and 200 doughnuts. It was an event organized by the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, with the help of Undergraduate Student Government and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students through the Vote100 campaign. 

Fox News was shown on the third floor, CNN on the second and first floor, and finally MSNBC in the basement. Raffles were drawn every 30 minutes, and prizes includes Michelle Obama ’85 tour tickets and a basketball signed by Ted Cruz ’92.

Lena Hu ’20, co-president of the Whig-Clio society, said that planning for the event with USG and ODUS began a month ago. “We had individual volunteers too,” she said. “The vision was to create a welcoming space for a campus-wide bipartisan election watch party. We also grad students and parents.”

Hu also emphasized how the Vote100 campaign has yielded a higher voter turnout. “Princeton had the lowest voter turnout for the 2014 elections in the Ivy League. Now we have tripled that,” she said.

Julia Walton ’21 came to the midterm election watch party with her friends. “There is good food and a welcoming atmosphere,” she said “It is a fun way to watch the results. I think it is a good idea to have multiple channel networks so that we can get all of the coverage.” 

“I am surprised by how many people showed up. There is a great emphasis on being engaged with the government, and these type of events [show] us that we can make a difference and be more engaged,” Megan Bequette ’22 said.

Even as the event itself came to a close, students remained caught up in conversation and the excitement of the night. Late-night refills of snacks kept energy levels up as polls closed across the country. 

Juan José López Haddad ’22 stopped by toward the end of the night.

“I can’t believe that so many people are still here,” he said. “It’s amazing that we’re all here together watching history.”

As 10 p.m. neared, there was an overwhelming consensus within the audience to stay until every poll had closed. All around students remained enraptured, coming together on the second floor, so they could join in on the final moments together. The raffles continued, and more food was promised to those who wished to stay. 

Caoimhe Boyle ’22 shared her excitement about the students who chose to stay.

“This election is so important for our country’s future and I’m just really happy that our student body cares,” she said. “We’re looking at an event that will seriously affect our government and we need to take part in it, and watching the polls close is a great start.”

At the official end of the night, the polls were still open, and students continued watching the multiple projector screens, waiting for the final news. Many had laptops and readings out, keeping up with their work as they kept up with the political climate. Regardless of the final outcome of the election, the students at the watch party were united in their understanding of civic engagement and their duty as citizens. 

The event was an initiative created by the Whig-Clio society with the help of USG and ODUS through the Vote100 campaign. It ran from 6 to 11 p.m. on Nov. 6.

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