Presidential Election Excitement Grips Holy Cross Students

Washington Semester participants in thick of action

November 7th, 2012 by 

From left, Solon Kelleher '15, Christopher Tota '13, Nikki Lombardi, community development coordinator of Wheeler Hall, and Alexandra Scalici '14 wait to hear presidential election results in Crossroads, where coverage of the election was projected on a big screen throughout the evening. Image by Dave Cotrone ’13

Student groups have been actively involved in the political process since early in the calendar year. This semester they held voter registration and absentee ballot drives, organized debate watching parties, and kept up to date with political news. Not surprisingly, the energy hit a peak on Election Day.

Election Day on Campus

  • The Student Government Association shuttled approximately 30 students — some of whom voted for the first time — to the polls from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Students behind Ride to the Polls, an outreach program through Student Programs for Urban Development, transported Worcester residents — many of them elderly or with a disability — who needed a lift to their voting place, according to Kevin Molloy ’13, the lead community organizer for SPUD. Seven organizers planned the day, five students served as drivers and four students accompanied the rides.
  • The Tuesday night “10-Spot” in Crossroads, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, drew scores of students to Crossroads and the Pub last night. Students participated in election-themed trivia, and election results were projected on a big screen throughout the evening.
  • The College Democrats, a student organization, worked with the Elizabeth Warren campaign to conduct poll checking and canvass neighborhoods in Worcester. “It was an incredible experience, one which wouldn’t have been possible without the work of Warren campaign intern Neema Hakim ’14 and our advisor Ed Augustus, director of Government and Community Relations at Holy Cross,” says co-chair Henry Callegary ’14.
  • Several members of the College Republicans joined 800 Romney volunteers at Boston’s TD Garden as part of their get-out-the-vote effort, dubbed Project ORCA. “Volunteering for the Romney campaign was a great opportunity to learn about the election, and it was great to see all the people working for one mission, says Katie Bullek ’15. “It was really inspiring.”
  • Donald Brand, professor and chair of political science, teaches two sections of a class called Presidential Selection. As part of their continuing conversation on the election, they discussed the returns in today’s classes. One assignment asked students to create an Electoral College map predicting the outcome of the election in the various states. They also had to write a policy memo to both President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Finally, the class had three simulated debates over the past month, with students divided into three groups: Romney, Obama, and moderators posing questions. “The three groups rotated for each of the debates, so every student in the class had to make the case for both Obama and Romney, simulating the law school practice of making students argue both sides of the case,” says Brand.

Election Day in Washington, D.C.

Fifteen students are currently in the nation’s capital as part of the Washington Semester Program, where they are working, studying and carrying out research in Washington, D.C. for a full semester’s academic credit. Here are some of their reflections.

  • Garett Bych ’14 says, “The atmosphere throughout Washington, D.C., was awesome. It was hard if not impossible to walk down a single street without signs encouraging voters to go to the polls, buttons on jackets for Obama-Biden or Romney-Ryan and a ton of all-around American pride and enthusiasm. I have had a great time working and living in D.C. and seeing as only once every eight semesters there is a presidential election, I cannot see a better way to finish out my time here and am lucky and proud to be in our nation’s capitol for this historic event.”
  • “A few friends and I ordered pizza and had a watch party from our apartment, where we debated and colored in maps with guesses of which way swing states would go as we watched the results come in,” says Annie Wynters ’14. “Later in the evening, we decided to head over to the White House. It was amazing how many people were there — some even climbing on trees to get a better view of the White House! There were cars driving by honking horns, people singing American tunes and drinking champagne — lots of excitement. We took a walk to the Washington and Lincoln Monuments, too. It was definitely an unforgettable night — and a memory I think we will all look back on fondly many years to come!”
  • William Wahrer ’14 is interning at government watchdog group Common Cause. “During the voting process my office was one of the key players in the national voter protection hotline and we helped thousands of citizens with various problems they encountered, which was really rewarding,” he says.

What’s Ahead

  • The political science department will hold a post-election analysis panel on Nov. 12 from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rehm Library. The panel will feature Donald Brand, professor and chair; Daniel Klinghard, associate professor; B. Jeffrey Reno, associate professor; Alison Mangiero, instructor; and Erik Filipiak, visiting assistant professor. Faculty will offer insight into the demographic breakdown of the vote, looking particularly at women voters since they were a major focus on the campaign; as well as the likely consequences of the election, especially implications for replacing Supreme Court nominations. “Our panel should provide some interesting analysis of the election,” says Brand.

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