Students celebrate Obama’s victory

By Rita Totten, Staff Writer


The countdown began to mark the closing of the California polls and the announcement of the projected winner.

Students gathered in the Union Crimson View erupted in celebration as CNN news anchors announced Sen. Barack Obama as the winner of the 2008 presidential election, making him the 44th president of the United States and the first black president in the history of the nation.

“Literally my heart is beating so fast from the sheer enormity of it all,” said Ben Steigers, a senior in philosophy. “This is the story we’ll be telling our kids in 50 years. This is history.”

To celebrate the end of the election season, the Hinckley Institute of Politics, the Associated Students of the University of Utah and the Union Programming Council teamed up to host an election night party in the Union on Nov. 4.

Students, staff, faculty and members of the local press gathered to watch the results of each state come in.

“I’m excited about the future,” said Katie Kormanik, a junior in math and economics.

Kormanik said she came to the event to be able to celebrate with other Obama supporters.

Although a majority of those in attendance sported Obama T-shirts and pins, not everyone was supporting the Democratic candidate.

“I think Obama will win by a landslide,” said Long Le, a junior in biochemistry. “But everyone voted for Obama and I wanted to be different so I voted for McCain.”

Andrew Jensen, director of the Government Relations Board for ASUU, said that the student government is a nonpartisan group and it wanted to make the event as inclusive as possible.

“But many of the people involved are bipartisan, so it makes for an interesting mix,” Jensen said.

The party, which was promoted at a UVote concert, was a way for students to come together to commemorate the commencement of the election season.

Patrons of the party competed in an Electoral College Bowl, where they predicted which candidate would take which states, as well as how many seats would be won by Democrats and Republicans.

The students whose brackets were the closest to the actual results received gift cards.

Local race results were also tracked as they came in from the lieutenant governor’s Web site.

As the number of electoral votes won by Obama continued to climb, students shared their excitement about the results with one another.

“This is unbelievable,” said Maryam Safee, a second-year medical student. “It’s history in the making. ”

Jordan Spain, a senior in health promotion and education, summed up her reaction to Obama’s victory in one word: “Amazing.”

“Obama is the leader to bring in the change that we need,” she said.

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Erik Daenitz/The Daily Utah Chronicle

U grad student Wazir Jefferson and U alumna Betty Sawyer celebrate the election of Barack Obama as president during an election party in the Union.