Election night ended on a high note for Student Government’s UVote campaign, when more than 200 voters shuffled into the UVU Ballroom for the “Rock the VOTE” after-party. Several supporters of the 2008 election could be seen wearing their “I Voted” stickers or buttons as they settled into seats with pizza offered by Student Government.
Those who attended had the option of riding a mechanical bull or jumping around in an inflatable bounce house if they dared, as they watched the night’s election on a large projector screen. Two local bands, Summer Rising and The J-Riders, were present to entertain those gathered for no charge.
Shortly after nine, it was announced that John McCain had conceded and Barack Obama was our new President of the United States. More than half of the students cheered and clapped with excitement, while the rest smiled or kept talking to each other. When voters at the event were asked how they felt about Obama becoming president, they gave mixed responses.
“I guess I’m just really anxious to see what’s going to happen now, to see if these ‘changes’ are really going to happen. I really do hope he will be successful, so we’ll see,” said Stephanie Hintze, a junior at UVU.
Josh Jenks, a community member, said, “I’m not a fan of the redistribution plan or a socialistic style of government.”
When Girard Hardy, a senior at UVU, was asked how he felt about Obama becoming president he replied, “Excited. Happy. Relieved. I’ve been interested in Obama since ’04 and a staunch supporter really since before he declared his candidacy. Honestly, as a black man living in America, now I know that my children, and my children’s children can do anything and be anyone they want.”
Trevor Tooke, the executive vice president of UVU’s Student Government, oversaw the “Rock the VOTE” event and explained that the purpose of the night was “to provide an opportunity to express thanks to those on our campus for their political involvement” and “for politically engaged students to come together.”
Tom Merrill, the Chief Justice of Student Government, was instrumental in the night’s success. He said of the event, “I think it was excellent. We got a lot of non-traditional voters out. The justice committee is what made this night happen.”
As the night’s events died down, most of the students stayed late to hear Obama’s acceptance speech.
Some students were heard cheering for what Obama was saying, while others talked quietly. Not all of the students voted the same, but everyone who attended seemed to enjoy the evening.