On one of the nation’s most historic days, the UM campus remained calm and still just hours before the polls closed and the country’s next president was announced.
Students all across campus could be seen wearing “I VOTED!” stickers and red, white and blue clothing. Various clubs and student organizations held events and set up tables on campus to celebrate Election Day 2016.
Despite these glimpses of political participation, the campus was much quieter than usual, according to freshman Matt O’Brien from New Jersey.
“I expected it to be louder and rowdier than it is,” O’Brien said. “The campus seems hushed. It seems like everyone is nervous, in suspense.”
Still, key areas still bustled with political activity, highlighting that Election Day was still alive on campus, if only barely.
Get Out The Vote (GOTV) threw an election event at the heart of campus from 12-4 p.m. at The Rock. GOTV gave out free t-shirts to students who brought their “I VOTED!” stickers or other proof of voting.
Stefanie Rodriguez, a junior from Miami, has been a GOTV member since last year.
“We want to make everyone aware that they need to vote,” she said. “I feel like people are siding one way or another. Also, for a lot of people it is their first election. I feel like we have accomplished our goal of making these people aware of voting.”
In the breezeway, The University of Miami Young College Democrats said that they set up a table in order to emphasize that there is a Democratic presence on campus on this historical day. Next to the table where students can receive free merchandise was a life-sized Hillary cardboard cutout. Various students walking to class stopped to pose for pictures.
College Dems Involvement Director, sophomore Angelica Duque from New York, explained that the organization wants people to know that things are still progressive and liberal on Election Day.
“Right now, most people have decided who they are voting for,” Duque said. “We just want to reinforce a Democratic presence for those people.”
Duque, a “proud member” of the College Dems, is voting for Clinton because she feels she is the most qualified candidate to run the country because of her views on pro-choice, equal pay, maternity and sick leave, immigration policies and her college plan.
Duque explains that if Clinton does not win, she will “have a panic attack, collect myself, then wonder if there is a way I can study abroad next semester.”
At the Merrick fountain, near the School of Education and Human Development and School of Business, students bustled their way to classes sporting their best USA apparel.
Melba Costas, a freshman from Orlando, wore a black T-shirt with Rolling Stones lips sticking out a tongue covered in an American flag.
“I figured if there was a good day to wear this, it would be today,” Costas said. “I am excited that I saw a lot of Trump stickers and Hilary cutouts today.”
At Richter, students continued to show their Election Day pride in their clothing. Senior Riley Clafton from Nevada wore an American flag top hat in order to show the bright side of politics.
“I donned my hat because there’s a lot of negativity surrounding this election,” Clafton said. “All the political conversations I had were negative. Everyone was bringing others down. I wanted to lighten things up.”
Tonight, Clafton plans on bringing her hat to watch the election at Gramps Bar in Wynwood.
“I figured people would be friendly about the election there,” she said.
Senior and President of College Republicans Chris Dalton was spotted wearing American flag socks, blue pin striped shorts, a College Republicans T-shirt and a Make America Great Again hat.
Dalton’s mission on Election Day is to incentivize more students to get out and vote through answering questions, giving out T-shirts and motivating his peers. He has already registered over 2,000 student voters.
Dalton noted that during this busy election season, and especially during the week of Election Day, sleep has become a second option.
“A normal sleep cycle right now is non-existent,” Dalton said. “It’s all about the cause and making America great again. I will get the recommended hours of sleep when Trump is president. That will be my award!”
Senior Ben Brotherton from St. Louis was also sporting apparel in support of Trump. In his all out American flag shorts, shirt, shoes, socks and MAGA hat, he said, “Were gonna make America great again baby!”
Brotherton planned on watching the election at The Rat event tonight. Regardless of who wins, he plans to “get more drunk.”
“Either way, I will drink to celebrate or drink to wash the sorrows away,” he said.
FROST SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Sigma Alpha Iota, a women’s fraternity, set up a table in front of the Frost School of Music in order to fundraise for their frat. Although the fundraiser’s proceeds have nothing to do with the election, the fundraiser was still election themed. The table was decorated in red, white and blue with cookies, cupcakes and face paint.
SHALALA STUDENT CENTER
Senior Jonathan Blandon from Nicaragua explained that he was unfortunately not allowed to vote in this election while waiting in line for coffee. State law requires that he must be a resident for five years prior to registering to vote, so he will not be able to vote until next election. He has only been a resident for three years; however, his parents are official residents.
“I wish I could vote. I want my voice heard, but it cannot,” Blandon said. “I am worried about my future here.”
Regardless of who wins, Blandon explains that he must accept the outcome.
SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION
Walking through the communication school courtyard was junior Coleman Reardon, who is majoring in public relations and political science. He credits his political science major for helping him realize the importance of student voting. He wore a “NO VOTE, NO VOICE” T-shirt from GOTV in order to encourage his peers to vote.
Unlike most students on campus, Reardon does not strongly side with either candidate. However, as a Democrat from New York, he aligns most with the values that Clinton stands for.
“I am not crazy about either,” Reardon said. “But voting for the candidate that I align with most is important to me.”