Oscar Merino, a senior majoring in biology, is not an American citizen and couldnt vote in the election Tuesday. He enthusiastically spread the word to vote for President Barack Obama, visiting his local Obama for America campaign office in the weeks leading up to the election.
Merino, who moved from Cuba in 2008, is planning to become a citizen next year and to go to pharmacy school, and said he felt that Obama was the best candidate for him all along and he looks forward to how the re-election will impact him.
After the presidential election results sank in, the excitement from the night lingered as students look to what the next four years could bring to them with Obama in office.
Merino said he thinks Obama will bring better federal student aid rates.
Im definitely excited, Merino said. I think it will impact me directly in regards to my graduate schooling.
Obamas immigration policies are also of great concern to Merino.
I have a lot of undocumented friends and people who are close to me, he said. Obama is definitely going to pass immigration reform this time around.
A big factor in the election was health care, with the presidents proposed policy allowing students to stay on their parents health insurance plans until age 26, a topic that Susan MacManus, a political science professor at USF and political analyst, said she thinks will be an important topic in Obamas second term.
One of his top priorities will be implementing or giving a re-look at Obamacare, she said. In their second terms presidents start thinking about their legacy and Obamacare was meant to be his.
Carmelo Cuellar, a junior majoring in criminology, is looking forward to what the President can do about health care.
Though he has health insurance, Cuellar said hes worried about his healthcare costs.
Right now Im lucky because I have (health insurance) through my mom, but when I turn 26, I have to find my own, Cuellar said. Obama will make it affordable.
Imani Sylvester, a senior majoring in health sciences, said she is interested in seeing how Obama tackles issues such as immigration and health care, but particularly womens rights.
She said she was excited that Amendment 6, Florida Abortion, didnt pass in Florida something MacManus said she thought drove more young women voters to the polls.
MacManus said youth engagement in the election seemed to increase as it grew closer to Tuesday.
We had thought the youth vote wouldnt have been as engaged as it was in 2008, MacManus said. (But) when early voting began, it started to peak.
Student excitement may have been in part because of the many different issues in the national dialogue this election season, she said.
What is clear is you see a clear generational divide, MacManus said. The younger generation is much more diverse politically, culturally and racially.
Merino said he thinks Obamas policies will focus more on the youth this term.
Obama is more focused on the new generation and college students and the future of this country, he said.
Merino said he looks forward to the next election season next time, he will be able to vote.