Students take to streets

People cheered, strangers hugged. Others honked car horns and blasted music from their radios. Supporters of Sen. Barack Obama filled the streets of USF with cheers Tuesday night when the Democratic candidate was elected the next president of the United States.

As the night progressed, students at USF gathered in groups both large and small to watch the 2008 election coverage. Students met in Beef ‘O’ Brady’s and in dorm lounges, while several student organizations held a watch party in the Marshall Student Center.

When the news stations announced the results, cheers could be heard throughout the campus.

Students who voted for Obama were ecstatic, while McCain supporters reacted to the news with wonder and respect.

“This is about so much more — it’s about us,” said sophomore Mara Latorre, an Obama supporter who knew this election would be historic when her Republican mother voted for Obama.

“I think the rest of the world will view America better, but there is a cost to pay for that,” said freshman Blake Kimble, who voted for McCain.

The Progressive Black Men held a watch party in the Marshall Student Center with seven other organizations, including the Black Student Union, Club Creole and Sistuhs Inc.

Greg Carroll, president of the Progressive Black Men, was excited about all the people who gathered to watch and celebrate, and stressed that every vote mattered in this election.

“It’s great to see everyone come out and to see that everyone voted,” he said.

Freshman Nicole John, an international studies and political science major who voted for the first time this year, was excited because this was the first time a candidate “looked like (her).”

No matter the result, many students were just excited to have a chance to vote in what they called a historic election.

“Either way, the whole experience was awesome,” John said.

“I feel special being able to tell my children I was there,” said sophomore Ron Hollins, a biomedical science major.

Students of all political views and backgrounds gathered in dorm lounges to do homework and watch the coverage. For many, it was their first time voting.

“This is probably the most historic election in our lifetime,” said freshman political science major Ryan Reif. “This is our future we’re watching.”

As the state predictions began rolling in, students were skeptical about what might happen.

Elizabeth Vazquez, a sophomore economics major who watched the beginning of election coverage from Beef’s, said she was just hoping that everything went well in Florida — without any of the confusion of the last election.

Beef’s hostess Kristen Miller did not expect such a crowd, and said the restaurant was usually not very busy on Tuesdays.

The seats, however, were almost filled for much of the night.

Meanwhile, on the second floor of the Marshall Student Center, the room was similarly crowded. At times, it was too loud for anyone to hear the news coverage of election results.

“This is really exciting,” said Tiffany Evelyn, a sophomore pre-nursing major. “I don’t want to go home.”