Election Day was Nov. 6, and all across America, voters took to the polls to have their political voices heard. While the evening drew on and polls were staring to close, Main Street in the Commons was turned into a viewing site for the results. Chairs were placed out with a large projector showing live coverage of the election results while more than 250 students were served pizza, drinks and had the chance to win big-ticket prizes through games. Cheers were heard occasionally throughout the Main Street area as students were pleased with some of the candidates that they were hoping would win. The event, called Election Night Extravaganza, was sponsored by the Student Government Association, which is led by President Collin Sullivan, a senior studying information systems and economics.
“One of the things [that] we talk a lot about in SGA is that we don’t have a lot of traditions on campus [since UMBC is only 52 years old],” Sullivan said. Election Night Extravaganza, which started in 2004, is not only an ongoing tradition at UMBC, but also a motivation for people to to vote and be civically involved.
The organization even provided transportation for students during the early voting time period. The Sullivan also added, “[We partner] with other student orgs [such as] College Republicans and College Democrats and Student Events Board so that we are balanced and our own ideological views don’t come out.”
Election Night Extravaganza is usually held every four years for presidential election. In 2016 they put on the event for the Presidential Election in which Donald Trump was voted as America’s 45th President. Sullivan recalled that, while the event went off without a hitch, the Extravaganza had a sour note added to it at the end because the Presidential Nominee then “wasn’t the result that we were expecting.”
More recently though, after a Coffee and Conversation meeting this semester, Student Government got the idea to host another Election Night Extravaganza — this time for the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Sullivan added that this specific election could have had very historic consequences, such as America possibly having its very first African-American female governor in Stacey Abrams.
At the event itself, many members of the UMBC community were passionate about the election and voiced why the midterms were important to them. “The people I love are members of groups that have [historically been] politically disadvantaged,” stated Ralph Aquino, a third-year student studying computer science. “I vote to preserve their dignity [and] fight ignorant stereotypes.”
Chukwudi Onwuka, a senior majoring in biological sciences, noted, “[Voting] gives us the opportunity to … make real changes happen in our lifetime. It’s truly … a gift that we need to take full advantage of.”
As of now, The New York Times reports that while the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives, voters have allowed the “Republicans [to retain] their control of the Senate.” The Times also mentioned that now both the Republican and Democratic parties will rule in Washington D.C., instead of just one controlling both the Senate and House.