May 25, 2010

Fall 2008: University Celebrates Obama Election

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Obamania erupted in Col­lege­town just after 11 p.m. on Nov. 4, 2008 as Barack Obama was declared the next president of the United States. People poured out of bars and crowded the streets as they soaked in the historic moment.“It’s crazy, oh, my God,” Leslie Tseng ’10 said. “Everyone is running up and down Dryden Road, yelling ‘Barack Obama’ and setting off fireworks.”Celebration sparked across Ithaca following Obama’s victory. Students congregated on Ho Plaza and stormed into Olin Library in a euphoric surge of exhilaration.Near the Commons, conga drums rattled as over 100 people of all ages breakdanced and sang, yelled and cheered in front of a giant screen at a party hosted at the Women’s Community Building by the Tompkins County Workers’ Center.Only about 30 percent of Cornellians are from New York State, so many had already mailed their absentee ballots prior to Tuesday. Nonetheless, many students turned up to polling stations across the University on Election Day to vote for the next president of the United States. Upon casting their votes, many students proudly displayed an “I voted” sticker on their chests for the first time.By 4 p.m. a short line had formed at the polling station in Robert Purcell Community Center. When asked about the turnout, a staff widened her eyes and simply exclaimed, “Huge!”“The voters here are mostly students. They are very patient and polite in lines,” said an Ithaca resident who volunteered at a polling station for the first time. Although she only received minimum wage for her efforts, she emphasized that money was not the reason behind her involvement.“It’s our civic duty,” she laughed.An overwhelming majority of voters in Ithaca chose Barack Obama over John McCain, with the Illinois Senator garnering over 85 percent of the vote.Although national polls mostly pointed to a Democratic victory, excited supporters of Barack Obama were cautious not to celebrate too early. Students and Ithacans alike said that they felt “excited but nervous.”

Original Author: Sun Staff