Election 2012: DUC results party draws all types of students

Henderson freshman Benquil Marigny and Gloria-Mychelle Akakpo, 18, of Louisville, react after seeing state results appear for the 2012 presidential election. A large number of WKU students gathered in the auditorium at Downing University Center to watch live election coverage.

Tyler Prochazka

After years of campaigning and millions of dollars spent, WKU students were anxious to finally find out who would be the next president of the United States.

Several WKU organizations organized an election watch party to watch the results trickle in throughout the night. The DUC auditorium, fitted with American flags and red and blue balloons, was nearly full of students who came to watch the live NBC news stream on the large projector screen.


Fort Knox senior Austin Wingate said the watch party was important to bring students of all political backgrounds to watch the results together.

“It invites the student body in large mass to watch efforts that they have done,” Wingate said.

Wingate was inspired by Obama’s 2008 presidential run to get involved in politics. He is now a political science major and even has his own political aspirations. Wingate ran for Student Goverment Association president last year.

“After I graduate I’m trying to move back to South Carolina to run for Congress, and it may sound cliché, but maybe someday run for president as well,” he said.

Louisville senior Darien Green, who attended the event, organized a walk to the polls with about 40 student participants earlier in the day.

Green said his political science teacher encouraged him to get involved, but he wasn’t able find any cause to get involved with until he came up with this idea to walk with WKU students to voting areas.

“Voting is not something we have the obligation to do, it’s something we have the privilege to do,” he said.

Among those students who attended the watch party, about half of the crowd identified as first time voters this election.

For Mayfield senior Karisha Biggers, the president of the Black Student Alliance, everyone getting out to vote is one of the most important messages she wanted to send.

“I hope everyone went out and cast their vote no matter who they voted for,” Biggers said.

Biggers said that the results of the election are important for students to consider because of the effects it could have on student loans and federal grants, such as the Pell Grants.

Several students who attended said education and college affordability was a big factor in their decisions on who they voted for.

Nashville junior Emily Fields said that access to student loans was her biggest issue this election.

“I still have to pay those to go to school,” Fields said.

As results were announced the crowd showed their bias, with cheers erupting as Obama was projected to win states and some booing when Romney was projected to win states.

When it was reported Ohio as putting Obama over the 270 threshold needed to win the presidency, nearly the entire auditorium jumped on its feet and began screaming.

Although many appeared to support Obama at the event, Green said the event was not about any one candidate, but rather to bring students together.

“You can accomplish a lot when you have unity,” Green said.

This was a message that Paducah senior Breia Stubblefield agreed with.

“Coming together as a country is important regardless of who is president,” Stubblefield said. “We all have to stick together in the end.”