Boston University students hunkered down at the George Sherman Union Tuesday night to watch Donald Trump clinch the presidency of the United States.
Approximately 150 students gathered at BU Central and the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground for the watch party, which was organized by the Dean of Students office, the Student Activities Office and the HTC. Projectors and screens in the areas featured CNN, MSNBC and live election maps from The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Nicholas Fuentes, a Trump supporter who came to the watch party later in the night, said he is excited about what Republicans will do in the next four year. He and two other supporters donned “Make America Great Again” hats and carried around a blue Trump-Pence flag.
“For the first time since 1928, the Republicans are going to control the Senate, the House and the White House,” said Fuentes, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. “We’re going to hope to do a lot of good for people with that power. This is Brexit all over again. It’s a really solid victory.”
The year-and-a-half-long campaign came down to the early hours of Wednesday, when Trump gained an upper hand in the electoral votes.
Karol Montilla, a junior in CAS, said the results were a shock, but people should remain hopeful.
“Going forward, it’s important not to lose hope,” she said at BU Central. “I don’t feel hopeful now, but it’s important not to fear the future presidency. It’s important for people to speak out.”
Students chattered throughout the night and expressed anxiety about the close results.
Cristian Morales, a first-year graduate student in the College of Engineering, said the results make him feel uneasy.
“As a gay Mexican-American, I have a lot riding on this election,” Morales said. “I also volunteered a lot during the primary season, and because I was so involved in this, it means a lot. It’s really nerve-wracking.”
When the HTC closed at 1 a.m., students went to BU Central, which stayed open for another hour.
Natalia Deibe, a junior in CAS, stayed until the end of the watch party. She said the idea of Trump winning is disturbing.
“I’m very disappointed by America in general, how bigoted and xenophobic and disgustingly racist and sexist it is,” Deibe said. “He could say whatever he wants and they would still defend him.”
Flags, banners and patriotic decorations adorned BU Central. Students posed with cutouts of the two candidates throughout the night.
An “expression board” in the BU Central alleyway allowed students to write why they voted, what issues matter to them and why elections matter.
“I have a voice and it deserves to be heard,” one student wrote in purple marker. “Communities of color shouldn’t live in fear…” another wrote in red.
Earlier in the night, students cheered when states including Massachusetts, Virginia and California were called for Clinton. They booed when CNN called Florida for Trump.
Pedro Falci, assistant director of the HTC, said the atmosphere during election night is more conversational compared to the presidential debate viewing parties hosted by the center earlier this semester.
“Here it’s kind of passive as you’re watching the results come in, but you don’t need to be glued to the TV,” Falci said. “I’m seeing a lot of anxious students questioning what’s happening.”
The ambience among students evolved from comedic to tense as the night progressed. Students began to shed tears as Trump gained strong lead with electoral votes.
The HTC viewing party became more silent as the TV monitors showed a disappointed crowd at the Clinton headquarters in New York.
Ramya Babu, a senior in CAS studying math and political science, said she felt stressed at the watch party in the HTC. She said it’s disappointing that not as many people were excited about the chance to elect the first woman president in the country.
“So much of the attacks this election have been gendered,” Babu said. “People don’t give her enough credit.”
Fatmah Alquhaidi, a student at the Center for English Language and Orientation Programs, said she came to the watch party in BU Central with friends to see how others reacted.
“What shocks me is that most people I’ve seen on social media are against Trump, but when I see the results and what voters are saying, it’s interesting,” Alquhaidi said. “I didn’t think he would get this far.”
Alquhaidi, who is from Kuwait, said she wanted Clinton to win because she is an inspiration to women around the world.
“I like girl power,” Alquhaidi said. “I like that she’s a fighter. She’s an example of not giving up.”
She made a bet that if Trump won the election, she will buy her friend a coffee. If Clinton won, Alquhaidi said her friend would buy her one.
Rita Mayoral, a non-degree student in the Metropolitan College, said learning the results in BU Central gave her more insight on the American perspective.
“Instead of seeing it from my residence, I prefer to watch it surrounded by Americans to see
what they think or their reactions,” the exchange student from Spain said. “I study journalism, so it is very important for me to understand the election from inside.”
Alex Mowen, a junior in CAS, said the results made her fear for her safety.
“I wasn’t expecting myself of being scared,” she said at around 2 a.m., as students emptied out of BU Central. “Even if Clinton wins, there is still half the country that supports Trump. I’m ashamed and disappointed all of this has happened.”