Stanislaus State students hit Downtown Turlock on election night, eager to see their votes at work thanks to a viewing party hosted by the university at Hauck’s Grill.
The viewing party was just one of many ways that Stanislaus State has encouraged students to get involved in this year’s presidential election. In the weeks leading up to the election, the university focused on registering students to vote through weekly registration booths and educated the student body on candidates and other important issues through flyers, events and dialogue.
“These are things that are going to affect not only us, but our children and more generations to come,” said Stanislaus State sophomore Emily Yonan. “We need to be knowledgeable and not just believe what our friends think or what our parents tell us to believe, but to be able to make our own choices and know why we believe what we believe and why we support it.”
Yonan was the event’s lone Donald Trump supporter, and decided to vote for the Republican candidate after some thorough research.
“Initially, I wasn’t thinking about it (voting for Trump) because of the way the media portrayed him so poorly, but then after really researching into the causes that he supports…I realized that he is somebody who has created a lot of jobs in the past and has done more good than people think,” said Yonan. “I don’t think he’s the best person to put into office, but I think personally he is the better of the two options tonight.”
Fellow sophomore Wonuola Olagunju was weary of the two presidential candidates as well, but ultimately casted her vote for Hillary Clinton.
“People do have issues with some of the things she’s done in the past, but I believe she’s a pretty good candidate and should be the next president of the United States,” said Olagunju. “(If Clinton wins) I’m just going to smile really bright and hope the next four years go okay.”
Junior Ian Scott spent the weeks leading up to the June primary elections campaigning for Bernie Sanders, and despite being disappointed that his first choice didn’t end up receiving the Democratic nomination decided to support Clinton.
“This election is much too important than choosing someone else just because you didn’t like them in the primaries,” said Scott. “People like to talk about how important history is — it really wasn’t about that, it was about being able to have a say in the political process for years to come.”
Yonan, who voted for the first time on Tuesday, reveled in the experience.
“I thought it was a lot more empowering than I thought it would be leading up to this day,” she said. “I was like, ‘Okay it’s just election day. It doesn’t mean that much since we have the electoral college and they do all of it,’ but actually going to the voting place, casting your ballot and knowing that you actually do make a difference and your voice does count and that you do have the power to make a difference, I think people take that for granted.”