Scenes from election night across Mount Holyoke’s campus

BY SHILOH FREDERICK '17

Packed with students on both the balcony and ground floors, the Great Room of Blanchard Campus Center seemed to be the most popular choice for viewing Tuesday night’s election results. Several students, however, opted to spend the night away from the big screen in Blanchard. They chose to watch the results in dorm common rooms, in academic buildings or they abstained from watching altogether. The following gives a glimpse into how election night was spent around the campus.

Eliot House

Photo by Shiloh Frederick ’17 Students gather in the Eliot House for an election-free night on campus.

Photo by Shiloh Frederick ’17
Students gather in the Eliot House for an election-free night on campus.

Nashalie Vazquez, associate director of Residential Life, could not recall if the college has ever hosted an Election-Free Zone. “But it’s the first [election] that’s necessitated one,” she said.

At 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, Vazquez, Eliot House staff members and nearly a dozen students gathered in the Eliot House lounge for respite from the tension and anxiety that gripped the rest of the campus. Students squeezed homemade Play-Doh infused with lavender, tea tree, lemon and peppermint oils while munching on cheese puffs, cupcakes, cookies and other snacks from the massive spread of comfort food laid out in the back of the room.

Toward the front of the room, students occasionally acknowledged the television screen that displayed Gilmore Girls instead of election results. However, their trip to the fictional town of Stars Hollow was cut short when the connection between the television and the laptop, from which the show was being streamed, was interrupted. In the midst of the hustle to get the show back on, a student quietly asked what time the polls would close in California.

Skinner Hall Room 202

Photo by Shiloh Frederick ’17 Students in Skinner anxiously watching news stations for election results.

Photo by Shiloh Frederick ’17
Students in Skinner anxiously watching news stations for election results.

With the plastic tables pushed along the walls and blankets spread out on the carpet, room 202 of Skinner Hall could have been mistaken for a laid-back party instead of an election results screening. Nonetheless, the crowd of 20 students in the room were vigilant to the changing numbers from NBC, Google and The New York Times projected on a large screen.

Danielle Brown ’18, who organized this screening, had intended it to be an alternative to what was happening directly across Skinner Green. “I just didn’t want what the vibe of Blanchard might be like, which is like people crying, people being really stressed. It’s already very stressful no matter what happens.”

 Despite the R&B and indie music playlist Brown had put together and the stack of Domino’s pizza the students devoured, anxiety ebbed into the classroom throughout the evening. As the votes favoring Trump increased, a few students left the room visibly upset 

Around 2:00 a.m., when the polls seemed to be stagnant and disappointment settled in, students who remained took a break from the political pundits and watched a few scenes from the animated movie “Zootopia,” as well as two episodes of “Bob’s Burgers.” The distraction was only temporary. In the end, reality could not be held off.

Porter Hall Common Room

Photo by Shiloh Frederick ’17 Georgie Hoffman ’17 seeks comfort from Walter, Ella Sevier’s emotional support dog, while watching election results in the Porter common room.

Photo by Shiloh Frederick ’17
Georgie Hoffman ’17 seeks comfort from Walter, Ella Sevier’s emotional support dog, while watching election results in the Porter common room.

At first glance, the four students (and one dog) in the Porter Hall common room did not seem as though they were paying much attention to the election results being displayed on the television screen. One student was seated at the room’s piano with their back to the screen, playing the same three notes. Another student sat on the arm of a couch, practicing their Chinese for a class presentation. Two other students, Georgie Hoffman ’17 and Ella Sevier ’20, shared a couch and attention from Sevier’s emotional support dog Walter. 

“We’re ignoring [results] and pretending that everything is alright,” said Sevier. 

For Hoffman, who is from London, this night was eerily familiar to the Brexit vote that occurred in June. It was hard for her to ignore the election results as the night progressed. Hoffman compared the situation to a conversation she had with a friend earlier that day. “You know when you’re little and you’re afraid of a thunderstorm and you try to hide from it so you can’t hear it, but you can always hear it? That’s what it’s like today, like you can’t get away from it.”

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