Nov 032008
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

Head: Student Democrats welcome Obama presidency

By Aaron Hedge

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

“Five, four, three, two, one,” shouted the Democratic natural science majors and teachers who filled a Fort Collins home in the seconds leading up to CNN’s announcement that Sen. Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the U.S.

The crowd of about 30 self-described liberal partisans that filled graduate student Ethan Billingsley’s living room erupted into raucous cheers when the headline “BARACK OBAMA ELECTED PRESIDENT” spread across the lower-third banner on the widescreen TV.

Sean Hill, another graduate student turned to a woman standing next to him and said, “I feel like a hug is in order because Obama just won,” and embraced her.

The tension in the room had been building as the Sunshine Wheat beer flowed from a keg in the back yard, and the group, most of which had spent the past days canvassing the Fort Collins community for Obama’s campaign, cheered every time a CNN projection listed Obama as in the lead.

Natural resources instructor Brett Bruyer sat in the kitchen with a laptop and a bottle of Jack Daniels handy throughout the night yelling updates on local elections and media calls from other news organizations.

“Musgrave’s getting her ass kicked, people,” he announced to the living room.

And civil engineering intern Dave Stack gave updates over the evening from his mother, who was campaigning for Obama in Pennsylvania.

“This is my mom on the phone, and she says that NPR just called Pennsylvania for Obama,” he said to a frenzy of cheers.

About half an hour and several beers later, he announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, my mom is on the phone again, and she’s at home right now in Baltimore, and she said FOX News just called Ohio for Obama.”

The cheers got louder.

“Oh my gosh. There’s no way,” said Karina Mullen, a senior natural resources major when CNN started projecting that a John McCain presidency was a long shot. She pumped her fists in the air. This was the moment she had been waiting for for almost two years. “Oh my gosh. This is incredible.”

As CNN took commercial breaks, Hill and senior natural resources major Micah Davis said the 2008 presidential election would go down as one of the most storied campaigns in history because of the level of student involvement and what they said was an urgent need in the U.S. for change.

“This has probably been the biggest campaign ever,” Davis said.

“What’s been really awesome is seeing the student body involvement,” Hill said.

“There was kind of a paranoia like this cannot happen again,” Davis said in reference to the last eight years of the neoconservative brand of politics.

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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