On the night of the 2018 midterm elections, about 50 Saybrugians gathered to watch the live updates on key races for the U.S. Senate and House.
With copious amounts of pizza, wings, doritos, soft drinks and salsa, Saybrook College held a viewing party in its multipurpose dance and theater studio called the Underbrook, projecting CNN live coverage onto a large screen. Throughout the evening, students trickled in and out of the room, which was decorated with American flags and red, white and blue balloons.
“I think this is a good opportunity for all of us here at Yale to look at the status of the country,” said David Jiang ’19, who organized the event. “The turnout at this event proves that people regard this as a more important election than the 2016 election, when the turnout was about the same, but people didn’t stay as long.”
Polls began closing at 8 p.m. EST and continued to close until 11 p.m. EST. With many of the races still up in the air late into the night, the mood was tense as the students waited for more information. Scattered cheers travelled through the room at 9:10 p.m. as CNN predicted Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., would win his race. Cheers also erupted at about 10 p.m. when Fox News predicted the Democrats would hold a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jiang, a resident of Saybrook College, organized the party as a member of the Saybrook Committee on Elections.
“It’s a good opportunity to make the results of the election public or more palpable — we all see the physical counts of the votes going up, and we get to see each other’s reactions,” Jiang told the News. “I spent the day encouraging people to vote, and so it’s nice to see the results after the work we all put in.”
Some students groaned as CNN announced Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., as the projected winner of her state’s race. Several students either looked at other election results on their laptop screens or did homework as they watched the live coverage.
The party also featured a bingo game with possible and unlikely phrases that the pundits would say, such as “polls are now closed for,” “Mueller investigations,” “Beto” and “Connecticut turns Republican.” Each winner won $20 from the Saybrook head of college office. Jiang added that the Committee on Elections specifically designated the watch party as a bipartisan space, with hopes of making the party welcoming for all.
“I think that David did an excellent job putting this together, and I’m happy to have contributed to making this space pretty,” said Princess Chukwuneke NUR ’20, a graduate affiliate in Saybrook who helped with the preparations. “I think it is nice for Saybrugians to have come together as a community.”
Dozens of students stayed throughout the night, while others trickled in to take a look at the results and to grab food.
Lucy Zhu ’21 enjoyed watching the election results with her peers in Saybrook and thought the party was well-organized. Several other Saybrugians interviewed also said they were happy to watch the results come in together.
“I think as of right now it doesn’t look super good for the Democrats, but that doesn’t surprise me,” said David McCowin ’21 around 10 p.m. “I’m really appreciative Saybrook has this event.”
Jean Vila GRD ’22, also a graduate affiliate in Saybrook, emphasized that the event reflected the residential college’s strong community.
“One of the great things about this evening is we get to see people from a lot of different class years and backgrounds, including international students,” Vila said.
Saybrook College was established in 1933.
Helena Lyng-Olsen | email@example.com