November 8, 2016, will most likely go down in history as one of the most shocking days in history.
Regardless of your support for Trump, Clinton or any third party candidate, it's no secret that Donald Trump's Electoral College victory in the 2016 Presidential Election was rather unexpected. College students were told again and again how important their vote was, and that proved to be even more true based on close races in numerous states on Election Night. Millennials are often stereotyped as liberal, and even though that certainly isn't the widespread case, College Democrats on campuses across the nation were important for energizing new voters this year. Of course, College Democrats are now facing interesting challenges - with a soon to be Republican-controlled White House, Senate, House, Gubernatorial positions and most likely Supreme Court - and might be confused about where they stand. In light of the election results, Fresh U caught up with five different College Democrat chapters at campuses across the nation via e-mail and social media. These five groups provided great insight on their post-election feelings and plans to live out the idea that "love trumps hate."
1. Georgetown University
The College Democrats at Georgetown University are actively involved in and around D.C., and immediately caught the attention of junior Mattie Haag, a government major with English and French minors, two years ago. She is now the Chair of College Democrats at Georgetown and spoke to how the College Democrats on her campus plan to move forward:
"We will continue to seek out every opportunity until the end of the semester to agitate, advocate and make sure that people don't get complacent. We are going to write letters to our Congresspeople and Senators and urge them to push through Merrick Garland's Supreme Court nomination and shut down Trump's appointment of Stephen Bannon... We will refuse to let hatred and bigotry become the status quo."
2. Missouri University of Science and Technology
Sophomore Donald Morard, a history major and Russian minor, is a founding member of the latest College Democrats chapter at Missouri S&T, with the last club disbanding after the 2012 election and the new chapter forming in spring 2016. Morard addressed the disappointment of his club in the results and how they plan to move forward in a now Republican-controlled Missouri:
"While our organization did support Hillary Clinton, our efforts primarily focused on supporting state-level candidates Chris Koster for Governor and Jason Kander for U.S. Senator... The general emotion among our membership post-election has been shock: many of us thought Hillary Clinton was sure to win; however, that is not what happened this year. Although most of us are upset about the outcome, we are staying positive and looking at how we can build support as an organization while making a positive impact on everyone. Every Democrat lost down-ticket in Missouri, which can be quite discouraging and worrisome, but we see that the best way to combat these feelings is to organize and stay active both individually and as an organization."
3. Temple University
Temple University freshman Ben Aitoumeziane, a political science major, was inspired to join the Temple College Democrats after his work with the Young Democrats of Arkansas in high school. As the policy director for College Democrats on his campus, Aitoumeziane noted the confusion spanning both Temple's club and the Democratic party:
"The main thing Temple College Democrats did was release a statement on Twitter... Everyone knew the stakes of the election, so as a party right now, we're not really sure what's going on. Fears and angers are warranted, but we're not giving up. We're going to take that fear and let it drive us to 2018. We can't give up right now."
4. Washington University in St. Louis
As a host of the second Presidential debate on October 9 of this year, Washington University in St. Louis certainly played a key role in the U.S. political scene prior to this election. WashU freshman and political science major Geordan Neinstein focused on the somber feeling on his campus the day after the election:
"The whole campus was just depressed. You'd think someone died because everyone was in such disbelief. This is really the first time that the results go beyond politics... last week we hosted a 'love trumps hate' rally because acceptance is stronger than hatred."
Since the College Democrats at WashU had yet to respond collectively to President-elect Trump when the interview was conducted, Neinstein commented on students' personal desires to make a change post-election:
"Personally I've been doing a few things. I started a petition to make Election Day a national holiday, because that could really have an impact on people."
5. West Virginia University
WVU sophomore Emma Harrison noted that college-age Democrats are called "Young Democrats" on her campus. Just like the College Democrats at Missouri S&T, WVU Young Democrats also helped Democratic candidates campaign for local and state positions. Harrison, a political science major with a Africana Studies/Leadership/Women's and Gender Studies minor serves treasurer of the WVU Young Democrats, and she highlights the organization's focus on positivity on her campus:
"The biggest thing that we are doing is not responding to the College Republicans. By purposely ignoring the negativity, I think we are sending the message of positivity. We also sponsored an event [on November 14] that was called "Unity," in which students came together to discuss their fears and it was a good way to show that WVU is a supportive place to go to school."
Although some College Democrat groups chose to respond with activism while others have yet to fully process the election results, the consensus from all five interviews seems to reflect the idea of not giving up, even though a Democrat was not elected to the highest office in the United States. As young voters and future leaders, college students currently have the power to make an influence on their campuses, communities and even their nation. If you're feeling dismayed about Donald Trump being our President-elect, meditate on the words of Temple College Democrat's Ben Aitoumeziane:
"Our allyship is going to be put to the test... now is not the time to give up on politics."
Lead Image Credit: Fillippo Diotalevi via Flickr Creative Commons