You would not expect it, but Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were recently on campus. Their cardboard likenesses were propped up in Kirk Hall on Sept. 14.
With the upcoming US Presidential elections in Nov., the Constitution Day was a perfect occasion to soak students in the atmosphere of politics so that they could voice their opinion on the White House Race. Hosted by the Department of Social Sciences, the event took place in Kirk Hall rooms 123 and 124 from 6 to 8 pm.
As soon as students arrived, they were invited to sign in and register for door prizes. The plan for the event was as follows: Take the Constitution quiz, visit party representatives, watch funny video clips from the election year, snap some photos with cardboard presidential candidates and post it on social media (#SLUConstitutionDay16), watch live panel discussions from political party reps, visit Pi Sigma Alpha’s registration table, and, finally, cast a vote for president.
Students came for several reasons. Many of them were only there for the extra credit. Alexandra Bonnell, a sophomore and hospitality management major, came to the event to get a clear understanding for whom she wishes to vote.
Romario Williams, a freshman in majoring in computer science, said that as an international student, he expects to learn more about the Constitution and the US democratic system.
“Jamaica, where I am from, is based on the British democratic system. It’s different from the US democratic system because we do not vote directly for the Prime Minister; we elect members of parliament,” said Romario. “The party that gains the most votes wins the race, and their party leader becomes the Prime Minister. So I would like to know if you vote directly for the president, if not, how that works.”
When the panel took place, it was interesting to see how students were involved in the discussion. They had tons of questions for the panelists, particularly for the Republican Party representative.
“Do you expect the two parties to maintain a friendship after elections?”
“What are the Parties regulations regarding racial tension in the country?”
At the end of the event, Mr. Frank Orlando, the political science instructor, gave his opinion on the upcoming elections.
“There is a lot of passion about it. As you can see tonight, students were very excited,” said Orlando. “The fact that the candidates aren’t liked, it means that people will be going to the poll because they will want to vote against the person they don’t like rather than the person they do like.”
Orlando believes the purpose of having such an event on campus is for the school to get more political, and to have students share more of their opinions.
“Even though it gets a little rough, that’s okay, because it means that people are getting engaged,” he said. “I’d rather have people getting engaged than people asleep walking around and not knowing what’s going on.”
Orlando also believes that the event was successful even though they could only register eight students to vote where three students come from Pasco County and five students from other counties in Florida.
Eric Martinez, a field organizer that was the panelist for the Democrat Party, voiced his opinion on the effectiveness of the event.
“I was hoping to have the opportunity to speak more one on one with the supporters,” he said. “I know that I shouldn’t be expecting that because there are other representatives also competing trying to speak with the students, but I think that it was pretty well. Students had the opportunity to see how the parties differ and what the details are.”
To top it all off, the winner of the Constitution quiz was Kingsley Nwosu, a sophomore in cyber security. The results of the poll came out with 47 votes for Hillary Clinton and ten votes for Donald Trump, for a total of 57 votes.