G, S, G, S, G, S, U, U, U was chanted throughout the second floor of the Favrot Student Union during election night as Grambling State University students jolted with happiness when CNN announced the re-election of President Barack Obama. With 303 electoral votes, Obama won by a huge margin over Gov. Mitt Romney, who ended his presidential campaign with 206 electoral votes.
The bluster of cheers moved from the black and gold onto Main Street with chants of Obama! Obama! Obama! Hosted by the Student Government Association over 200 students flooded the student unions Tiger Den, Black and Gold room and theatre to watch the presidential election.
“The vision of the watch party was conceived over the summer in high excitement about this being an election year because we wanted our students to have the opportunity to come together for a common cause that in this case was positive, motivating, and historic,” said Jonathan Allen, SGA president.
Not only did they sponsor a watch party, but they also offered shuttle rides back and forth to the city voting polls. “According to the sign in sheet we transported 145 students to the polls,” said Allen. It was a must to ensure that our students had the necessary assistance to make it to the polls to exercise their right to vote.”
He added that the watch party and shuttle service was a part of their political awareness initiatives this semester. Through their awareness SGA was able to register over 780 students, many who were first time voters and Obama supporters.
“I’m 19-years-old and its my first time voting,” said Franklin Nelson, a Shreveport native. “It’s a great feeling right now. This is the result when you go after you want. Barack Obama shows that if you work hard we can achieve.”
Derrick Young, SGA director of student relations shared similar sentiments as President Obama was re-elected. “It feels great. My voice can finally be heard,” he said.
Senior and first time voter, Brittani Horn said that voting is a right and expressed the involvement of African Americans. “Blacks fought that right. If you don’t exercise your right to vote you’re being ignorant.”
CNN reported that only 3 percent of African Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in Tuesday’s election.
Different from 2008, students were able to make a decision based off past ideas and gave them a chance to look ahead.
“The only way for the United States to go is up,” added Horn. “We’ve been down for so long, we have no choice but to progress.”
However, some students stayed optimistic, suggesting that change is never immediate.
Political science major Courtney Heard said, “I don’t expect a right now change, but a change that will take place in the future.”
During his acceptance speech, President Obama emphasized the importance of forward progress for all citizens.
“We believe in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who pledges to our flag, to the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the street corner, to the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a diplomat or even a president,” Obama said.
“We will rise and fall as one nation, and as one people. It doesn’t matter if you are black or white, young or old, rich or poor. You can make it in America, if you’re willing to try,” the president added.
Student voters are already looking ahead, but made the decision to support Obama for current reasons.
“My friends need financial aid for school and I feel like honestly Romney is ignorant,” said Tiera Oshon, a freshmen nursing major.
GSU recently received a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, who awarded $227.9 million to 97 historically black colleges and universities nationwide.
“It’s very clear that President Obama has been very supportive of HBCUs, financially and otherwise,” said Dr. Frank G. Pogue, university president. “During his second term the hope would be that allocations to HBCUs for research funds, general financial funds and Title III funds would be strong and even increase.”
No matter what the future holds, some Republicans ask for change within their party.
“I hope we learn from this election that we can’t keep being seen as the party of the rich and white,” said Quantreus Hayes, a registered Republican and GSU student. “We need to open our eyes and see there are growing demographic that see us as out of touch with their lives.”
However, Romney conceded gracefully. “We have given our all to this campaign,” said Romney during his concession speech. “I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and this great nation.”