The Collegian
Sunday, July 12, 2020

Students gather for Super Tuesday

The joke of Tuesday seemed to be that the organizers of the Super Tuesday Results Viewing Party, Adrienne Piazza and Andy Gurka, would be left at the end of the night with 30 pizzas and no students. But that wasn't the case.

More than 100 University of Richmond students filtered in and out of the party held by the Center for Civic Engagement in Weinstein Hall, an unexpected turnout that gave some attendees hope of a large youth vote in the 2008 presidential election.

A record number of people under the age of 25 have registered to vote in 2008 in Virginia, and this could be an indication that Richmond is on the same track.

"People say that Richmond is an apathetic campus, but I think this is proof that people do care, they're just a little quiet about it," said sophomore Tim Patterson, chairman of the College Republicans.

Rasheed Nazeri, co-chairman of University of Richmond for Obama, also said Tuesday's event had an "excellent turnout." Sen. Barack Obama was widely supported at the event by students donning "Obama '08" stickers who cheered when they learned of his wins in 13 states by the event's end at midnight.

"I think it's a really good step toward getting this campus to be more politically active," said sophomore Lex Reynolds, vice-chairman of the College Republicans.

That was the hope of organizers Piazza and Gurka. Piazza is the administrative coordinator for the Center for Civic Engagement, and Gurka is an area coordinator for the Richmond College Dean's Office. The two decided to work to "bring two sides together" and "get the vote out," Piazza said.

Along with the TV screens set on stations announcing results, speakers gave background information about what the results of this election would mean for the candidates and other topics. Paul Achter, professor of rhetoric and communication studies, spoke about the effect of the media on the election.

Asked about what the event showed about Richmond, he said it helped to get students to "act, talk and engage" in politics.

And that they did. Those who attended sat in groups and discussed their views, likes and dislikes of the candidates.

One Obama supporter said she liked his "message of hope." Another student said he was voting for McCain because "his actions speak louder than words," and he said he liked what McCain had been saying.

There were also students who said they were undecided and that they were waiting for Super Tuesday's results before they would pick a candidate to support.

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Regardless of whom students are voting for, they decided to come to the Super Tuesday party and get involved in the election process, which was the message of Patterson and Young Democrats president Chris Cotten, who both gave speeches.

"Get out there," Cotten told the audience during his speech, which focused on the impact students could have in an election and encouraged all attending to back a candidate and campaign for them. "There's so much you can do."

The night ended with a few state's results still being tallied, but Piazza encouraged all those attending to keep checking and to stay involved.

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