Dorm atmosphere tense, impatient while waiting for election results


Alex Raycroft

Students in support of Biden gather in the Van Reken basement to watch the election night results.

Tense energy emanated from dorm lobbies and basements the night of the election. As results rolled in, students huddled around small computer screens to watch. Chimes spoke to students in the dorms about their thoughts on the election. Many students spoke about anxiety over hearing the results.

 “I’m feeling nervous, because I feel like it’s going to take a while for everything to be counted properly. I don’t want to work myself up over things that are going to take so long,” said Alyssa Lester from Noordeweir VanderWerp. 

Others were more concerned about what might come after the election. “I’m more worried about the aftermath than the events happening,” said Emery, a Kalsbeek Huizenga Van Reken resident. “I’m worried about my family and friends who are back home [in Columbus, Ohio]. They’re prepared for the worst there.” 

Although most students in the dorms watched alone or with their roommate, Chimes spoke with two groups watching from the dorm basements, one supporting Biden and the other Trump. The Biden supporters gathered in the Van Reken basement to watch a livestream newscast on a projector. Two large Biden flags donned the walls, and about 15 students gathered to watch, do homework and wait. 

“I’m apprehensive—I think it’s one of the most important elections we’ll ever see,” said Isaac Seiler from the Biden watch party in VR. “I live in VR, which is overwhelmingly for Biden. But I know it’s not the same in other dorms…So far though, I’ve been impressed by the amount of activism and voter turnout. I know a girl who just flew back to Tennessee to cast her vote because she didn’t get her absentee ballot.” 

The group of four Trump supporting students gathered in the Boer Bennink basement, wearing “Trump 2020” facemasks and American flag apparel. When asked what the energy was like in the dorms proceeding the election, Jacob Buit, a student at this gathering, said, “Overall I’ve felt that it’s been very one-sided, and I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’ve felt welcome. I just feel like I’m an outsider, and I’ve never felt like that before, because I grew up in a place that’s always had people like me.” 

The group shared their opinions loudly, with others in the basement frequently responding to the most inflammatory comments. “Maybe you shouldn’t publish that part in the Chimes,” one student remarked. Yet those in the Trump group echoed a sentiment that was shared across campus and party lines:  “We only really talk to people with our same ideas, because you don’t want to argue with people or break up friendships,” said Buit. 

April Alsum and Jake Spicer, two RAs in Bolt Heyns Timmer, commented on what conversations across party lines had been like in their dorm. “The tensions have been there on my floor, but people have been careful enough to draw the line with what to share and what to keep to themselves. We just kind of have that mentality that it’s okay to have those disagreements, we just don’t talk about them,” said Spicer. 

The opinion on whether or not this hesitancy to share more radical beliefs with those who might disagree was mixed. “It can be difficult to have these kinds of conversations, but I think it’s really important,” said Alsum. 

Amidst those anxious and in despair about the results, some students remained hopeful. Austin M. from Noordeweir VanderWerp said, “I know we all want a certain candidate to win because this is a really contested election, but my prayer is that everyone continues to be kind and encouraging to each other regardless of what the outcome is.”