As voters across the United States traipsed to the polls and awaited the election results, so did students, faculty, and staff members at Harvard, the University that helped to educate both major presidential candidates. Nearby polling places were busy. Local pubs hosted parties to watch the results roll in. Harvard’s Schools organized viewing sessions and small discussion panels. Undergraduates filled their House TV lounges to see the vote tallies rise. Across Harvard Yard and into Allston, Harvard mirrored the nation, transfixed by a political process full of sound and fury and, this night, signaling much.
Harvard alumni gathered at Tommy Doyle’s pub in the heart of Harvard Square to reconnect with old classmates and watch as the election results came in.
“What stands out, on the surface, is the vast amount of money spent,” said Neal Karasic ’93 of Brighton. “But I think most of us here tonight have been reading Nate Silver’s New York Times blog, fivethirtyeight, and so we know — or we think we know — what’s going to happen. We’re just here to verify his results.”
“I do think Obama’s been a terrific foreign policy president,” said Liam Day ’94 of Boston. “I do have some quibbles with what he’s done domestically … and I have a certain amount of respect for what Mitt Romney has done.”
Michael Lewis ’93, who is chairing the 20th reunion for his class, said that as an independent-minded Democrat, he’s not averse to voting Republican. “I feel like Mitt had to move to the right in the Republican primaries, and then moved back to center for the presidential debates,” Lewis said. “But everything Obama does conveys that he’s thoughtful and deliberate, and that’s really the crux of my support for him.”
While students and alumni gathered around screens showing the latest election results, others members of the Harvard community were on the job.
Roxana Lopez, a custodian at Harvard Campus Services, was focused on her second day of work at Harvard. (A native of El Salvador, Lopez has lived in Boston for 17 years, since she was 20.) She was also thinking about her 3-year-old son, Alex.
“It’s so important to vote, for the future of this country,” said Lopez, who is not yet a naturalized citizen. “I feel it’s something that you have to do. When I meet people who don’t want to vote or don’t know what to decide, I tell them it’s an important responsibility — it’s about their kids and what kind of future we’re going to provide to them, what kinds of opportunities they will have.”
— Jennifer Doody
Read full coverage of Election 2012 at Harvard.edu.