As polls across the nation closed, Loyola students and Rogers Park residents gathered on and off campus to watch as votes for this year’s midterm elections were tallied.
On campus, Inside Government and College Republicans hosted watch parties for students in the Mundelein Center for the Fine and Performing Arts and the Edward Crown Center for the Humanities, respectively. A few blocks away, Rogers Park community members attended a watch party at a neighborhood political hub, theHeartland Cafe.
In the faculty lounge of Mundelein, students joined Inside Government as results rolled in. Viewers enjoyed popcorn, burgers, stickers and bingo as ballots were counted and races were called.
Dominque Dungca, a first-year political science and criminology major, said she was thankful Inside Government planned the event because she wouldn’t have otherwise known where to watch the results.
Senior Emily Prust, vice president of Inside Government, said she appreciated the social aspect of the watch party.
“Having everyone come together to get out the vote then watch the end results is really exciting, everyone is super excited,” Prust said. “It makes me really happy.”
Maggie Jones, a first-year political science and sociology double major, said the atmosphere of the event reminded her of the power young people have.
“When you see people who are as young as us being involved… It’s like, people my age actually can make a difference and they actually can be informed about issues,” Jones said.
Across campus at the Crown Center, Loyola College Republicans started watching results roll in at 7 p.m., as polls began closing nationwide. They celebrated the end of Election Day with donuts and cake.
Reid Willis, a 21-year-old senior and the president of College Republicans, said the importance of political awareness and participation was a big reason for organizing the watch party.
“Elections are the most important part of this nation’s politics and it’s always important to pay attention to what is happening,” the political science and international studies major said.
Dane Dudlicek, a 25-year-old senior and political science major, spoke about civic engagement among college students.
“I know turnout among young people is usually historically low, but if we could get more young people to turn out, that would be great,” Dudlicek said.
Willis said while voting is important, College Republicans also organized the watch party simply because they were excited to find out the results. About 30 students attended the watch party, according to Willis.
Kellie Rohrer, an 18-year-old first year studying theater, expressed excitement over watching the elections results in a group.
“[The atmosphere is] very up and down, but it’s lots of fun,” Rohrer said. “It’s very high energy.”
The Heartland Cafe, located just off the Morse Red Line stop at 7000 North Glenwood Avenue, held it’s “Take Back the House Election Party” Tuesday night. The vegetarian cafe offered a free beverage to customers who showed their server a voting receipt.
The Heartland has a long history of drawing politically active Rogers Park residents through its doors. Former President Barack Obama rallied at the restaurant during his 2004 U.S. Senate campaign.
Tom Rosenfeld, owner of the Heartland, helped organize the event. He said election viewing parties are a long-standing tradition of the Heartland Cafe because of their political reputation.
“We are building on a long tradition of political action centered around the Heartland,” Rosenfeld said.
The cafe’s “blue wave” food and drink specials brought appealed to a liberal-leaning crowd. Rosenfeld said the Heartland doesn’t shy away from broadcasting its political preferences.
“We are unabashedly progressive,” Rosenfeld said. “We are not neutral at all in politics, we support progressive ideas, actions and groups.”
Rhowen Dalrymple, a 22-year-old Rogers Park resident said she was drawn to the Heartland’s watch party for a sense of community she didn’t have during the 2016 election.
“Sitting there alone in my college dorm, refreshing the page watching Trump slowly win was devastating,” Dalrymple said. “I just wanted to be surrounded by a community of like-minded people to either celebrate with if it goes well for the Democrats or mourn with if it doesn’t.”
Katie Anthony, Leen Yassine and Lauren Duran reported this story.