Local venues host election night gatherings

By Natasha Bhuyan & Lisa Rich
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Students who have endured months of campaigning can celebrate the end tonight at election parties on and off campus.

Wilbur's Underground

Students interested in watching the election results mixed with entertainment and food can go to the first ever Election Smackdown held tonight from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Wilbur's Underground in the Student Union Memorial Center.

The event will provide a place for students to get together and watch the election process while having a good time, said Matt Matera, higher education graduate student and event organizer.

Students who arrive wearing an "I voted" sticker will receive a 10 percent discount on Cellar food and $1 off a game of pool or ping-pong in the Game Room.

Election coverage will begin on the Cellar's big screen TV at 5:30 p.m., with entertainment starting at 8:30 p.m. The members of the UA sketch comedy troupe Comedy Corner will perform political skits on the Cellar stage, Matera said.

Following Comedy Corner at 10:15 p.m. will be the Charles Darwin Experience comedy group, performing improvisational comedy. Matera said both comedy groups were given approval to perform political material, as long as it is in good humor.

Political games such as "Pin-the-tail on the Presidential Candidate" and "Presidential Twister" will be offered after the performances at 11:15 p.m. The event will end at 2 a.m. when the Cellar closes its doors, Matera said.

Sponsored by the Cellar, Game Room, Social Justice Leadership Center and University Activities Board, Matera said the event was planned almost four weeks ago as a way to celebrate student involvement in the election.

"We decided to do something for the election because we felt it's so important to get students involved in politics," Matera said. "It's also a good way to get students down to watch the election results, get free food and get entertained."

During the last month, Election Smackdown has been advertised on various listserves, fliers, and on the union TV screens.

Matera said the event cost $50 in publicity, but all other expenses such as food and rental space were donated by the Cellar and Game Room.

If you go...

  • Wilbur's Underground, SUMC 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
    Belushe's , 1118 E. Sixth St., 6 p.m. to midnight


Sponsored by ASUA and the Hillel Center, an election results party will be held tonight at Belushe's, 1118 E. Sixth St., from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Aaron Pratt, a Senior Jewish Campus Service Corp. Fellow at the Hillel Center who came up with the idea, said since UA students are known to be social, he wanted to provide students with another incentive to vote by throwing a party in the evening.

"The idea was that it would be a mix of a social event and political event," Pratt said.

ASUA Sen. Ashley Eden, a public administration junior, said the non-partisan, all-ages event is meant to applaud students for voting and provide them with a fun atmosphere to watch the election results.

"We feel like it's more just a celebration we got to vote," Eden said. "We are celebrating that fact as opposed to celebrating one single winner."

Since most students who are involved with the Republican or Democratic campaigns will go to party headquarters to watch the results, Pratt said tonight's event gives other students a place to socialize and celebrate.

The party will have music, free food, refreshments, games and prizes.

The politically satirical games include predicting how a swing state will vote in Swing State Bingo, completing an obstacle course wearing oversized sandals in John Kerry's Flip Flop Relay Races, and pinning a verb onto the correct noun while blindfolded in George Bush's Pin the Noun with the Verb, Eden said.

An overhead screen with a map of the United States will show the states in red or blue when a candidate is projected to win that state, Eden said. Students also have the option of watching the results on eight TVs throughout Belushe's.

Alistair Chapman, ASUA president, called the election results party a capstone to students' civic engagement efforts, which included UA's first early polling station, well-known guest speakers on campus, and voter registration drives.

Campus groups, such as ASUA, Network of Feminist Student Activists, College Republicans, Young Democrats, Campus Libertarians, UA Voter Coalition, and Project Democracy have registered more than 2,600 students to vote this semester.

In addition, 2,300 students voted at the early polling site on campus last week.

Students are encouraged to show their support for the candidates by wearing red for President George Bush or blue for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., Eden said, but students will not be divided by party affiliation.

Brena Kee, an elementary education freshman, said she believes a non-partisan party for students will be fun and educational, as it will give students the chance to discuss issues and hear a diverse range of opinions.

But Isidro Valdivia, an electrical engineering junior, said regardless of who wins, he anticipates trouble at the results party because people are more passionate about the elections this year.

Eden said although event organizers do not expect any behavioral problems, they will be prepared with security and volunteers monitoring the areas.

Natalie Thomas, an East Asian studies sophomore, said the party is a good idea because any form of political awareness is beneficial.

Students of all ages are welcome to the Belushe's party, which is free and begins at 6 p.m.