Momentum Builds at Wellesley for the Presidential Election

November 8, 2016
Election 2016

Many Wellesley students find themselves voting for the first time in one of the most widely-discussed and memorable elections in United States history. In the excitement generated by the presidential race, events sprang up across campus that allowed students, faculty, and staff to discuss, debate, participate in, and study the many facets of the electoral process and government itself. A sampling of just a few includes the following:

• The Knapp Social Science Center and the political science department teamed up to host a talk on “What Political Humor in the 2016 Election Teaches Us About Politics” on October 26 with political science visiting lecturer Todd Belt.

• The Committee for Political and Legislative Awareness (CPLA) organized an early voting site in Anderson Forum on October 26 for students, faculty, and staff registered to vote in the town of Wellesley.

• CPLA also partnered with the Slater International Center on November 2 for a dinner for international students during which they learned about and discussed U.S. politics and the upcoming election. The event was called “We Left Our Countries for This?”

• Representatives from various community and civic organizations convened to speak on the topic “The People Take Over the Election: Building Grassroots Power In and Beyond the Election” on November 2, sponsored by the Wellesley College Project on Public Leadership and Action.

• The Philosophy Club hosted “Language and Feminine Power” on November 7 with Julie Walsh, assistant professor of philosophy. The pre-election talk examined the power of words and power of women through time, ​and how language can be used to better articulate this feminine power.

• A “Humanities How-To's” panel discussion is scheduled for today, November 8, on “How to Choose a Leader.” The program includes a discussion with Ed Silver, assistant professor of religion, and Nadya Hajj, assistant professor of political science, and will be moderated by David Ward, professor and department chair of Italian Studies.

Conversations and events will certainly continue after the election. The November 11–12 Freedom Project panel “Freedom of Speech and Diversity, a Wellesley College Summit,” for example, is not directly inspired by the election, but is certainly reiterated as topical because of it. The program will bring together student leaders from 15 colleges and universities across the country to discuss such topics as “Hate Speech and Free Speech” in the context of opening dialogues among people of diverse opinions.

The main focus of Wellesley’s election-fueled activities, however, is election night itself. Beginning in the early evening, students will gather in the Lulu Chow Wang Student Center, and a community event welcoming faculty, staff, students, and alumnae will be held in the Keohane Sports Center. Guests in both locations are invited to move between the spaces to view election results as they become available. Wellesley faculty will be on hand to share expertise and perspectives, and visitors, via videoconference, will report from the front lines as well as from alumnae watch events taking place across the country.

Off-campus friends are invited to join the conversation via social media (#WellesleyWatches) and to tune in to the watch event, streaming live beginning at 11 pm.