A humble tranquility always resounds throughout the campus, especially at the start of the day. Peace is synonymous with the mornings.
Yet, something felt a bit off on Election Day. How does one describe the energy of patriotism?
Yes, Nov. 6 was a normal day for the rest of the world, but at the University of Redlands, the subtle enthusiasm to participate in the American democratic process had permeating undertones. On Election Day, strides were taken and voices were heard. The Republic was at work and one could feel it.
Students spotted with “I voted” stickers were asked throughout the day just that: Why did you vote?
Most responses were tantamount to wanting to direct change and carry out one’s civic duty. Katie Mefford, a Senior, had an excitement mirrored in many .“It made me involved in the larger national conversation,” Mefford said. “It made me feel more adult-like I guess, like doing the research on all of the propositions I felt like such an adult like I had some kind of power about what was going on.”
“I’m voting just ‘cause I live here,” Junior Kylie Quenga said. “The things that I’m voting on are going to affect my life and the lives of everyone I love and the lives of future generations.”
Around five in the evening, it began to darken and the air turned chilly when Dora Ridgeway, a Freshman, still spoke with aluminous excitement. “I think it’s important,” Ridgeway said. “After the 2016 election, my friends and I became excited to vote. I’ve been registered to vote since I was 16. I’m pumped up now. I’ve gotten three people to vote today.”
The devotion, of course, appears in a variety of ways. Junior Bri Loughridge’s reason to vote was “because fuck the patriarchy,” while Senior Kristyn Paz voiced “because otherwise, I can’t complain.”
Senior Markus Boehme, however, summed it up best. “I’m voting because I feel obligated.”
Sentiments such as these were reflected among youth across the country. There was a 188 percent increase in early voting among 18 and 29-year-olds.
All of what students had to say did have a single thing in common: a collective interest in making things better. Whatever reason or cause, there was a personal desire to participate in the advancement of ideas. Passion was the driving force of this year’s midterm election.
Emotion took the politically apathetic college student to decide to vote. Fervor alone, therefore, formed an aggregate of individualized purpose. People cared about doing their part in this election.
Photo contributed by Redlands Bulldog photographer Maeve Wieneck.