After five days of patiently waiting for votes to come in from across the country, the Associated Press announced on Saturday morning, Nov. 7, that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be the 46th President and Vice President of the United States of America and will be inaugurated Jan. 20, 2021. During an unprecedented time in history, with a pandemic in place and significant political, social and economic unrest, hopefully Americans can take solace in the fact that the wait to know the President is over.
For many college students, this was their first time voting in a presidential election. Colleges across the country made it a priority that students had access to the polls and voting registration information and that emotional support was there for anyone who needed it.
Villanova University was no exception to this. On Monday, Nov. 2, University President Rev. Peter M. Donohue, O.S.A., Ph.D., sent out a message to the Villanova community urging us to continue putting Community First, no matter what the result of the election would be.
“But let’s promote good citizenship, be respectful and remember that at the end of the day, we are all Villanovans,” he said.
With this message to the community, Donohue made absolutely sure that his people would be taken care of during this election. On the University website, there is a section under Student Involvement called ‘2020 Election Events at Villanova.’ At the very top of the webpage, information regarding support services available for students are shown. Additionally, on election night, Residence Life emailed all students living on campus that if needed, emotional support from Resident Assistants was available.
Professors were another key component in making sure everyone felt emotionally okay during this week. For the most part, all professors were incredibly supportive and understanding. Whether it was pushing assignments back a few days or asking their students how they were, professors truly showed that their students’ well-being was a top priority.
The Villanovan asked several students their opinions on the school’s response to the election. Specifically, we asked students two questions, “How do you feel the school handled the election?” and “Were your professors understanding?” These were some of the answers the Villanovan received.
“I was actually pleasantly surprised with how understanding my professors were regarding the events of the 2020 election,” sophomore Cameron Castelli said. “While some pushed back assignments, I also had a few teachers send me emails about using them as a resource to open up about the uncertainties of the day.”
“I was shocked that classes were not cancelled on Election Day, as I had to wait in line for hours and was nervous that I would miss the time to vote,” sophomore Izzy Creedon said. “But, I did have some amazing professors who really understood the emotional and mental toll of the election. I had two professors who either reached out to the class or understood when I reached out to them. Brianna Remster, my juvenile delinquency professor, did not have class on Wednesday, and we had an asynchronous lecture on Friday, in which she talked about how she understands and relates to the emotional stress that this is taking on everyone and how historic this election is.”
“In my own personal experience, I found that my professors, for the most part, were largely accommodating this week in regard to work load,” senior Kat Lukas said. “As a political science major, we were able to dedicate time in class to have productive, thoughtful and respectful conversations throughout the week.”
“As a political science major, I think my professors were very aware that a lot of students felt very on edge during the days leading up to and following the election,” junior Annie Reilly said. “I had classes cancelled on Election Day in order to make sure we could get to the polls, and I think more than anything my professors just really wanted us to understand the gravity of what our country was facing and were proud to have students who wanted to exercise their rights to vote so badly.”
This year has been one unlike any other, and the cherry on top of it all was that it was an election year. A presidential election is always chaotic, and this year, the pandemic only made that fact even more true. Colleges across the nation, especially Villanova, made the commitment to truly understand the emotional toll this election was going to take on all college students and to be there at all costs. For Villanova University, an institution where community always comes first, this was only further proven during the election.