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ExCollege to host Election Night Extravaganza tonight

Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 08:11



The Experimental College (ExCollege) will host its eighth Election Night Extravaganza at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Mayer Campus Center.

Major news networks will be airing on six televisions set up in Hotung Cafe, while a separate screen will stream Internet news sources to broadcast results as they come in, according to Associate Director of the ExCollege Howard Woolf.

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Education Steve Cohen, Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Arts and Sciences James Glaser, Professor of Political Science Kent Portney, Chair of the Economics Department Daniel Richards and representatives from Tufts Democrats and Tufts Republicans will be in the audience, available to comment as results roll in, Woolf said.

University President Anthony Monaco and administrators, including Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman and Associate Deans of Undergraduate Education Karen Garrett Gould and Robert Mack, will also be in attendance.

Over the course of the night, there will be performances by student comedy groups The Institute, Major: Undecided and Cheap Sox in between news cycles as polls close in different time zones across the country, according to Woolf.

“If people are really serious about just watching footage of people walking out of polls the whole time, I’m sure we’ll be annoying, but at the same time, I think that will get repetitive,” Major: Undecided Artistic Director Mitchell Friedman, a senior, said. “There’s only so much analysis you can hear between the polls closing [in each time zone].”

Seniors Matthew Stofsky, Clay Grable and Friedman, each members of the participating comedy groups, will be emceeing the evening, according to Woolf.

“Everyone is very interested and very invested in the outcome, so I imagine it’ll be a very exciting vibe,” Stofsky said.

According to Beky Stiles, program assistant at the ExCollege, the ExCollege also hopes to engage attendees throughout the night.

“We’re going to have the emcee’s passing the mic [to professors and students] at important moments when we need the extra insight,” Stiles said.

In 2008, there were consistently 300 to 500 people in the Campus Center throughout the night, with close to 700 attendees watching President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, according to Woolf. Students are invited to flow into and out of the event throughout the night.

In addition, Tufts University Television (TUTV), WMFO, the Daily and the Observer will be reporting live online from the upstairs lounge in the Campus Center, the nerve center for campus media, Woolf added.

“One of the main differences between ’08 and what we’re doing this time is that there’s going to be more of a multimedia focus,” Stiles said.

There will also be an information fair in the Commons with representatives of various student groups that will focus on the impact of the election on issues of particular interest, Woolf said.

Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services (ALLIES), Tufts Friends of Israel (FOI), Tufts Queer Straight Alliance (QSA), Tufts Institute for Political Citizenship (IPC), Tufts Sustainability Collective (TSC), Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Hemispheres, Tufts Democrats and Tufts Republicans will have tables at the information fair, Stiles said.

QSA will pay close attention to the ballot issues regarding marriage equality, TSC will be concerned with environmental issues and ALLIES will be focused on issues on an international−scale, Woolf said. SSDP will be watching marijuana−related ballot initiatives, according to junior Allison Wilens, co−president of SSDP.

“It’s a really interesting time, and we just want to be there to discuss what we think it means,” Wilens said. “We’ll basically be there to provide information for people who are interested.”

Woolf stressed the non−partisan nature of the event, and although all three of the emcees are professed Democrats, the event will still reach out to both Republicans and Democrats at Tufts, according to Stofsky.

“We’re all invested in this somehow, and we’ve followed it some way, and this is [a] way for us to all come together and inform and challenge each [other] on our assumptions as to what this election is,” ExCollege Board Member Kumar Ramanathan, a sophomore, said.

Though past years have featured an organized panel of professors, faculty attending the event will speak more informally this year, according to Stiles.

“They’re going to be offering us their point of view from the audience instead of being higher up on that panel, so it’s more relaxed,” she said.

Portney, who has attended every ExCollege Election Night Extravaganza, said he will discuss which states are key for victory in the Electoral College and for control of Congress.

“They are able to chime in whenever they feel like it,” Woolf said. “That way it’s more organic and spontaneous.”

Woolf, who has been involved with every Election Night Extravaganza, commented on the less tangible changes over the years.

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