Many Northwestern students left Tuesday’s election full of anger and fear; ASG acknowledged this, and created a space to talk about it.
ASG hosted a post-election gathering Thursday in the Louis Room in Norris University Center, giving students an opportunity to voice their thoughts, opinions and emotions regarding the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.
About 30 students partook in the event as ASG president Christina Cilento took the microphone to introduce it, leading the formation of a large circle in which students could share their thoughts and feelings in an open format if they were willing.
“I think there’s a very palpable emotionally unstable state that we wanted to be able to provide for,” Cilento said. “It was just meant as an open space for students to come together.”
Many students found out about the event through an email from Patricia Telles-Irvin, the Vice President of Student Affairs, which offered the gathering as one of a number of post-election resources, including support services from Campus Inclusion & Community, Religious and Spiritual Life and others.
The reasons for attending the event were embodied in the somber mood and were acknowledged by students in attendance.
“One of the main reasons why I went to the gathering today was because I was having difficulty processing the outcome of the election,” said Weinberg junior Rachel Suen. “I was looking for a community of people to talk with about what's happening and to learn about others' experiences.”
Representatives from CAPS were in attendance as well, and were encouraged by students to join the circle alongside their fellow Northwestern community members while providing support where it was needed.
Students voiced anger, disbelief and sorrow, among a number of other emotions, and the open discussion format allowed for students from different backgrounds and identities to share how they have been affected by the outcome of the 2016 election.
“I don't think that Trump would be fit to be leader of the free world,” said Suen. “Instead of continuing to progress towards a more inclusive and discussion-based society, I'm afraid that this election has set society back to one-sided, angry ranting instead of open discussion.”
The event was intended to bring together those who felt it necessary to have a space to discuss their strong emotions and opinions among like-minded peers.
“It was just meant as a way to show students that other students are going through the same things as them,” said Cilento.
Cilento says ASG intends to continue providing discussion spaces for the Northwestern community if and when they are needed, and that it anticipates the country’s uncertain future with open arms.
“I think the big question is what happens now and what does the election mean for students of various identities,” said Cilento. “From here on out, we’re going to be continuing to facilitate these spaces if students need them; we’ll check back in once the state of disbelief has ended and we can see what else campus needs to move forward from there.”