Matthew Holliday ’19 was prepared. The Queer Resource Center outreach coordinator had covered a table in the Keefe Campus Center atrium with a red tablecloth, cupcakes in patriotic colors and informational fliers. There was a bowl of candy, water bottles and buttons.

The only thing missing was an undecided voter. 

“Did you vote yet?” he asked a passing student.

“Yes. Literally weeks ago,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Is it too early to send it?’ I’m sending it.”

Holliday laughed. “You and everybody on campus,” he said.

As the election nears, Keefe has been a hive of political discussion and debate. On Nov. 8, it will also be the center of election-related coverage, with a series of fun and thoughtful activities, mini-talks with professors and viewing stations.

Televisions in the Center for Community Engagement, McCaffrey Room and Friedmann Room will be showing coverage from the BBC, Fox and CNN, respectively. The Queer Resource Center and Women’s and Gender Center will be tuned to MSNBC, while the Multicultural Resource Center will alternate among various stations.

The atrium will feature a giant electoral map staffed by students from the Amherst Political Union, which will also have members calling results in the Friedmann Room. After confirmation from at least two news networks, the APU staff will color a state on the map red or blue. Students can do the same on available handouts.

Women’s and Gender Center Director Jesse Beal, who is helping to coordinate events for the evening, said the election will be a great opportunity for the College community to “be good citizens and learn what it means to be engaged in a democracy and to vote.”

“The election has been a hot topic in the WGC,” Beal said. “I’m really proud of the level of engagement that’s happened in this space. We have students of all genders in this space talking about the election and what it means to them.”

To continue those conversations, Professors Manuela Picq, Jonathan Obert, Robert Hayashi and Tanya Leise will present a series of mini-talks between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Queer Resource Center, Center for Community Engagement, Multicultural Resource Center and WGC, respectively.

Leise, who will present “Voting and Elections: A Mathematical Perspective and Numerical Analysis,” said her mini-talk will be based on discussions she’s been having in a class of the same name. Course discussions have covered the Electoral College process, voting rights and the influence of swing states.

“I hope that awareness of the realities of the vote in our country will motivate students to speak out,” she said, “and work to make a difference in ensuring everyone has equal access to voting and an equal say in electing our leaders.”

Election Night at the QRC

Election Night at Keefe Schedule

Election Coverage

7 p.m. to midnight
BBC - Center for Community Engagement
FOX - McCaffrey Room
CNN - Friedmann Room
MSNBC - Queer Resource Center
MSNBC - Women’s and Gender Center
Various - Multicultural Resource Center

Faculty Talks

7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Karl Loewenstein Fellow and Visiting Associate Professor of Political Science Manuela Picq, “Indigenous World Politics and Sexualities in International Relations” (QRC)

Assistant Professor of Political Science Jonathan Obert, “Introduction to American Politics and Violence and Politics” (CCE)

7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Chair of American Studies and Associate Professor of American Studies Robert Hayashi, “Making Asians: Asian American in Literature and Law and Reading Asian American” (MRC) 

Chair of Mathematics and Statistics and Associate Professor of Mathematics Tanya Leise, “Voting and Elections: A Mathematical Perspective and Numerical Analysis” (WGC)

Fun and Informative 

7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tee-shirt door prizes (Atrium)
Electoral maps and election coverage (Atrium)
Photo Booth (Atrium)
Button Making (Atrium)
Cupcake decorating (Atrium)

8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Wellness Activities (Keefe 204) 

8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Presidential Trivia (Friedmann) 

9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
APU Election Discussion (Friedmann)

9 p.m. to midnight
Select episodes of the TV shows West Wing, Veep and Parks and Recreation (Keefe Theater)


9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Wings and pizza every hour until close (Friedmann and Post Office)
Fruit and veggie trays, chips and salsa (Friedmann and Post Office)
Apple and cherry pie; ice cream; red, white and blue cake (Schwemm’s)