2016 Presidential Election one year later

President-elect Donald Trump walks to take his seat for the inaugural swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Courtesy/Wikimedia Commons)

University of Connecticut students reflected on the 2016 presidential election results as today marks one year since President Donald Trump’s election.

Rex Sturdevant, master’s student in Curriculum and Instruction at the Neag School of Education, said he “vividly” remembers his return to campus on Nov. 9, 2016 after going home to vote.

“I remember looking out at the cows by Horsebarn Hill and feeling a sense of normalcy. But everything still felt off,” Sturdevant said.

Sturdevant said he remembers the conversations he had the day after the election.

“I went to get froyo with two of my closest friends, and all of us are gay. We talked about the election, and just how horrifying it was to think about the hidden hatred in our country. It was really powerful to be together and simply talk to work through how we were feeling,” Sturdevant said.

Seventh-semester pathobiology major Emily Gagnon said she supported Trump in the election despite the projections and predictions that he wasn’t going to win.

“The thought of Hillary becoming the president made me feel down, as she is the farthest thing from a role model and is a poor representation of women, in my opinion. I stayed up all night watching the election and was shocked and thrilled when I realized Trump would win. Although cliche, I felt not so alone, like there were other conservative people out there who shared the same values and views,” Gagnon said.

Gagnon said a year later, she stands by her decision.

“I am still happy I chose Trump and thankful that Hillary is not my president. I love how Trump fights against political correctness and puts American citizens first,” Gagnon said.

Seventh-semester political science and economics major and UConn College Democrats president Stevie Della-Giustina said it took a while for the “gloom that came after the election” to “clear up” in College Democrats’ meetings.

“I was blindsided when Donald Trump won. My friends have a picture of me laying on the ground because I just could not process the election, and felt a depression I had never felt before,” Della-Giustina said.

Della-Giustina said the election turned him from an “active observer” in politics to someone who was fully involved.

“In the wake of the election I realized I was needed in something bigger than myself, and that I had to step up to ensure Trump’s presidency would be resisted at every turn. I became involved in organizing the resistance to Trump, especially through the organization Indivisible. I soon found myself organizing with adults twice my age in how, as a community, we could resist Donald Trump.”

Michaela McKeown, seventh-semester marketing major and Vice President of UConn Youth for Socialist Action (YSA) said she supported Jill Stein in the 2016 election but she knew Trump would win.

“The day of the election, I showed up to the voting stations wearing my green party pin and feeling proud to vote for (Stein). Fast forward a few hours, I (was) sitting in the basement of Manchester Hall for one of the first UConn Youth for Socialist Action meetings where everyone (was) closely following the election results as they came in. So many people were worried, but to be honest I knew that this was going to happen,” McKeown said.

McKeown said she was happy another Clinton wasn’t going to be in office.

“Based on the Clinton’s history with trade agreements, foreign policies and Bill Clinton’s legislation that led to mass incarceration, it was not what the country needed. Although she would have been the first female president, she would not have been the right one,” McKeown said.

Third-semester biomedical engineering major Karen Martinez said the day after the election, she was “anxious, unbelievably upset and just scared.”

“I didn’t go to any classes that day. I barely could eat. I hadn’t thought about what I would do if he won the election before it happened, so I kind of panicked,” Martinez said.

Martinez said she is less afraid now, but “the fear is still there.”

“I see how Trump’s presidency has already given the wrong people a platform. People in this country think their racism, sexism and xenophobia is actually okay because Trump has, time and time again, normalized these ignorant behaviors and actions. Hate crimes are committed every day and hate is continuously spewed out all over the country,” Martinez said.

Fifth-semester economics major Marlena Haddad said she “wasn’t that surprised” when Trump won.

“I’ve been reading his books and following his interest in politics since I was about fourteen. As soon as he announced that he was running for president, I remember telling my friends he was going to win,” Haddad said.

Haddad said her belief was solidified after she attended presidential rallies.

“The media really seemed to be pushing for Clinton, but after going to both Clinton’s and Trump’s rallies, it became clear who had the most momentum,” Haddad said.

Senior psychological sciences major Caitlin Webb said she “sobbed” on election night and the day after the election felt like “a dystopian novel or movie.”

“When he was predicted to win, I didn’t just cry, I drunkenly sobbed. I sobbed to my boyfriend screaming about how this man thinks it’s okay to grab a woman by the pu**y and wondering how everyone can think this is okay,” Webb said.

Web said she still remembers the day after the election “vividly.”

“It’s still there in my mind. Being at UConn while it happened was a really big part of my life and gave me a sense of comfort after the fact,” Webb said.


Gabriella Debenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at gabriella.debenedictis@uconn.edu.