Following Obama’s victory, relieved UVM students take to the streets

Thousands of UVM students and city residents crowded the streets of downtown Burlington to chant and cheer after polls closed on the West Coast Tuesday night, with Barack Obama almost certainly the victor of the presidential race. “Pure joy,” were the words UVM sophomore Hannah Kammerer used to describe her reaction to the news that Obama had won the election. “It was not shock, it was joy – joy and relief basically.”The crowd, which Kammerer said started on Athletic Campus, moved across Central Campus and gathered on the Waterman Green before heading down College Street and eventually congregating at the intersection of College and Church Streets.”I was on the third floor of the library and I heard a roar in the background,” sophomore Amanda DeSenna said. “There were random yells, I hugged some random girl on the way down. I heard screaming and I saw people running.”The students first marched through Central Campus, but the mob felt more like a marathon at times, with many students jogging down College Street, chanting “Oh-Ba-Ma” and “Yes we can!” “People were running out of the library and well, at first, I was like, ‘Crap, I have chem to do – oh, screw it,'” DeSenna said. “I ran all the way downtown. It was ridiculous, there were people everywhere, coming out of their homes and screaming and running,” she said, “It was not really chaotic – just a disorganized celebration.” “There were like, 10,000 people down on Church Street,” freshman Darrion Willis said. “Someone just yelled, ‘To Church Street!’ and everybody went. It was awesome.” Burlington Police said that they estimated the actual crowd size on Church Street to be around 3,000, while UVM Police Chief Lianne Tuomey said that the group was consisted of approximately 1,000 people. Toumey said that the UVM police took precautions, but that the crowd was not unruly and did not get out of hand. “We planned accordingly and communicated with the area departments,” Toumey said. Sophomore Alex Huizenga, who watched the crowd from the upper stories of the Davis Center, said that he was inspired by the election but “was not quite as excited as some other people in the room.” “There were shirtless people, naked people, jumping around in the DC oval, and the cops came and looked over the crowd,” Huizenga said. UVM police closed off the Davis Center temporarily during the celebration. “We just flipped the front doors [of the Davis Center] to keep the celebration outside,” Toumey said. Toumey said that for the most part, the crowd was excited, but also very peaceful, adding that no incidents involving the crowd were reported. The police controlled traffic as the mob moved back up Main Street, and many people in stopped cars joined the celebration. “People’s cars were stopped, but they would just stop and honk and give a high-five out the window,” DeSenna said. “People were chanting ‘U-S-A’ with such genuine pride. I can’t recall anything similar,” Kammerer said. “It feels like it has all been a shame to be American, where now it is like, ‘Yeah, go America!'”