Hundreds Rock the Watch Party

View a video and photo slideshow of Tuesday’s election night “Tailgate Watch Party” at USF’s Marshall Student Center.


Video by Katy Hennig | USF News


By Adam Freeman

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 7, 2012) – Tuesday night's "Tailgate Watch Party" at the Marshall Student Center put the University of South Florida front and center on the national stage as a nation elected President Obama to a second term.


About 500 students, faculty, staff and the public mingled about the green outside the student center, watching election returns being projected on the side of the nearby USF Bookstore building. Media crews from around the country and the globe filed live reports from the Tampa campus throughout the night.


Earlier in the evening, the crowd enjoyed food, music and performances by USF cheerleaders and other student groups.


The event was sponsored by a number of student organizations and kicked off around 5 p.m. with student checking in on social media networks, including FourSquare. A constant feed of comments, photo and video about the event filled social media networks Tuesday night.


Earlier in the day, students lined up to vote in the voter precinct in the student center.


USF student organizations organized a successful voter registration drive this fall, resulting in nearly 1,900 people registered to vote. That was up from less than 1,200 people who were registered in 2008.



USF Storify page: See what students are saying on social media.

Voter Scrutiny: USF political expert Susan MacManus says voter challenges getting readied.

Voter Info: What you need to know.



The voting line outside the student center was constant Tuesday morning as students waiting for their ballots. Media crews interviewed students, and satellite trucks jockeyed for position outside the student center in preparation for live broadcasts throughout the day and night.


“I think this year we’ve really prioritized registering to vote,” said Gabriela Irizarry, historian of the Beta Eta Chapter of Omega Phi Beta. “USF students are now more politically inclined, which was our goal.”


The watch party played host to several media outlets, both local and global, which broadcast live reports and interviews with students and faculty throughout the night.


USF Student Government President Brian Goff was right in his prediction of a solid turnout for the watch party event. Rocky was joined at the event by the Sun Dolls and the USF Cheerleaders.


Media included BBC Radio, Sky News, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., CBS, ABC, WUSF and other outlets.


The event was sponsored by USF Student Government, the USF Chapter of the NAACP, Omega Phi Beta and Delta Sigma Theta.


Adam Freeman can be reached at 813-974-9047.