December 13, 2006: On the Campus
The thrill of victory...
By Jocelyn Hanamirian ’08
Tom Brown '07, a member of the College Democrats, and other Princeton students spent election night in the ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel in Langhorne, Pa., waiting for the returns to come in.
Brown and 20 other Princeton students working for the Patrick Murphy congressional campaign had been canvassing all day, and they weren’t sure of the outcome until the race was called about 2 a.m. Murphy, a 33-year-old political newcomer who challenged Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania’s 8th District, had won by a margin of about 1,000 votes out of hundreds of thousands of votes that were cast.
“It was really a nail-biter,” Brown said. “And then Patrick came down and spoke at 2:15 in the morning. It was a tremendous feeling. It really felt like all the grassroots work we did made a difference.”
About 50 College Republicans spent several weekends canvassing for local GOP candidates and for the New Jersey Senate campaign of Tom Kean Jr., son of former Gov. Thomas H. Kean ’57. “What was exciting for students about the Kean campaign was how close it was — it was getting national attention, so that brought out a lot of members,” said Alex Maugeri ’07, president of the Princeton College Republicans.
Student involvement in this year’s campaigns was encouraged by Prince-ton Votes, or P-Votes, a student initiative founded during the 2004 presidential election. This year P-Votes hosted voter registration tables at freshman check-in, in dining halls, at the eating clubs, and in Frist Campus Center, registering 500 to 600 new voters.
“Our goal was to saturate the campus with voter registration events and tables in order to make registering to vote as easy as possible for busy Princeton students, faculty, and staff,” said Evan Magruder ’08, a College Republican who is co-chairman of P-Votes. “I think P-Votes has raised students’ awareness of elections and political events simply by providing the service of voter registration. If students realize they can vote, then their next question is often something like, ‘Who should I vote for, and for what reasons?’ That said, we also conduct nonpartisan voter-education events.”
Throughout the fall, several candidates from both parties came to campus to address students. Brown said he felt a tangible increase in political conversation on campus.
“My sense is that political involvement was up yet again this year,” he said. “I think [P-Votes] was very effective in getting Princeton students out to the polls. It’s a lot of individual people reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, get out there and vote,’ and it works.”
The midterm elections weren’t the only closely watched contests that week, as about 800 students descended on the Yale Bowl Nov. 11 for the Princeton-Yale football game. Yale’s come-from-behind victory over Princeton last year was a heartbreaker for all those hoping for an Ivy League title and a bonfire, an event traditionally earned by defeating both Harvard and Yale in a season. This year was another hard-fought game, but ultimately a thrilling one, as Princeton came back from a 14-point deficit for a 34–31 win.
Stephanie Margulies ’08, who traveled to New Haven on one of 10 buses provided by the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), said she believed that strong fan support helped push the Tigers to victory.
“The Princeton side of the stadium was just a sea of orange shirts, banners, and faces,” Margulies said. “I think our sheer numbers surprised Yale students. Also, I think the players themselves were appreciative of the enthusiasm and excitement of the fans. They realized how important this game was, not only to them but also to all their peers.”
All students taking USG buses to the game were promised lunch from Hoagie Haven, a popular late-night stop on Nassau Street, as well as a foam finger and a commemorative orange T-shirt. The T-shirts read “Fire It Up” on the front; the back depicted a bulldog, the Yale mascot, on a spit.
“It was really amazing to see the Tigers come back in the last few minutes and claim victory,” Margulies said. “The last bonfire was so long ago  that it’s really just a legend at this point — people are excited to see the tradition continue.”
Jocelyn Hanamirian ’08 is an English major from Villanova, Pa.
MORE ON THE CAMPUS ONLINE: “At the Prince; on the lake” by Elyse Graham ’07, click here.