UW-Madison rallies for Obama on State Street

  • College students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison celebrated the election of Sen. Barack Obama in the streets last night
  • Students began gathering after the election and began a two hour march down to the Capitol
  • Students peacefully sang and linked arms as they celebrated the election of their new president-elect

College students around the state of Wisconsin celebrated the victory of President-elect Barack Obama last night and into the early hours of the morning.

While Marquette and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee both had their own in-street celebrations, they were miniscule compared to what went on at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jack O'Doherty, a junior at the UW-Madison, said he only watched the celebration rather than joining in.

"I am, or I guess I was, a McCain supporter," O'Doherty said. "But people were rioting, marching from the Capitol building down State Street to Bascom Hill."

Bascom Hill is located at the end of State Street. According to O'Doherty, it was jam-packed with people.

"It was pretty hectic," O'Doherty said. "People were literally covering Bascom Hill."

The Obama celebration may have outdone Wisconsin's annual Halloween bash.

"I was told that there were more people out last night than there was on Halloween," O'Doherty said. "But being a McCain supporter I certainly enjoyed Halloween much more."

Maggie Cramer, a junior at Wisconsin, said she heard there were fewer than 3,000 supporters rallying, although it seemed like much more to her.

"It started off as everyone just watching the election at home," Cramer said. "Then I guess everyone had the same notion to go out to State Street to celebrate."

Cramer explained that it was not very big to begin with.

"There were a large group of kids out just congratulating each other, slapping hands and hugging," Cramer said. "But as we continued walking toward the Capitol building it really began to pick up speed. I looked back at one point and

realized that there were literally thousands of people on the street."

When students reached the Capitol, chants of, "Obama," and, "Yes we can" filled the air, Cramer said.

"Those chants lasted a pretty long time," Cramer said. "Then students moved on to joining arms and singing the national anthem and the Wisconsin fight song."

Shannon Burke, a freshman at Wisconsin, said she never expected to see such campus unity at such a large school.

"It was pretty amazing," Burke said. "I mean, as someone who came here from a relatively small, tight-knit school, it was incredible to see so many people coming together to support one man. It was like nothing I have ever seen before."

The last stop, Cramer said, was the Lincoln statue in front of Bascom Hall, to pay tribute to the president of which Obama spoke so highly in his speech last night.

"When we got there, students started singing, 'Nah-nah-nah, hey-hey-hey, goodbye Bush,'" Cramer said.

Despite some of the corny chants, Cramer said the experience was a powerful one.

"It was really an emotional experience," Cramer said. "Everyone was really letting out a lot emotion. It was pretty huge."

The crowd began to disperse around midnight, according to Burke, after about two hours of rallying and celebrating.

"I know the main celebration is over at Wisconsin," Burke said. "But I think the country will be celebrating for a lot longer than just one night."