UVM Students Fear a Future With Trump at the Helm | Off Message

UVM Students Fear a Future With Trump at the Helm


UVM seniors Caroline Bick and Hayley Wheelwright - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • UVM seniors Caroline Bick and Hayley Wheelwright
Caroline Bick, an art major from Chicago, and Hayley Wheelwright, an English major from Massachusetts, walked down College Street after class, trying to make sense of the night before. It was Wednesday afternoon, and like many of their peers, the University of Vermont seniors were stunned by Donald Trump’s victory.

“We’re just shocked and really deeply saddened and confused and kind of feel like this is the first real tragedy that we’ve been old enough to understand ...” Wheelwright said. “We were kind of too young to really grasp 9/11 and what it meant for the country, and now we’re faced with a similar situation of just feeling really lost.”

Said Bick: “I came late to my class and there were very few people there and I don’t think I’m going to make it to my next class.”

At least one professor preemptively canceled class.

Do either of them know any Trump supporters? “I saw someone on Facebook and I unfriended them,” said Wheelwright.

Voters ages 18 to 29 chose Hillary Clinton over Trump by a 55 percent-to-37 percent margin, according to the Pew Research Center. But their excitement was tepid in comparison to the zeal shown for Bernie Sanders during the primary and for Barack Obama during the past two elections. In 2008, Obama won 66 percent of the young vote, compared to John McCain’s 32 percent.
UVM senior Dina Goodhue - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • UVM senior Dina Goodhue
Dina Goodhue sat on a granite stoop near the Royall Tyler Theatre, head down. She said she wrote in Bernie Sanders for president. “I just feel like I’m too young to have my arm pulled either way,” she said. “And I thought that [Clinton] was anointed that position a long time ago.”

“I was working at Nectar’s and watching the whole thing,” Goodhue said, of Tuesday night’s unfolding election results. “When it got to the point of 244 [electoral votes for Trump], then I was like all right, shit.”

Goodhue is a senior majoring in political science but she no longer has any desire to enter the field. She’s more interested in making use of her minor in horticulture and agriculture. “I’m from Massachusetts, so there’s that whole pot thing now,” she said.

She said that with Trump headed for the White House, “I’m really afraid for the environment.” (The president-elect has called climate change a Chinese hoax.)

UVM senior Tripp Pace - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • UVM senior Tripp Pace
Tripp Pace, a senior from Massachusetts majoring in economics, isn’t quite as despondent. Walking back from class, Pace said he usually votes Republican but couldn’t bring himself to vote for Trump, so he sat this election out. “I truly believe he was doing this because he’s an egomaniac,” Pace said. On the bright side, the Massachusetts native said, he’s now “somewhat embracing the fact that there will be a major shakeup in Washington.”

And while he doesn’t agree with the president-elect on social issues such as abortion, they do have one thing in common. “Similar to Trump, I want to be a developer,” Pace said. His primary concern right now: how the market will react.

Most people walked briskly to and from class. It was chilly and overcast and no one seemed in the mood to linger. Later, students would gather for a candlelight vigil.

UVM freshman Isaac Lee - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • UVM freshman Isaac Lee
As the sky began to darken a little after 4 p.m., a lone figure stood stationary on the steps of the Bailey/Howe Library. Isaac Lee, a freshman from Essex who voted for Clinton, held a handmade sign that read: “Stand Together Love Will Prevail.”

He had been carrying it around all day.