This story was written by Peter Hironaka, Spartan Daily
Shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, a resounding chant bounced off walls on the San Jose State University campus: "Obama."
Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th president of the United States, and many SJSU students rejoiced at the results. A group of about 150 students gathered around the Tommie Smith and John Carlos Statue chanting "O-ba-ma!"
In the pitch black of the night, the frequent flashes of cameras illuminated students' faces during the celebration.
The crowd made its way to the statues from on-campus housing. About 10 black, male students danced while leading chants and briefly speaking to the crowd.
Garland Myers, a junior political science major, was one of the students who addressed the crowd.
"No disrespect to other races, but this is for all the black people who went through everything," he yelled.
Terence McKinney, a freshman social work major, said he was happy for relatives who endured racism.
"I'm speechless," he said. "I'm getting all choked up. My grandparents went through racism. to see that my grandparents can live a day where we've got one of us in office."
Champagne Hughes, a junior theatre arts major, said this was not just a victory for black people, but a victory for all minorities.
"America as a whole recognizes Obama as a black man, [but] he represents everybody," she said.
Nnamdi Nwaigwe, a junior management information systems major, shared similar views.
"When Obama was running, he wasn't running for color," Nwaigwe said. "He wasn't running for men; he was running for America."
Tavares Triplett, a freshman business management major, described the reaction at his dorm in Joe West Hall.
"On the third floor of Joe West, we went crazy," Triplett said. "I don't know half of these people, but we're all cheering together."
Meanwhile, members of SJSU's Democratic Caucus and others convened inside Campus Village to watch election coverage on television.
Roman Garza, a freshman meteorology major, was just one of Democrats excited of the results.
"I am so overjoyed!" Garza said. "I have been an Obama supporter since Super Tuesday."
The caucus president, Andrae Macapinlac, said he was impressed with the support Obama received across the country.
"People have heard Obama's message of change, and they responded to it pretty well," Macapinlac said. "This is probably the election with the highest voter turnout, and it's mostly because of Senator Obama."
Although he said he was happy with the result, the senior political science major said he realized that there will be a long road ahead in the White House.
"A lot of the problems aren't solvable in the next four years," he said. "I think that might drag his numbers down in the [approval rating], but I think he will do what he thinks is right."
Nwaigwe, who celebrated around the Smith-Carlos statue, said Obama's presidency will be a step in the right direction, but making drastic changes will be a challenge.
"I feel that we're in a state of emergency," he said. "There's a lot of turmoil going on as a whole. We're in a lot in debt, so it's going to take a long time, and it's not going to change while he's in the presidencyat least not for this term, but he's going to set that stone so that we can follow."
Angelo Lanham contributed to this story.