At Harvard Law School’s Wasserstein Hall, Tracey Daley, the School’s student activities coordinator, wanted to ensure that the night brought the community together, whatever the electoral outcome.

Students, faculty, and guests entering Wasserstein’s ground-floor lounge Tuesday evening were greeted by two large sheet cakes decked out with red, white, and blue balloons, along with stars made of frosting. The end tables were strewn with hats, headbands decorated with American flags, red-white-and-blue leis, and similar gear.

“When you throw in the funny flag hats, we want to make it more fun no matter which way it goes,” Daley said.

Students among the crowd of about 30o who gathered to watch returns said they learned a lot about the country during the campaign, and not all of it good.

“It has been helpful to see the core values of the American electorate,” said law student Emanuel Powell.

Catherine Dondero, a master’s student at the Harvard Extension School, spoke for several other in the room and said that, whatever the outcome, she’s glad to move on.

“I’m actually so happy that it’s finally over,” Dondero said.

Taurus Brown, a first-year law student, said he hoped the nation would follow up the election of its first black president with that of its first woman, showing that the nation’s  highest office is open to people of all backgrounds. But he wondered where the night’s tallies would end.

“I’ve never been this nervous in an election,” Brown said.

— Alvin Powell/Harvard Staff Writer

This excerpt is taken from the article, “Election Day at Harvard,” which originally appeared in the Harvard Gazette, on Nov. 9, 2016