Though election season seemed to drag on forever and campaigns turned nasty toward the end, there is no doubt that the 2008 election brought out the best in Bowdoin students. From those who rallied around a candidate more than a year ago to the masses that gathered to celebrate Barack Obama's victory on Tuesday night, this election has sparked a spirit of political engagement and activism on campus that we should be proud of.

In recent weeks, the Opinion pages of the Orient have been filled with election-related contributions from both students and professors. We've heard from conservatives, liberals, and moderates. Contributions have been frequent, and debate has been lively.

We've seen campus groups collaborate and participate in important conversations. We've argued with each other, but we've seldom squabbled. Students have gone out into communities across the state and country to work for causes they believed in. People have devoted hours, and even entire semesters, to volunteer for various campaigns.

And on Tuesday evening, we saw something truly spectacular: Two-hundred students gathered on the Quad in a spontaneous rally.

Just because the election season is over, however, does not mean that we can relax?the real work is just beginning. Our country is stuck in a messy financial crisis, thousands of our peers are still at war in two far-off countries, and global warming threatens to destroy our environment.

Though many students have been involved and engaged over the last few months, a disturbing number have been out of touch over the last few years, disconnected from politics and current events. When politicians got us embroiled in foreign wars and infringed upon our individual rights, a few of us protested, but most of us stuck to our schoolwork, social lives, and sports.

Though the election of Barack Obama is a start, it will not bring about change by itself. Over the next four?or eight?years, it will be our responsibility to hold Obama to the promises he has made over the last two. Read the newspaper every day. Write letters to lawmakers. Work for a non-profit, or even for the government. Do your civic duty?it extends much further than simply casting a vote. We owe no less to our peers, ourselves, and our country.

The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient?s editorial board, which comprises Nick Day, Mary Helen Miller, Cati Mitchell, and Nat Herz.