For months, the local civic group Young Involved Philadelphia had been planning a workshop to teach millennials how to run for office. And with just a week left before the event, only 30 people had signed up.
Then the results of the presidential election started rolling in.
On Monday night, 275 people packed the Painted Bride Arts Center for the session titled "Born to Run." The waiting list for tickets was so long that YIP has started planning a second event for December.
"Within 12 hours of the election being decided, we sold out the first round of tickets" for Monday's event, said organizer Gwen Emmons.
YIP is a nonpartisan group, and the event was aimed at getting young people in general - Democrat, Republican, Green - to run for office. Many YIP members already work in politics and were likely too busy during the campaign season to sign up, Emmons said, but the postelection response was overwhelming.
"We're a nonpartisan organization working in a partisan city, and I won't pretend many people aren't dismayed [by the election results]" she said. "I'm a little overwhelmed [by the turnout], but it reminded me why I love Philadelphia. When something devastating and challenging happens, Philly digs in."
Attendees said the election results had energized them to do more. Satish Rajaram, 29, a Ph.D student studying mechanical engineering at Drexel University, said he had felt "betrayed" by Trump's election, seeing it as "a validation of racism and hate."
Running for office "has always been a fantasy - 'Wouldn't it be cool?'" he said. "This is a stepping-stone."
The evening kicked off with a panel discussion among local politicos - mayoral also-ran Doug Oliver, state Rep. Brian Sims (D., Philadelphia), Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell and Anne Wakabayashi, the executive director of Emerge Pennsylvania, which trains Democratic women to run for office.
Then attendees wheeled through the room, hors d'oeuvres in hand, to chat with a few dozen activists, political consultants and politicians stationed at tables around the arts center.
Advice ranged from the inspiring - "Fear nothing," said the Philadelphia attorney Tom Wyatt, who ran for city council last year - to the practical:
"People don't start taking you seriously until you start raising money," said Billy Smith, a former Lansdowne borough council member who lost a primary bid for the state House in 2014.
Panel members told attendees to think small - eye open spots on local election boards, or run for ward leader, or simply start attending town hall meetings in their neighborhoods.
"Just having someone spell it out and make the whole process more tangible" was valuable, said Travis West, 26, who works in affordable housing development. "I've never seen myself as the face of a political group." But now, he said, "I feel there is a lot of value in being an organizer."
Wakabayashi, who was surrounded by a crowd of women all night, said she had been encouraged by the turnout.
"I spent last week fielding phone calls from women looking to run for office, but it's always better to be in the room," she said. "We've got so many people fired up for 2018. The drive and the awareness is there."