Critique on Student Senate election campaigns
Hall is a senior public and business administration major and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
In this season of Student Senate elections, I cannot help but notice all of the campaign posters that now cover this university’s every walk-way and wall space. And all I can think is how incredibly BORING they all are.
I have run in two Student Senate campaigns during my time at Drake University. In neither case was I elected to office. And frankly, nor should I have been. With my first campaign for business senator during my freshman year, I was clearly inexperienced, under qualified and more interested in having something to put on my resume than serving students. With the follow-up campaign for the same seat during my sophomore year, I lost to a gentleman who I have a great deal of respect for and who ended up doing a much better job than I ever would have.
So, while I cannot give this season’s candidates advice on how to best serve the student body, that does not mean I do not know how to run a very effective campaign.
My sophomore year, yes, I lost, but I lost to the then-president of the school’s largest business fraternity, and it was only by one vote (you know who you are). My campaigning was done completely without affiliation to any social or professional fraternity. And if anyone thinks those things don’t factor in, just take a look at our current Student Senate or any other Student Senates in the past.
I was able to stir up a voter base that normally would not even have bothered to vote. I was able to do this because I acknowledged what most students already know: Student Senate is a bit silly. The group has no real power. They can’t lower tuition or get Google or Goldman Sachs to start recruiting here. It is largely an honorary title. And there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t think anyone in Student Senate thinks their seat makes them better than other students. But then, why, every year, do we have to endure the same dull posters either with Peter Perfect in a suit or Miss Abercrombie with flowers?
Joey Gale has a tag, “At least I’m real,” but in the picture, Joey is wearing the same thing as every other guy is in each of their posters and is giving the same plastic smile. If you are differentiating on how genuine you are, then let us see the real you and not some suit.
Ekta Haria “refuse[s] to be ‘ordinary.’” But the only thing out of the ordinary about her poster is that she has to put her picture on the left side of the page while everyone else seems to have put their pictures on the right.
Chad Stephens, you’re killing me brother. A lot of these tags sound like an old, out-of-touch, white guy trying (poorly) to connect with the youth vote. “My leadership is dope.” Do people still say dope? “‘You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take’ – Eminem.” Thanks for the advice, Dad. What does that have to do with the campaign? And Eminem? Childish Gambino or Tyler the Creator don’t have any words of wisdom you would like to share?
The one tag Chad has that is unique and catching is “Live every week like shark week.” But there are no sharks on the poster! What is on the poster is Chad looking up and out. Everyone does this, so why not have a tag making fun of this campaign cliché? “Chad Stephens: He can look directly into the sun.”
I do not mean to be cruel in singling out these individuals. In fact, if I did not mention you, it is probably because your campaign was so nondescript that I didn’t even notice it.
Campaign posters should be fun. You are trying to get the votes of college kids. We have a sense of humor, and, at the same time, a strong cynicism for shallow authority. Campaigns are meant to distinguish you from the fray and to connect with voters. If you really are a genuine person eager to bring fresh ideas to Student Senate, then show us that with a genuine, fresh campaign.