Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What will they think of next?!

I have been on this campus for several years, and so have witnessed several years worth of student government elections.

Disclaimer: This will not be a treatise on university student government. If you would like my political statement on the (in)effectiveness of said student government, feel free to email me. The thing I most remember is that one year they managed to shut down a really funny on-campus improv group. Go team! Oh, wait...

(Later that year another on-campus comedy troupe did a Lord of the Rings spoof in which the student gov't was compared to the Ents, the difference being that after they took a really long time to talk about things and not say much, the Ents actually ACCOMPLISHED THINGS.)

But I really want to talk about the campaigning this year. It was the most extreme that I have ever seen, and I feel like it was an interesting study in human nature.

And who started the craziness, I wonder? Which team decided first to host a little dance party outside one corner of the student center? (Did the types of music they chose to play send a message about their campaign goals?? I TOTALLY should have listened more carefully to those lyrics!) Did the other teams get together each night and say, "Oh my gosh, did you see what _____ did? We TOTALLY need to do something BIGGER AND BETTER or they'll get all the attention and all the votes!"

One team had a big huge banner, another had handheld signs to be held overhead, another had people walking around wearing spray-painted cardboard boxes. I saw students with armbands the color of the spray-painted boxes. One day all the people campaigning for a given team wore dress shirts and ties - even the girls. People wore shirts the colors of the various campaigns. And today - the last day of the voting, I felt like the campaign teams all went all out - shouting the names of their candidates more than on previous days, playing music and dancing, and to top it off - twin violin-playing boys dressed in suits, standing on a big make-shift stage, playing jigs and chanting election information.


Did they feel like they had to each be really unique in their, in their what? advertizing? Oh, campaigning would be the word I want. Did that one team feel like they couldn't use handheld placards because the other team had used handheld placards? Well, I guess THAT worked - I now know the candidates not by their platforms, but by their campaigning techniques.

And I think they all HAD platforms...


Jeremy said...

There are some unusually frank editorials in the student paper:
"It's time for BYUSA elections. And once again, it's time to ask why students should participate. Unfortunately, we at The Daily Universe do not have an answer. [...] Last year, only 5,123 students voted in the BYUSA election. It will be interesting to see how many do so this year. At this point, there is no reason why they should become involved."
"Today, we participate in an election that couldn't be blander. The three candidate pairs for the BYUSA presidency are about as homogenous as they come - and fewer people than ever are choosing to run for office."

Josh said...

This is why, I, in my first ever appearance on the Route Y voting system, decided to vote this year. These worthy candidates deserved my time and thought process (which not many things get now a days) so that I could choose from among them.

In so doing, I chose to follow the same principle they were campaigning with. "Vote for us cause we're cool," or something.

That ideal led me to choose the G & L campaign. I mean the one pair of guys had teeth that were way too white; they also looked like they could sell me a used car for a "special" price (apparently these guys were also kicked out of the race because of an improper use of campaign funds-go fig). The third set of guys didn't look cool at all. And the second set of guys looked liked guys I could play football with. And so, since football is cool, they won my vote.

Oh how I love exercising my educated vote in meaningless elections.

PS. Yes I did totally base my vote on the picture I liked best... boy does that make me nervous about other people who may do that for elections with a little more meaning than for BYUSA Pres... not that there are too many of those.

Margaret said...

And this from a poli sci major... ;)

JeffreyD said...

Crazy campaigns? Hardly. Empty campaigns? Certainly.

This year has been rather bland. Only one team was disqualified, and that was for being too resourceful with their $250 campaign cap. Such resourcefulness must have scared the administration. This year provided no real controversies, no real promises, and the campaigns even simplified their identities down to unique solid colors. I have no idea what these candidates believe in or want to accomplish.

I feel like BYUSA and the administration need a special message from the student body. All the students should boycott the elections until there is some measure of influence worth voting for. The student body has no power for even simple requests, like:
* Keeping the BookExchange service free and open to students--even if the Bookstore will take a hit.
* Providing course book lists at least one month before classes start. Students could then purchase books online in time for class.
* Opening course and instructor reviews to the student body (with instructor responses and other dialogue)--like eBay. This would open a real dialogue about course quality between students and faculty.