From the Cult is The Ubyssey’s unofficial AMS Elections coverage. If you want real news, go to the news section.
Voting in the AMS elections is a real-life version of Where’s Waldo: you arbitrarily choose the best candidate among a crowd of caricatures with similar opinions and cartoon smiles. This stems from the candidates’ inability to market unique policy and explain why students should care to specifically vote for them.
The problem is also that the majority of students who vote believe they are choosing this year’s Block Party lineup rather than the future of their student union representatives.
A campaign’s failure to articulate its importance comes in large part from a lack of existential dread. This proves effective as students are already extremely privy to asking answerless questions about their future and the meaning of their lives as a whole. Simple changes to campaign wording can easily achieve this effect. For example, “pushing for a greener campus” is much less likely to elicit a memorable impression than “battling for the fate of the planet and all that you hold dear.” Saying “I will stop tuition increases so you pay less money” produces a fraction of the emotional response of “I will ensure that your mid-life-crisis-induced botox injections are only partially impulsive.”
Campaign photos are also an oft-overlooked sore spot for even the most diligent candidate. While buttoning the top button of your only dress shirt and leaning on a tree may seem attractive, most of such photos mirror more of a “high school jock” — rather than a future leader.
An alternative might be a simple shot of you swimming in the Martha Piper fountain with some rubber ducks. While this may raise eyebrows from the school administration and future employers, most students will relate to the creative measures you’ve taken to avoid paying utilities for personal hygiene care.
Even a photo of you leading a group preschoolers through the snow is enough to show voters that you are prepared to deal with the childish bickering that comes with that student government public service life.
If you’ve taken all these measures and the polling results are still not in your favour, one last, last trick can be utilized: writing on a blackboard. I don’t care how many times I’ve entered a lecture hall and seen “vote for Derek” written crudely in chalk, I’m sold every fucking time. This strategy is simply so elegant! It asks not of the voter to subscribe to any controversial ideologies but to simply believe in the idea of Derek.
I may never know the true identity of this masked crusader but I believe in a future where, I too, can be a Derek. And if that doesn’t shout hope for the future of our student union, then I don’t know what does!
And if all else fails, break as many election rules as possible so your face is plastered all over The Ubyssey.