Ah, spring. That glorious time of year when students stumble back onto campus, nursing hangovers and attempting to slog through the last few weeks of the year. The weather, while warm and sunny, just adds to the headaches of the average student by reminding them exactly how much they’re missing while studying inside. These headaches are just exacerbated by two other annoying, highly visible characteristics of the spring semester: clouds of obnoxious pollen and clouds of campaigners out in force for SGA election season.
Sometimes, though, I hesitate to even call it an “election.” “Facebook-powered smiling contest” might be a more accurate representation of what actually goes on. If my Facebook feed is any justification, the deciding factor will clearly be which candidate can get more of their friends to put a little “Vote for X!” badge on their profile picture. And really, isn’t this the way it should be? A rational discussion of issues and policies is nothing when compared to issues like who has the cuter little pastel-colored circle obscuring their friends’ faces.
The devil really is in the details with these campaigns. The ever-important balance of black-and-white and sepia campaign photos, each candidate paying a “subtle” homage to the Institute by always wearing old gold, the buzzword tags on Twitter. It’s all just critical.
But really, as with all things in life, what’s really important is who can capture the social media scene. While I wasn’t here for the enlightened reign of the great Corey T. Boone, Esq., how could I miss that masterful Old Spice spoof that he and his chiseled jaw used to win the election? I’m all aquiver to see what viral spoofs this year’s undergrad candidates use to get that all important laugh-vote. Will it be a Mr. Quiggly style moonwalk through the student center? Or perhaps a having the grizzled voice of Clint Eastwood endorse the tenacity of a candidate as he walks purposefully through Home Park? All I can say is that I hope no “Sexy and I Know It” parodies find their way into the fray. The candidates are all lovely people, but the world is a better place without them wiggling in Speedos at the Campanile.
Even given all this, though, the thing I find most fascinating is that you undergrads still have elections. Here in graduate school, our apathy skills have been so finely refined that not only can we not muster up the attention required to vote, we can hardly even muster up someone to vote for. For the second year running, the campaign for graduate president is a single-candidate election, or, as I like to call it, a “coronation.” While it might be a while before he gets to use his graduation robes, the graduate president will almost certainly have a set of royal robes to keep him warm in the meantime.
However, despite all reasons to the contrary, some students will resist the siren song of apathy and campaign for their chosen candidate. They’ll hit the pavement, they’ll shake hands, they’ll pass out stickers, they’ll create Facebook events and invite all their friends, they’ll wonder why all their friends are suddenly blocking them on Facebook and diving into bushes when they pass. They’ll turn Skiles and the Student Center into insurpassable minefields of flyers and candidate evangelists. They’ll climb ladders to post campaign flyers in Howie’s lecture halls, then completely forget about them until well into next spring. In short, they’ll care. And they’ll do their best to make us care, too.