Voting for the 2011-12 USSU executive is officially underway. This afternoon, the Sheaf sat down with the candidates running for the most contested position — VP student affairs — to ask how the campaigns have progressed, and learn which strategies they have employed.
Leading up to the election, all three hopefuls — Leejay Schmidt, Justin Lasnier and Alex Ferwerda — have been busy promoting their platforms by speaking to students personally, as well as managing online campaigns.
Schmidt took a few minutes to swing by the newspaper office. He pointed out his strategy relied heavily on personal lobbying efforts. To promote sustainability he attempted a primarily paper-less campaign, with a maximum quota of thirty posters. Additionally, Schmidt launched his own website and a Facebook page.
“If people want to know my platform, going online is an open way to do it,” he said. “As well, I think lots [of support] has been spread just by word-of-mouth.”
Lasnier was camped-out with a friend in the Arts Tunnel, talking with students as they passed by. He explained how his campaign focused a great deal on the knowledge he gained last year while running for the same position.
“Experience has given me a confidence boost,” said Lasnier. “Also, there are a couple different tactics you have to follow to be successful, and those skills I acquired last year.”
Lasnier also noted how essential social networking has been.
“I have a BlackBerry Messenger group that I can contact at any moment, and the Facebook group that is about 260 undergrad students, it is through these I am able to reach a lot of voters.”
Facebook actually contacted Lasnier recently, warning against reaching out to such a large number of members, and forcing him to scale back his online presence.
Finally, Ferwerda was spotted outside the Murray library and in Lower Place Riel, speaking to friends and groups of students about his approach to student affairs. He has been concentrating on rallying students to vote by simply being visible around campus.
“I want to ensure students that I am going to do a good job in the position and represent them well,” he said. “Essentially, [my vision] comes down to students getting involved, and if that is something I can make happen — which I know it will be — then I will have done the first thing on my platform.”
Ferwerda, like Schmidt and Lasnier, relied on social media to assist on the campaign trail. Early last week he set up a Facebook group and on top of that, composed a catchy guitar jingle that can be directly accessed via YouTube by scanning the QR-code on his posters.
Voting wraps-up tomorrow, March 31, at 4 p.m. and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter, at 4:30 p.m. in Browsers. Check out thesheaf.com at that time for live updates.