Student election campaigns are pointless and absurd. It’s not that the whole democratic process in choosing our representatives isn’t important. The process of voting for the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union members is an important one, and this is why we need to seriously reconsider the USSU campaigning process.
Most of the annual campaign crap that splatters our campus resembles the student council elections I remember from elementary school more than what I expect for an organization that is going to handle a budget of millions of dollars.
Only a handful of candidates use their posters to inform voters about some sort of future policy direction or vision. Most campaign posters tell us about useless information that is in no way related to any on campus issues.
Posters tell us that one candidate “has a face for radio, but a voice for students,” that another is “wanted” and that another has a “big forehead.” Some posters are pleasant invitations to a “wolfpack” or to join the “madness.” Still others tell me if I vote for a specific candidate “I won’t be sorry, bro” or that “drinks are on me,” and another advertises I am getting “two for the price of one.” All I see is hundreds of posters with no substance.
At 16 per cent in 2012 and half as much the year before, turnout for USSU elections is unbelievably low. In fact, it’s so low that it’s safe to say the majority of the university’s undergraduates don’t really give two shits about who is in charge of their union.
So why do candidates think they need a poster every four feet lining the Arts Tunnel? Will the 32nd time I see a candidate dressed like a comic-book character be the time that captures my vote? Nope.
Perhaps they think my memory is so short I can’t remember their meaningless catchphrases between my walk from the library to Tim Hortons? The fact that some of these posters inform us of a candidate’s supposed commitment to “sustainability” is hypocrisy at its finest.
I’m sure many of the candidates mean well and have policies that could do students a lot of good. I encourage them to keep on keepin’ on.
My intent is not to belittle the USSU or those who partake in the election. I also do not wish to downplay the importance of the democratic process in choosing the USSU, but what we have is far from an impressive exercise in democracy.