George Mason Law School

Put a face on the campaign

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September 28, 2007

6:19 PM

In two days, I received at least seven group invitations on Facebook from random freshmen asking me to vote for them. Facebook has already taken over my life, but this constant bombardment of requests is a big turnoff. Honestly, it’s gotten to the point where I can barely stop myself from screaming, “No! I will not vote for you!”

p. I can understand campaigning and getting your name out there — but so far, that’s all I’ve been getting. Everywhere I go, whether it’s the University Center, my classes, my residence hall or even a random restroom, all I see is a plethora of colored papers plastered to the bulletin boards. The funny thing is that they all obnoxiously shout the same message. By default, there is the person’s name written in some bold, eye-catching font, a picture of them in an impressive situation and the position for which they’re running. I came back to my dorm one day and saw about a dozen of these flyers fighting for about a foot of cork strip. But, on the bright side, at least the colors of the papers were different.

p. As a freshman, it is more important for me to know what the candidates are going to do rather than what they look like. First of all, I have a hard time keeping track of names to begin with because I meet so many new people every day. With this constant influx of new names, remembering some name on a campaign poster I saw in microeconomics class becomes rather overwhelming, unless, of course, the candidate uses a cheesy slogan — those are always welcome!

p. I was not interested in any candidates because their platforms seemed as thin as their colored paper. By no means am I saying that they have no platforms or no goals for the year, but I haven’t heard or read anything about them. And frankly, I want to. I want to listen to their ideas, visions and thoughts. More than anything, I want this to be different from high school — I want this to be more than just a popularity contest.

p. I don’t want to be harsh, nor do I want to discourage candidates from campaigning fervently, but I just want to actually know the person for whom I’m voting. There are many officer positions open for the freshman class, each requiring different credentials. As a voter, I want to know what each candidate can do to satisfy the position’s obligations.

p. What does this mean for our future leaders? Perhaps they can include some of their ideas on their posters. Or they can even stand outside the UC with a poster, making it easier for people to see them, talk to them and ask questions. In any case, I feel like there has been a huge communication gap between the vote-seekers and the vote-givers. With these elections now over, we have run out of time to rectify our indifference toward some candidates.

p. I am sure there are some candidates who are actively seeking support throughout campus, but I have not come across any such endeavors. It is true that we are just freshmen, still trying to acclimate ourselves and a little unsure about campaigning in college. The campus is large and it is hard to get the word out effectively. But, I look forward to next year’s elections, when the excuses for conspicuously missing platforms will not be quite as plentiful.

p. __Kalyani Phansalkar is a freshman at the College.__

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