A message to candidates

Former YUSU President, , comments on what the YUSU election candidates can expect to face in the next few weeks of campaigning

Week Seven – a week of voting coming up. If you haven’t set time aside for your assignments, or organised your timetable to show your face at every happening event in York this week, then you’re on the back foot.

But it’s okay. You can rely on your posters. Oh wait… no you can’t. This pretty much just leaves you with your policies, your cardboard and any other Early Learning Centre supplies and costumes left from the adolescent socials of your first-year.

Expect to get rejected time and time again; expect to harp on about your policies to the point where you think they’re the kind of stuff that would win you the US Presidency. But if you think you’ve got it bad, spare a thought for the BNOC who will get approached thirty times about why they should support a particular candidate in the election or asked to lend their Facebook clout to a campaign.

Just because you’ve represented a large group of students before doesn’t mean you know everything about the student experience. Give your membership a little more credit than that. However, do engage with them on the things they care about, not just what you want them to hear.

It’s not just about the big five Sabbaticals, it’s about the twenty-two or so officers that represent all members of the Union. So whilst you are campaigning to represent in your chosen area, bear in mind that you’re going to be working as part of a team and that you should also be selling your strongest attributes and skills to your electorate. Many students will judge you on how you come across, and how much they can trust your ability to get things done rather than what you’re actually telling them.

Campaigning is fun, though. You get to meet and discover students and places in a whole new light. Many of the bonds you make in the next week will go on to serve you in the future and win or lose, you’ll have definitely learnt a lot about yourself. Cover all your bases and just make sure that you’re enjoying it. Students can tell if you hate the campaign trail, as much as you can tell that they don’t want to listen. Knuckle down and get stuck in, it’s going to be a bumpy but fun ride.

When you win – it doesn’t stop there – you’ve actually got to do the job, so good luck. Focus back on the things that you couldn’t do – assignments, your friends, graduation and enjoying the summer while you still have the time before handover and first hits. Being an officer of the Union was one of the best experiences I ever went through…and that all sprung from the campaign trail.

One comment

  1. It was interesting to read how it seems so little has change in 37 years when I stood for Deputy President in 1975. Heck it was an evil campaign and my previous good standing as Ents Chair in 74/5 was destroyed in the process by forces far more dirty than anything the British or American political parties can muster.

    I didn’t win but it was an interesting exercise and I learned a great deal from the process. I made a few good friends and lost quite a few too.

    Just remember to keep the message simple and smile through it all – it may seem winning is life and death now and the heartbreak of losing is painful but it WILL stand you in good stead for the future.

    Good luck to all the candidates from an old York grad still living in the city.

    The DP candidate who won in 1974/5 had a simple slogan

    Vote Vote Vote for David Waugh
    He’s the guy we all adore
    He’s not too left
    He’s not too right
    And he’s not too flipping bright

    Reply




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