What was so special about K? Kallum Taylor’s victory this week is indicative of the student body’s predisposition to buy into a brand. Taylor was inescapable across campus throughout the campaign, perhaps a little in your face, but nonetheless present, enthusiastic and available. He may have besieged campus, but he levied attention and the catchy “K” crusade evidently assured Taylor notoriety across campus.
Students don’t necessarily have the time, the will or even the interest, to trawl through potential Presidents’ manifestos and policies. As the public face of YUSU, Presidents are not just selling themselves as a set of policies; the President is an aesthetic asset. A disheartening number of students remain unaware of the very existence of the student body elected to represent them, or dismiss the Union as an inefficient bureaucratic web. Students have little right to complain and denounce YUSU if they fail to absorb themselves within it; through attendance at open meetings and interaction with officers, whose availability should warrant response from dissatisfied students.
Next year’s president will face an increasing demand for student satisfaction, as tuition fees rise and the job market wanes. The issues of employability, the development of the University campus, and the accessibility and transparency of the Union must be tackled head-on and targeted through specific policies. Manifestos are not mere rhetoric, nor just political jargon. Students evidently responded to clear visual, clear policy statements and active engagement. Students are consumers and we like to identify with a brand. Taylor’s campaign was marketing genius and the new President must continue to be the brand, the face and the presence on campus that brought about his victory.