It’s that time of the year again. Every student over the past few weeks at the College of Charleston has been bombarded with literature, banners, and constant “Vote for me!” campaign slogans, because election season for SGA just came to an end.
For those who do not know, SGA stands for Student Government Association, and they are one of the biggest, most influential organizations on College of Charleston’s campus. From writing bills and resolutions to hosting tailgates and the occasional semi-formal, SGA has made their presence known on campus. Their motto is, “Find Your Passion. Make a Change. Leave Your Legacy.” They serve as the representative voice of the students here at the CofC.
This past Wednesday and Tuesday, polls opened on OrgSync and students casted their votes for the multiple tiers of candidates. After a gruesome two days of open polls, only half of the results were released. This is because SGA recently passed a bylaw that only allows final results to be released, and a runoff election was required for the position of Secretary. Since each of the candidates for Secretary failed to achieve at least 51% of the votes, a runoff took place between the two highest candidates on Monday, March 28th.
Being a candidate for a senator position enabled me to view what causes people to vote for who. The consensus was clear: presentation mattered. People told me that they voted for “people with the coolest names” and “the guy that made a Snapchat filter.” When viewing the results from each category, those students who used the most advertisements and literature performed better among their competitors. This is likely due to the fact that the more one saw a name, the more likely they were to remember it when campaigning.
People went on to make videos, huge banners, Snapchat filters and presented their visions for the College of Charleston. There was also buzz about how some candidates were copying their competitors’ positions, and how some were not only taking credit for ideas or policies they did not create, but ones that they had absolutely no hand in developing. Candidates with clear and direct initiatives performed well, whereas some who simply made a catchy slogan or video simply confused voters as to what they actually wanted to do while in office.
Needless to say, this was a record year for SGA elections, but that is what happens when candidates literally go door to door and utilize every feature of publicity that they have in their realm on our campus. This election in itself shows the dynamic that the College of Charleston offers to every student, and proves that with hard work and dedication, anyone can rise to the ranks of what they want to accomplish in SGA.