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The student candidate video everyone’s talking about

It’s good, but also reinforces the idea that students politics are a popularity contest


 

I’ve been watching with some interest Internet discussions about a campaign video commissioned by Emily Rowe in her run for student president at The University of Western Ontario.

The video is play on the Discovery Channel’s popular “Boom De Ya Da!” ad. Instead of the world, the players in the video love Western.

It has gained widespread attention and is presently in the top 100 Canadian videos in its category on Youtube.

Wassim Garzouzi’s assessment is dead-on. Does the ad say anything about the candidate? No.  It makes people feel good and, I agree with Wassim, it will result in people voting for her.

Does this matter? Yes and No. It reinforces the impression that students politics are a popularity contest. Yet, that isn’t much different than “real world” politics.  Don’t get me wrong, the ad is effective but could have (as pointed out by a commenter at iwillrun.ca) included a website address or some contact information.

The video is a stroke of genius in finding a great pop culture campaign and modifying it for your own campaign. (If I were university admin, I would try to assist this video in becoming viral after the USC election.)

Student elections generally have little of substance instead focusing on buzzwords and pop culture.

Having read the USC candidates websites (as listed by the USC website) this afternoon, I see many of them are following the national trend of throwing out unoriginal buzzwords about sustainability, environmentalism, and better communication.

One candidate suggests a UWO wiki, there an interesting idea I haven’t seen elsewhere. However, this same candidate uses the three environmental Rs as the structure of her campaign. Another candidate takes the “I’m green” to the next level; she has a campaign poster of herself leaning on a recycling bin. Two other candidates give a knod to the green fad while not going overboard; after all, students are electing a SU president, not Captain Planet. Both list achievable goals. Refreshing.

(The other candidates don’t have websites listed on the USC website yet.)

Considering the USC is Canada’s largest student union when measured by revenue, one would hope for more ideas and lobbying plans.

That said, the real challenges a student leader will face during the year are unexpected and unpredictable. It is impossible to predict who will be able to raise to those challenges.

Back to the video. It’s not just getting noticed for its catchy use of pop culture. The original version had one minor, but embarrassing, error. When referring to Western’s orientation week, it used footage from Wilfrid Laurier’s orientation. The video was quickly removed, but not before people jumped on the error and a Facebook group entitled “Emily Rowe Loves Her Laurier.” It seems a group of Laurier students are having too much fun with the error.


 

The student candidate video everyone’s talking about

  1. Laurier has enthusiastic students? STOP THE BLOGOSPHERE WE HAVE A NEW LEAD!

    The Emily loves her laurier facebook group is currently considering a roadtrip to support their favourite candidate.

  2. Hey Joey,
    Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to cover some serious student politics and give things an interesting spin. The video is indeed quite incredible, and I definitely give a nod to both Emily and her team for the ingenuity and obvious hard work that went into it.
    I obviously also appreciate your comments about the platform.
    Cheers,

    Andrew

  3. Joey,

    Good article. It is interesting to see such an organized campaign. I fully expect Emily will win. Her campaign is getting the basics correct (like submitting correctly sized photos for the Western USC website).

    My opinion: a pretty face with name recognition is nearly impossible to beat in student politics.

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  5. Mr. Coleman,

    Although I much appreciate the important issues you raise in your editorial, I am disappointed with the overall response to the current USC elections at UWO.
    Being a campaign manager for one of the Presidential candidates, I find it slightly disturbing that your research into the candidates’ platforms lacked depth. Although my opinion is seemingly biased, I believe that the proposed changes to our student government and campus set forth by Ms. Bushfield, a USC Presidential hopeful, are both tactical and feasible. There are been an overwhelming response to her innovative ideas and campaign strategies. Unlike other ideas put forth, her platforms points are well researched and inexpensive. Also, she is running a completely green campaign, with all materials derived from recycled or second-hand materials (including fabric bag-tags and posters made out of newspaper). Her creativity, practicality, and personal commitment have truly changed the culture of elections on UWO’s campus.
    To imply that factors such as popularity, expensive campaign strategies, and advanced media technologies dictate both the culture and result of elections is insulting to our university, our student body, and youth as a whole. The students who vote at UWO are not mindless drones waiting for the most glamorous campaign material to be handed to them; they care about our student community and the future of our USC.
    Perhaps a visit to our campus would help frame your opinions on student politics to include a positive outlook on the dedicated students behind the ideas and strategies you so freely criticize.

    Sincerely,
    Heather Graham

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