SGA Campaigning: How Much is Too Much?
By Bekah Oester
By the time this is read, Bowie State University will already have welcomed in the elected officers for the 2010-2011 school year. The walls of the Wiseman Center and residence halls will leave no trace of the abundance of posters that have almost littered them the past month. Our e-mail inboxes will be significantly less full. Election season will be over.
I have a confession to make. As a new student last year, I had no interest in the affairs of the Student Government Association (SGA), and I certainly had no intention of voting. In high school, I stayed away of all things popularity-related, and that wasn't about to change now that I was at BSU. Well, as a new Spectrum reporter, I found myself in attendance at the firewall in order to write a story. I also found myself interested. I cast my vote on Election Day, and sat in the results party, waiting to hear that the candidates I had chosen were selected.
Since then, I have gotten to know many SGA members, even sitting in on several of their meetings. I have come to realize that many of them, like me, truly love BSU and want to make it a better place. I was excited for this year's election season with my newfound knowledge, choosing the candidates for which I would vote before events formally commenced. But not to be biased, I accepted the multiple facebook requests for each candidate.
Here comes confession number two: I didn't vote. With the season in full swing, I quickly discovered that this year's election season was nothing like the last. The e-mails became a nuisance; it was like each candidate would tip off the next, and within a matter of minutes from one candidate sending an e-mail, the others would follow suit. As if all the facebook e-mails weren't enough (and the various posters), the candidates this year also obtained an account to flood our student inboxes. Let's not forget all the extra propaganda that I don't remember having last year. There were multiple cookouts and events, such as a late night rally outside CMRC that made entering the building and trying to go to sleep difficult. There were also giveaways such as CDs. One might look at this and think that the candidates were simply stepping up their game from last year, which is fine, I found it distracting and a tad desperate.
Then there was the firewall. I went as a person instead of a reporter this year. And again, this year's was nothing like the last. I didn't even stay for the whole event because the mudslinging and catty remarks made up my mind quickly- I didn't want anybody to win. I didn't want to be one of those seniors who didn't vote - I care about BSU and want the best progress to be made for the remaining students when I am gone. However, the question remains: How can I select between candidates whose political arguments become personal, who seem like they are running for themselves and to represent their university? While I know and respect many of the candidates as people, I was very disappointed at what I saw. To me, this whole campaigning season was simply too much.
Despite my opinions, students will vote, and someone will win. I personally could not choose, but I wish for the winning candidates to look at this and think about the tasks ahead of them. Congratulations. I did not personally choose you, but I desire the best for my soon to be Alma Mater and would like to challenge you to run your positions better than you ran your campaigns. Remove personal conflicts and drama, and focus on being the Bowie men and Women that we have been encouraged to be since orientation. Lead by example, just not the ones you set this season.