With Student Government elections right around the corner, we’ve been reminded of the chaos that ensnared a majority of the campaigns and delayed elections for a month and a half last year. Seeing as how we survived and came out on top, we thought our experiences and those of our competitors would provide us with some high-quality advice to shell out to those running this year — or any year — for any position.
1) Don't cheat
The rules are pretty simple. Phrases such as “fair market value,” “no association” and “early campaigning” are straightforward. Just run a clean campaign; it’s really not that difficult. The election code is your friend. All the rules have been put in place for different reasons and are there to work for you, not against you. If you think you need to break the rules to win, you’re probably not the best candidate for the job anyway, so do your fellow students a favor and stay out of the competition before you embarrass yourself. But we all make mistakes, right? If you do find yourself in a bit of trouble, just be honest. Evidence of lying doesn’t go over too well with students, or with the Election Supervisory Board, for that matter. And, for the love of God, if you get disqualified, don’t sue the University — it won’t go over very well (see #3).
2) Have tangible platform points
Politicians seem to love buzzwords. However, here at the University, empty phrases get you nowhere. UT students are far too smart to fall for outlandish or nonexistent claims. Be especially sure your platform points are both attainable and in the best interest of the students. We can say with 100 percent certainty that we promised to tackle specific student issues, and we did just that.
3) Don’t sue the University
In SG elections, no one enjoys sore losers. More specifically, no one enjoys the sore losers who sue the University because they didn’t get their way. If you cheat, have the guts to face the consequences. Do not, and we repeat, do not try to find any loopholes to beat the system.
4) Know your running mate
This is key. You’ll be working with this person day and night, and any serious campaign will take an emotional toll on all parties involved. If you’re lucky, you’ll have been best friends with your running mate since third grade, as was the case with us. If not — which is admittedly more likely — be sure to get to know your running mate outside of the political spectrum. That way you’ll know how they act in certain situations and you’ll probably have developed at least a hint of chemistry before you step out into the public’s scrutiny.
In essence, Student Government is not about us. It’s not about the college representatives either. It’s about each and every student on this campus that we strive to serve day in and day out, and we believe UT deserves a student body president and vice president that will do just that. So please, to those campaigning, never forget that, as SG’s motto so simply and elegantly states it, we are: Students Serving Students.
Lund and Brown are current Student Government president and vice president.