Reports and Opinions

Why do people change during a student election? Student elections change people’s personality

By Olivia Smith 

The student election period is now over, and everything on campus returns to normal including the candidates.

I believe a lot of people often run for the elections just so they can put it on their CV and look impressive. They often don’t realise that when applying and interviewing for these jobs, they may be asked for evidence to prove what they have achieved in said role.

I ran for the post of disabled students’ officer and won. Whilst campaigning I noticed how people portrayed themselves to help gain votes from the other students on campus. They would be in large groups and would look like they are harassing or intimidating students into voting for them. At no point, I did hear or see people explaining what they are running for or what they will do in that role.

Most people start campaigning with good intentions, setting realistic targets, but then the power goes to their head and they start adding outlandish promises that they can in no way achieve in the next year or more due to restrictions. Once their nominations have been accepted, they will go around in large groups, especially for the higher up roles such as the vice president of the college or president of the Union, as lots of people run for these roles. I know for myself, the role of disabled students’ officer wasn’t contested and so I decided to campaign like and when I wanted to. This also meant only campaigning when I had time between lectures and other commitments. I still only got 41 votes, more votes than I thought I would, and I don’t think I campaigned much at all.

I think, people change during elections because they take them extremely seriously, which to some degree I do agree with, but some people take it too far, shouting and intimidating people to vote for them. I believe the approach I took, calm and measured and not forcing anybody to listen or take anything from me worked. They voted for me because they believed in the role and what my online manifesto said.

I believe although this behaviour could be compared to a general election, the hype and the promises of things they cannot achieve, it is not appropriate or necessary for student elections. I think more rules and regulations would be an important step, I think also campaigning all over campus rather than in one area will change the behaviour of students towards the candidates and will make candidates feel less threatened by their competition; thus, reducing their negative behaviour. I had a calm approach to all students and still got votes, I believe this could be the same for all candidates.


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