As the official campaigning period for the 2016 EUSA elections began at noon today, candidates and their teams raced to put up as many posters around campus as possible, competing for limited space in the annual “poster race”.
Confined by election regulations to specifically ordained locations for poster placement, including spaces directly outside major university buildings such as the library, Teviot, KB House and Pollock, candidates employed volunteers to stand by with cardboard and cable ties at the ready. As the clock hit 12:00, a flurry of hands and elbows set to work, each candidate vying to establish a visual foothold over the space.
12pm also established the period in which social media campaigning could commence. The afternoon saw Facebook littered with campaign oriented profile pictures, candidate videos, and status appealing for early support.
Candidates will have just one week to persuade students to vote for them before voting closes at on 5pm on Thursday, 10th March. The election results will be released the following day.
The Student spoke to a selection of campaigners putting up posters on the central campus, who talked about their strategies over the next week.
Ali Mirza and Emma Brown, two campaigners putting up posters for Alec Edgecliffe-Johnson outside the library, talked to the The Student about their game plan for the campaign season. Along with the rest of Edgecliffe-Johnson’s campaign team, they wore Hawaiian-themed flower garlands and bright colours.
Mirza told The Student: “We’re going to be really colourful the whole week, and we’re trying to be innovative with some of our events that are coming up. Some social experiments, some flash mobs, some really exciting stuff.”
Emma Brown told The Student that Edgecliffe-Johnsons’ campaign intended to branch out from the central campus. “We want to have a permanent presence outside the library and outside KB. Particularly KB, I know that KB tends to get sort of ignored and pushed aside in lots of campaigns as well as lots of policies, so we’re trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Mirza went on to tell The Student that Edgecliffe-Johnson’s campaign would involve a “big social media presence” with “really cool vines, some gifs, memes.”
Theo Robertson-Bonds, also running for EUSA President, was putting up posters outside the library with his campaign team. He told The Student: “It’s doing more than just saying flamboyant slogans, it’s actually achieving things and getting things done.”
Robertson-Bonds also ran for EUSA president last year, and was a close runner up to Jonny Ross-Tatam, current EUSA president. Asked how his strategy had changed in comparison to last election season, Robertson-Bonds told The Student: “Not much has really changed. It’s a case of getting out as many people to help out, spread the message, change their facebook cover photos and profile pictures. There’s nothing hugely special in it, I don’t think there’s any magic sauce.”
Calum Jenkins, a first year politics student who was putting up posters as part of Robertson-Bonds’s campaign team, told The Student that Theo’s manifesto would “speak for itself”.
“The game plan is just to show people that Theo is the best candidate in the field and to get that out there as quickly and as loudly as we can,” he told The Student.
Both Edgecliffe-Johnson and Robertson-Bonds’ campaign teams told The Student they planned to continue with the tradition of lecture hall shout outs.
Hannah Baker-Millington, who is standing for Vice President of Services, was putting up posters along with her campaign team outside the Informatics building. She told The Student her campaign plan was to speak to students personally by knocking on doors in student accommodation, whilst maintaining an online presence. “We’re going to be knocking in all of the accommodations. I’ve got postgraduate and undergraduate. We’ve got the website up, I’ve got lots of nice little cartoon graphics I’ve done so that’s quite nice. And generally just have a good time during it, have a fun time campaigning”
Hannah Baker-Millington faces competition for Vice President of Services from Jenna Kelly.
Whilst the majority of posters were for sabbaticals positions, a selection of posters advocated for other positions as well.
Maia Almeida-Amir, the outgoing Women’s Liberation Convenor, was putting up posters for Chris Belous, standing for Women’s Liberation Convenor. She told The Student that the poster race proved more of a challenge for non-sabbatical positions. “It’s very hard to flyer for liberation groups because obviously it’s self-defining, so we’re going to stick mainly to online campaigning” she told The Student.
Voting for the EUSA elections will open at 10am on Monday, 7th March.