February 13, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 75  

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How about a little creativity?

Hundreds of fliers. Names spray-painted on the ground. Teams of people in multi-coloured shirts doing perky cheers.

Is it Frosh Week, part II? Sort of. It’s time once again for University Students’ Council election campaigns.

As teams of jolly campaign members canvass the campus, one could argue they are definitely hard to ignore. But is their desired job actually getting done?

We’ve repeated the obvious over and over, most students simply do not care about USC-related issues, despite the fact they affect them directly more often than not. This means the best thing candidates can do is to get people to know and remember their names, so that if and when they do decide to vote, they’ll vote for “that guy” whose name they remember.

Arguably, the campaign trail is an old, worn out street with tons of potholes and not nearly enough potential USC honchos are travelling down the road not taken, namely: the road to creativity.

Currently, the same old campaign staples abound. T-shirts, shiny banner posters and of course, hundreds of little flyers than end up in thrown in the garbage the second people realize what they’ve been handed on their trek through the University Community Centre.

Creative campaigning is the key to being noticed, and more importantly, to being remembered. But how far is too far when trying to leave your mark on campus?

A ripple of controversy is currently arising over whether the paint used to “decorate” University College Hill with the names of candidates running for USC positions is harmful to the environment.

This proposed inquiry begs the question of what makes a USC campaign appropriate. Ideally, the criteria for an appropriate campaign and a successful campaign would go hand in hand. Being creative could merge the two.

For instance, there are easy alternatives to soaking harmless blades of grass and small furry creatures with toxic spray-paint — food colouring is an obvious one. In addition to injecting the snow with a dose of vibrant colour, it would offer a sweet taste, creating candidate sno-cones!

Customized pens and condoms could be eye-catching and useful gifts for potential voters; while a professional-looking, informative and well-advertised candidate website would eliminate the need for cumbersome and wasteful fliers. Special appearances by candidates at various events on and off campus, including pub nights and sporting events, could expand their voter base.

The candidates need to be creative and stop lamenting the fact that students don’t care. Students need to be shown how important the elections are and exactly how the USC affects them. But it’s obvious the old methods of getting this message across aren’t working.



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