Lean financial times at Florida A&M University have caused a tightening on campaign budgets for students running for campus elections. Recent budget cuts have forced the university to limit funds allotted to students for their campaigns and has compelled some students to make more economical decisions with their campaign dollars.
Dex Rho, 20, a business administration student, who is running for student body vice president, said he is not in favor of the new restrictions because it may deter students from running for office.
“I’m against the budget being so steep because it scares people away from running [for office],” said Rho, a Ft. Lauderdale native.
Rho said his campaign team is functioning with a smaller budget by increasing the number of supporters instead of spending their funds on more extravagant campaign methods.
“We’re increasing the number of people on the campaign team, dedicated people who are willing to work hard,” Rho said. “[Students who vote] have to have something to remember you by. If you have enough people wearing T-shirts, you don’t need a television commercial or a billboard.”
Josh King, a FAMU graduate who has been used as a resource in the past to make flyers and posters for campaigns, said the amount he charges for his work can vary based on what the candidates want and where the photos are taken.
“The prices can range from $55 to $100 depending on the location and the number of outfit changes they have,” said King, a Jacksonville native. “The most expensive I’ve done is $150.”
Mario Henderson, 21, a political science student from Daytona Beach, said that candidates must be creative in how they campaign with a limited budget. He also said his campaign team has had to reprioritize what they want to spend their campaign money on.
“Commercials were on our wish list, but when we make decisions we have to look at the utility and cost of what we’re doing,” he said. “The majority of our budget is geared towards marketing, making sure the student body hears our message. We were blessed to be able to get a billboard, but we still have a lot of posters, flyers, and other paper- based products.”