As my last campaign season begins, I am feeling a bit nostalgic.
I will miss the free t-shirts; the uniform for the week is a t-shirt, jeans, matching buttons and flyer necklaces.
I will miss the nice-nasty tactics among campaign teams like ripping posters down then letting the candidate know that their $24 poster was lying in a puddle of water.
And I will definitely miss the infamous breakfast starters. From grits with bacon to a McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches, the grab and go meals always put a smile on my face.
And yet, as the flyers give off that butt-sweat aroma as they were being shoved into my hand, the annoying questions of my classification, and the Set Friday blog that becomes an indirect subsidiary to the student newspaper, I am relieved that this is my last campaign season.
Year after year, candidates make empty promises to fill paid positions to recruit students, plan activities and allocate funds to campus organizations. However, too often the candidates write the students a bad check and often leave the student body bankrupt when it comes to their platforms.
Let’s say that the Royal Court is an actual business called R.C. Corporation where the students serve as stockholders in ensuring that there is exponential growth in recruitment or retention. Though there are other factors that are a part of this objective, if we had to quantify the dividends of R.C. Corp’s contribution, we would be looking at negative integers.
Is this an investment you would be willing to stick with?
Though R.C. Corp receives a shrinking budget through Activity and Services fees, a fraction of the budget goes to salaries, cosmetics (because they have to look pretty), and outfits.
After leaving the student body destitute, R.C. Corp wants more support from the student body for another title in the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference.
Let’s say that Student Government Association is an actual business called SGA Incorporated where the students serve as stockholders in ensuring that campus organizations are funded through A&S funds.
If real stockholders found out that organizations were not funded due to the lack of oversight and personal agendas were being funded instead, they would demand transparency and a thorough audit of financial records.
If real stockholders found out that appointed officials had shady backgrounds that could directly affect SGA’s bottom line, they would demand the abrupt removal of all personnel.
However because we listened to them fill us with dreams of a better FAMU family, because we broke a chicken wing apart at their barbecue, because we shouted at the tops of our lungs with them while holding up our homemade posters, we have given them permission to be held unaccountable.
Until we begin to look at our votes as investments rather than favors or spiteful actions, then our check from our elected officials will always be null and void.
And that’s the business.