These past few days have been very exciting for Florida A&M University’s campus and student body. Spring 2019 election week has kicked off and students have begun to campaign to their peers and faculty for coveted student government association positions and royal titles. However, what lengths did candidates go to win the votes of the student body?
Collectively, candidates and their teams have spent money, sacrificed time and went great measures to prove to the student body why they deserve the position they are running for in their campaigns. These practices have included graphics, posters, flyers, celebrity endorsements, music videos, free events, free food, and more.
Each year, candidates have created tactics and come up with ways to grab their peers’ attention and win their votes on Election Day but, they have to do so within certain guidelines. Annie Moore, FAMU’s Electoral Commissioner, handles all campaign rules and regulations during campaign week.
“We approve campaign materials, we ensure candidates are following rules and we assess points,” Moore explained. “An ideal candidate on our end is someone who reads and acknowledges the rules because you can have an amazing campaign and still be within those guidelines and rules. But beyond that, someone who is genuine and involved.”
Moore said that her role as electoral commissioner is usually easy going and that she remains stress free, but admitted the craziest thing she’s seen this election season was when a candidate tried to bring a snake into declaration.
Candidates are given a specific number of points counted against them each time they break a rule and once reaching up to 50 points, will be disqualified.
Agribusiness major Rochard Moricette, is campaigning for Student Body President and believed election week is exciting because of the amount of effort candidates put into their campaign.
“Election week is like no other at FAMU,” noted Moricette. “I always call it ‘extra with care’–you know how we say ‘excellence with care’? It’s really ‘extra with care’ because FAMU goes above and beyond.”
This year’s spring election included new techniques to win votes. Instead of only posting digital flyers, a few candidates have created fully active websites and social media accounts solely for their campaign.
Senior english major JaKela London, a served as the 2017 Queen of Orange & Green and made the most out of her campaign with T-shirts and posters. She admitted she was stunned by other candidate’s campaign techniques.
“People had like websites and stuff. I didn’t have all that extra stuff,” recalled London. “You’ll see…These people come with it. Some people even have five to six thousand dollar campaign budgets.”
Current SGA Vice President, Robyn Seniors is currently campaigning to be the next Student Body President alongside her running mate Rebekah Hawkins. The two got an endorsement video message from Angela Rye, encouraging FAMU students to vote for the pair.
Just the candidates themselves do not carry out these campaign techniques. The majority of candidates will have a team during election week to make sure that their campaigns are running smoothly.
Senior information technology major Rodrick Wilkins, is the campaign manager of Crenel “CJ” Francis who is vying to become the 20th Mr. FAMU. Wilkins has made sure that Francis’ team is campaigning physically and digitally through social media.
“You want to have great social media tactics, great graphics in general, digital graphics–like videos,” Wilkins detailed. “Really anything that’s going to catch the user’s eye.” Something that's going to capture their attention on Instagram within those first five seconds.”
As the campaign season continues, so will the campaign strategies and techniques to get votes. Only time will tell how much more elaborate and innovative campaigns will be in the future.