Last year, I covered FAMU elections from the senators to the royal court. But this year, due to COVID-19, elections and campaign season will have to be online. And it sucks.
FAMU is known to be over the top and grand with just about everything, but no other university can outdo FAMU when it comes to student elections.
We’ve seen fully functioning websites, celebrity endorsements, huge campaign parties, expensive outfits and lots of snacks for the student body.
Elections usually take place within a span of roughly two weeks in February. But some discrepancies within the Electoral Commission pushed these dates back multiple times.
Elections were moved to April 12-April 23. But COVID-19 caused the campus to cease all face-to-face interactions and moved all activity online, including campaigns.
This means candidates will have to promote and campaign strictly through social media, which takes all of the excitement out of campaign season.
Declaration took place Sunday, via Instagram Live and many students weren’t fans.
“Ghetto,” said London Camel, a junior political science student.
Declaration having to be on Instagram Live really wasn’t that great of an idea. I was annoyed because there were huge gaps between the candidate speeches and technology issues that made this moment nerve wracking for students and candidates.
Poor connections, too many unnecessary requests and a slow dragging feedback took away the uniqueness to kickstart campaign season.
Precinct Supervisor Bianca Dacres dealt with a number of complaints from Declaration including personal attacks and death threats.
Clearly campaign season is a big deal to this campus.
But Dacres took to Twitter to defend herself and explained that the Electoral Commission is doing its best and that they cannot control Instagram’s platform and connectivity.
“ It’s kind of sad to see that we had to resort to it being online, but we didn’t want the whole semester to go without doing it in some shape or form,” Dacres said.
There’s something about campaign season that brings magic to this campus.
Candidates have to face the test of who can survive two weeks of being generous and friendly (if they weren’t already) to make sure they win the vote of the student body.
It also gives the campus a breath of fresh air from the stress of academics when you can walk on the quad at any time to receive snacks and goodies or a dreadful, pretentious spiel about why you should vote for a specific candidate.
Nothing beats the adrenaline and anticipation of trying to physically determine who will win. It’s a feeling you can’t get online.
Another significant element of campaign season is the pageant. Candidates get the opportunity to showcase their talents and potential regal presence. It’s also a really big moment for the campus to weigh in and judge the candidates through a hashtag on Twitter.
This usually results in funny memes, unforgettable highlights of campaign season and even some shady remarks from opposing campaign teams.
My good friend Rhiana Long, a junior computer information systems student, and I make it to the pageant every year for all the fun.
Long enjoys the pageant because it allows the candidates to let loose.
“It’s the candidates really showing themselves to the campus, it kinda drops the political act for a second and it shows us their personality. It shows their human side and I like that,” Long said.
Candidates will proceed as normal with their flyer blasts on social media and GroupMes. But I’m going to miss the physical spirit of walking on campus with tons of students trying to win me over with their looks, platform points and certainly their free food.
Having elections online just doesn’t hit the same, you know?