It is that time of year when students at Florida A&M are fighting for a spot in the senate in the Student Government Association.
Voting takes place today for senators representing graduate students and freshmen running for the Royal Court, while the election for freshmen senators is expected to take place next week.
Typically, students running a campaign would try to meet as many students as possible and try to win their votes by pitching their platform points and future goals. But that’s not happening this semester —now that the campus is mostly closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
At first, the candidates were under the impression that they were able to pass out flyers, snacks and other items. It was not until later when they were informed that they were not allowed to.
Due to COVID-19, candidates are forced to connect with the student body in a different way. The most effective alternative is through social media.
“In person interactions with my classmates are very limited, which makes it very important that my social media presence is high,” Brooke Hawkins, a candidate for Miss Freshman Attendant, said.
On a normal day, candidates could shake your hand and tell you their goals for the school and why they deserve your vote. COVID-19 did not make this tactic possible, and candidates had to adapt.
“To overcome the COVID obstacle, I did virtual events for my class which allowed us to come together and have a great time. I hosted a FAMU 24 talent show, Q&A, scavenger hunt and many more events and more to come,” said YuKwon Toney, who is running to be a freshman senator.
A social media campaign could be a blessing in disguise because it shows the students which candidates are serious about their campaign. Instead of a popularity contest, candidates really have to put forth the effort to get their ideas in the eyes of their students to gain their support.
Part of being a leader in SGA is to be prepared for unexpected situations. This campaign is exactly that.
“Once I came to the conclusion that I had to get myself known throughout the class of 2024 through social media, I found a graphic designer to help put my ideas and visions on graphics and flyers,” said Malachi Gibbs, another candidate for freshman senator.