It is campaign week at Florida A&M University, and the stakes are high for all candidates. Campaign season is a highly anticipated time during the Spring semester because of the work shown on campus. However, due to COVID-19, candidates are unable to showcase their campaigns physically, so creativity is required to reach their desired positions.
Candidates indulge in a friendly yet serious competition to become the next Mister and Miss FAMU, attendant of their respective class, Queen and King of Orange and Green, and to hold SGA positions. Students look forward to the creative content, challenges, giveaways and pageants every year.
The virtual campaign has allowed candidates to create fresh and new ideas. Senior industrial engineering student Nehemiah Fields can attest that although students are unable to see the candidates’ work physically, the virtual campaign has helped showcase the power of innovation.
“I am not surprised at the candidates’ creativity during COVID-19 because being that we all know we are in a pandemic, I expected the level of innovation to take that next step this year,” Fields said. “I also believe that the creativity during Erika Johnson, Kimani Jackson and the 2020-2021 Royal Courts virtual reign has been a great influence for the current candidates.”
It is not a secret that FAMU candidates always bring the heat with their graphics and distinctive campaigns. Students have become more creative with their incentives, such as allowing students the chance to win a free round-trip, free rent for a month, a free 1-year Amazon Prime membership, and more. According to junior business administration student Josh Brown, they have to continue implementing this creativity during their reign.
“The incentives are appealing to the student body because candidates created them to be positive, interactive and engaging through social media and other various platforms,” Brown said. “However, if they are doing this while campaigning and they are fortunate enough to receive a position, they have to do some of these initiatives while elected.”
The candidates are not only appealing to the student body with their creativity but also their chivalry. According to sophomore biochemistry student Brianna Philome, due to COVID-19, some students are not financially stable, so the incentives and giveaways have impacted students’ lives for the better.
“Many people are hurting financially right now, and many are losing jobs in light of the pandemic so the fact that candidates are fortunate enough to be in a position to help out their fellow Rattlers is amazing to see,” Philome said. “Who wouldn’t want a break from paying rent?”
Candidates have to connect with the student body virtually so their campaigns must be personable to reach their audiences. However, this is not an obstacle for them. FAMU Electoral Commissioner Ryanne Taylor, says that candidates have more flexibility through the virtual campaign.
“Being in a technological environment right now brings so much room for creativity and innovation so, there are many opportunities for their campaigns to stand out to the student body,” Taylor said.
While the campaigns were highly anticipated this week, students expect the creativity to continue as campaign week comes to an end. Students are especially looking forward to seeing which candidate will prevail come election day next week.