Officially launched the 29th of February, the campaign for the Student Union election is the most important one of student life. The two weeks before the votes are held represent the opportunity for students to question and get to know their future representatives. Elected for 2016/2017 academic year, they will be the decision makers of all important student life measures : from society management, to event organizing, to defending students’ right at university meetings…
These two weeks will be intense. Competition will be great. However, become friends, remain friends. -Dylan Williams, Union Director
A few days before the campaigning starts, all the candidates meet for a breakfast in the student union floor in Pontio. The occasion to meet their opponents and makes things a little more official. The atmosphere, still, is relaxed and friendly. When asked, candidates insist on the fact they mostly know each other and are friends. Jay Holmes, running for VP Sport & Healthy living, said :
“I’m feeling confident about the campaign. However, I’m convinced everyone running would do a good job working for the SU.”
Amelia Boddlson, running for VP Education & Welfare, agreed :
“This is a friendly competition, everybody knows each other. And to work as a team later, it will be helpful to be friends.”
Candidates let their program be known through their manifesto (which you can find here). However, to draw student’s interest, they have to intensify efforts, will and creativity. Ryan Heaton, running for VP Societies & Community, plans to “walk around main students sites accompanied by a friend costumed as a dinosaur”. Elizabeth Strange, running for presidency, says she relies on her “angels”, that is to say, her campaign team. Indeed, most candidates are not running on their own but with a team by their side. A good way to involve more people and promote ideas on a larger scale : the more people talk about you, the better.
Joe Clarke and Thomas Mitchell, both running for VP Societies & Community, agree on saying the best way campaign for a student election is “by word to mouth”. Conor Savage, running for presidency, plans “phone campaigning”.
Not to forget the unavoidable tool to be heard : the social media. Candidates have hashtags to be reached on Twitter and, often, their own Facebook page. Kieran Bold, running for VP Education & Welfare, says :
“I will mainly campaign on social media. I’ll be publishing articles on Facebook, twitting regularly, etc. I am geeky with technologies.”
The candidates’ aim, before convincing students to vote for them, is convincing students to vote at all. Main votings takes place from the 14th to the 16th of March and all 12.000 Bangor students are supposed to attend. Piers Wilkinson, running for VP Education & Welfare, says he will focus on people to vote :
I want people to express their mind out and to realize the importance of this vote. After that, I just want them to make the choice that is the most relevant for them. And if it happens to me, it’s for the best !
Fflur Elin, the actual Union President, has been through this. She recalls :
“It is hard but really fun two weeks.” she tells the candidates: “Take care of yourself and give everything, you’ve got only two weeks ! It really worth the efforts : this year was the most amazing ever for me. ”
To know more about the candidates, read their manifesto here.