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Overzealous GUSA candidates take battle to YouTube
Dorm-storming, flyering, and Red Square antics were once enough to win an election. But members of today’s generation of would-be GUSA executives would be remiss if they neglected to engage students on the Internet as well as in real life. Whereas online campaigning may have started out as a way to get a leg up on the competition, it is now expected that candidates keep up appearances on multiple social networking sites.
The seven tickets have Facebook pages, Twitter streams, YouTube channels, and full-fledged websites. We’ve got GUSA candidates jumping through hoops to earn our votes, and I feel a little sorry for them; I can only imagine how much the pressure of maintaining an Internet presence adds to the overwhelming stress of juggling campaigning in person with the demanding responsibilities of being a student.
Still, I’m having a hard time deciding whether to be impressed or annoyed. No longer can I retreat to the depths of Lau’s microforms section and feel safe from the barrage of slogans and promises, because every study break is an opportunity for Facebook to push one ticket after another at me. It hasn’t quite reached the level of the circus that moves into Lau 2 in the evenings, but lately my newsfeed has been overflowing with Sax-Crouch profile pictures and Murph and Mike campaign video shares. Unfortunately for the candidates, this kind of oversaturation can rub students the wrong way—I know more than a few Hoyas who are so fed up with the campaigns that they don’t plan to vote at all.
Campaign videos remain perhaps the only good thing to come out of the GUSA election season. The candidates use these videos to show students what candidates think is the best way to portray themselves to get elected: goofy or serious, no-nonsense or folksy, issues-centered or, shall we say, more focused on style. In short, videos allow curmudgeons like me to judge candidates more easily, and to reduce hardworking Hoyas and their carefully crafted platforms to little more than a scoff or a giggle.
The “Meet Colton and Maggie” video from the Malkerson-Cleary camp, for instance, is all business. So serious about their campaign that they can’t even crack a smile, Colton and Maggie run through a comprehensive list of proposals and credentials. It’s pretty clear that these two were voted “Most likely to have LinkedIn accounts already” in their senior yearbooks, and I bet they have a strong stance on national security.
Clara Gustafson (SFS ‘13) and Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ‘13), on the other hand, seem somehow to engage the entire Georgetown community in their video. How they plan to get so much done for so many different groups of people on campus remains a mystery, but their “all together now!” vibe, combined with arthritis medication commercial music, make for a cheerful viewing experience.
Similarly, jacks-of-all-trades Tyler Sax (COL ‘13) and Michael Crouch (MSB ‘13) miraculously manage to run all-inclusively from squash, to gospel choir, to a radio show, to Groove Theory practice in their campaign video—all in one day! Without Hermione’s Time-Turner! If voting for Sax-Crouch gets me endless hours in the day, sign me up.
In what is definitely the campaign video most suitable to play at your next pregame, Murphy Kate Delaney (COL ‘13) and Mike Appau (COL ‘13) paint themselves as reformers raring to shake up the system. Their version of Watch the Throne song, whose title I don’t feel comfortable writing would win the Grammy in the category of “Best Use of ‘Hoya’ as an Adjective,” thanks to the lyrical ingenuity that is the line, “People say I’m the Hoya-est, even more than DeGioia is.” Look out Tate Tucker, here comes Murphy Kate.
A favorite tactic this year has been the tried and true method of emulating another commercial or video. Daniel LaMagna (COL ‘13) and Markel Starks (COL ‘14) parodied the bizarre Herman Cain spot that featured his campaign manager smoking, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I guess Dan and Markel must be big Herman Cain fans. I suspect they see themselves as “mavericks,” which is fine by me—as long as Markel is still a Georgetown Hoya at the end of the day.
Nate Tisa (SFS ‘14) and Sheila Walsh’s (COL ‘14) camp released a regrettably unimaginative rendition of the tired “Sh*t People Say” videos, entitled “Sh*t Hoyas Say.” Though it was probably intended to unite Georgetown students with scenes of their shared experiences, the video actually ended up making me feel like I don’t go here. Apparently we all walk around chirping “hashtag!” and sighing about peer advisors, which I didn’t know. The plight of the SafeRides-forsaken Hoya, though, was a theme explored by several tickets that undoubtedly deserves the airtime Tisa-Walsh gave it.
Finally, as a native Detroiter, John Morris and Lauren Weber’s rendition of Chrysler’s “Halftime in America” commercial was a welcome sight. Fully invested, I sighed in relief as they narrowly skirted the seal outside Healy. What can I say? A dramatic voiceover can really reel me in.
Much like the preppiest-or-most-hipster question, the debate rages on over whether Georgetown students are highly political or surprisingly apathetic. Though the experts remain divided, I think we can all agree that the candidates and their selfless campaign managers who are running for the GUSA presidency make life a little more amusing this time of year.