Have you heard the shrill bleating of a freshman campaigner exhorting his roommate to “join us in building a new Georgetown”?
Yes, GUSA campaign season has begun. For the next week, campus will be assaulted by feel-good slogans and beset on all sides by the grandiose promises of GUSA hopefuls that have little chance of becoming reality.
One of the most important GUSA campaign tactics is the promotional video. Most students will never get to meet all the candidates in person and videos are a useful way for voters to get a brief taste of the flavor of a campaign. They’re also an indication of how seriously candidates take the race. A poor quality advertisement suggests that the team isn’t putting much sincere effort into their operations.
This year’s slew of introductory campaign videos are heavy on showcasing the candidate’s personality and skimp on any discussion of issues. This emphasis is a marked change from the 2014 GUSA campaign videos. Last year’s winners, Trevor and Omika, launched their campaigns with a video that was pretty much just a rundown of their campaign platforms. In as far as the advertisements are a reflection of each campaign’s focus, it looks like this election season is going to be heavy on the charisma.
By far the worst of this season’s crop is Chris Wadibia and Meredith Cheney’s cringe-worthy “Dignity” video. It reminds me of one of those pseudo-inspirational Nike ads. A vague poem is recited over the “Lose Yourself” instrumental track that’s been used in countless commercials. The audio quality is dreadful. People do things like play cello in the middle of a Healy hallway and go running by the monuments—in black and white, of course. The candidates also break into synchronized smiles towards the end in a shot that left me feeling more creeped out than inspired. I don’t know how this video is supposed to evoke the idea of “Dignity,” the ticket’s slogan.
Tim Rosenberger and Reno Varghese’s spot is just a bit better. It actually make it clear that they’re running for GUSA, which is a step up, but the entire thing is one thirty-second shot of the candidates talking about the things they like the most about Georgetown. It’s boring as hell and doesn’t look like something anyone put actual work into.
Abbey McNaughton and Will Simons made a simple video that gets the job done. They actually bring up their campaign focus—namely, amplifying marginalized voices on campus—and tell the viewer a bit about themselves. Their video isn’t without its missteps—all their footage of Georgetown’s campus is sped up to an absurd degree for no good reason—but it’s sincere and demonstrates a refreshing clarity of vision.
The best-produced video has got to be Sara Margolis and Ryan Shymansky’s. The editing is seamless and whoever was behind the camera actually realized that they’re supposed to focus on the candidate’s faces. The writing really makes the two seem appealing—maybe it’s just the fact that they appear to have bubbly personalities, but there’s an element of charm present in the video that’s missing elsewhere. I wish it spent more time highlighting their campaign principles than listing their favorite colors and Wisey’s sandwiches, but it’s an excellent spot.
Judging by the number of YouTube views, though, there’s a clear winner in the this year’s crop of videos: the Connor Rohan/Joe Luther ticket. Their victory is deserved. It’s a biting satire of the ridiculous promises that GUSA candidates make. “We’re going to make Georgetown perfect,” says Rohan. “You’ll never, ever have a problem again.” It’s a spoof, but isn’t it really the same as what every other candidate is saying? No GUSA president is going to accomplish everything they say they will in their campaign video. Luther and Rohan at least seem to realize that more than any other ticket. They are, after all, advocating that Georgetown’s “bone-chilling necropolis” (aka Jesuit cemetery) be replaced with an administrative building.
As a whole, although many of this year’s videos are aesthetically pleasing, most are lacking any form of substantial content.