In May, the elections for the next Student Council will start. While the voters only see the campaigns, the candidates have been preparing for this moment since the beginning of 2020. One of the candidates, Artem, took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about what it’s like to be running in the elections and shared some of his secrets to a successful campaign.
How long have you been preparing for the campaigning for the FSR?
‘’In February I began planning for my campaign, which is as long as 3 months before the voting period. Starting with formulating my main standpoints and laying out the plans for the upcoming elections. In order to get votes, a campaign needs to be timely and well-planned. It really takes time to make a comprehensive and effective campaign, so my best advice is to start as early as possible!’’
What needs to be organised for campaigning?
‘’First of all, you’ll need to prepare an elevator pitch, which is very useful for successful face-to-face campaigning. You’ll also need various forms of promotional material, such as banners or social media posts, and most importantly, you need to be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. The ability to come up with creative solutions on the spot, strong debating skills, and problem-solving mentality are your good companions, which will help to get on the winning streak.’’
Who organises the campaigning process and the campaigns?
‘’The current student councils hold shared responsibility for the campaigning process together with UvA’s voting bureau. The forms and strategies of specific campaigns are solely dependent on the student parties, as well as individuals representing those parties. This means that the faith of your personal campaign is in your own hands. Make sure to take it seriously.’’
How can you become a member of the FSR?
‘’Before participating in the elections, you’ll need to check for the list of parties running for the FSR-FMG and decide which you want to join. After applying, the HR task force will interview you and put you on the party list. Your position on the list will have a direct effect on your chances to get to the FSR-FMG, so make sure to master interview skills as well. Finally, you will need to get as many votes as possible during the election period, that will secure yourself a place in the council.’’
Could you explain, if there are any, techniques for campaigning for the FSR that are related to Political Communication?
‘’Even though Political Communication theories are usually based on greater political developments than student council elections, you can definitely pinpoint some effective techniques and benefit from the area-specific insights. To name one, personalization is quite effective while campaigning online. By revealing your personality on social media, you can emotionally attract more peers and maybe even influencing their following voting decisions.
You can definitely pinpoint effective political communication techniques and benefit from the insights
Furthermore, while shaping your persuasion-oriented messages, try to think of emotions that you’re evoking within the electorate. Are these the ones you want to evoke? Emotions are a powerful tool that can help you win the elections. However, if misused or applied incorrectly, emotions can ruin your whole campaign. Emotions can however, when misused or not applied correctly, ruin your whole campaign.
To sum up, always be aware of the impact your campaign can have, and remember that a council member is there to improve our institution and the lives of our peers and friends, rather than our own.’’
Cover: Jade van Laar, uva.nl