This is a guest contribution by Katherine Halek of Easy Banners
You’ve heard the adage, and it’s true, that the most valuable college experiences occur outside the classroom. Employers, scholarships and graduate programs will all expect to see involvement outside of the classroom. Student Government is the most impactful way to become involved on campus, because you are put in a position to make decisions about your university. However, while most clubs will allow you to walk in and sign up, student governments will require you to pull out the signs and banners and campaign a little if you want to be involved. Here’s how you can make your campaign for student government a success.
Show That Your Opponent is the Wrong Choice
It’s very important that you are as effective as possible in communicating to other students where you stand. However, studies have shown that people are even more likely to vote when there is a candidate they dislike. Especially in a school setting it is inappropriate to run a dirty, hateful campaign. However there is a fine line between mud-slinging and bringing to light legitimate differences between other candidates and yourself. In order to win, learn how to tread this line.
Campaign Differently From Your Opponents
On a crowded bulletin board filled with papers that have some variation of “Last Name for Student Government” printed across them, your name is less likely to stand out. The challenge to overcome is finding a way that you can differentiate yourself. In an ideal world you would get a whole billboard, but of course most students are on a budget and many schools set campaign spending limits. However, you can still take this “think big” mentality into all of your campaign materials. If your opponents are campaigning with 8” x 5” paper signs then consider investing in a yard sign or a banner!
If budgetary concerns are really an issue you can focus on the design. Uniquely funny or aesthetically pleasing designs will have an understandable advantage over those that are less thought out. Consider the following: does my name lend itself to a funny slogan? Can I consider the location where my signs will be posted in my designs?
Embrace Every Voter
The temptation will be to rely on your campaign materials and big events like debates or speeches to broadcast yourself. It is much more tiresome to pitch yourself person to person. However, this is something you must embrace if you hope to be elected. Running for office places you in a position where everyone you come into contact with will be forming an opinion about you. In situations where you are being judged it is important to be aware of what psychologists refer to as the Fundamental Attribution Error. The concept is that people are more likely to blame your perceived faults on a character flaw rather than external circumstances. Therefore, passersby will notice the first time you brush off one of your peers because you are too tired and are likely to credit you with a grumpy disposition.
Ultimately, winning your election will boil down to two things. First, motivating students to make it to the polls – highlighting the dangers of your opponents can do that. Second, you need votes! Making your name stand out with unique banners, designs, and campaign tactics can ensure you the votes you need to win.
Katherine Halek is a Marketing Associate at Easybanners.com, a leader in online printing. Easy Banners offers high quality, custom banners for individuals to promote their campaign, business, or event. Connect with her on Google+.