Once upon a few weeks ago, all I talked about was campaigning. I felt like a big wig — talking strategies, planning incessantly, researching, forgetting to eat. This was only for a Students’ Union election, yet the campaign consumed my life.
I thought of little else — schoolwork was abandoned or thrown together last minute, spewed out in haste by my distracted mind. When I went out campaigning, some students were rude, but many more were surprisingly kind. I felt a need to be perfect on the campaign trail, to accurately represent the KirKal symbol slathered on top of my imperfect self and my social media attempts to seem anything but.
Now that the campaign is over I have a new respect for politicians. They’re slimy more often than not but they also manage to smile through a tiring lifestyle. I was one of the lucky ones during the campaign, who escaped with a position to show for my work, but I know that many people wanted to win just as much as I did, and many deserved it as much.
I’ll bet that these people will continue to work on their various endeavours to enrich the University of Calgary’s community. And they’ll do so without a monthly honourarium or a blue SU hoodie.
Hopefully everyone receives recognition for their contributions in one way or another, but perhaps some won’t. That was the sad part at the end of the campaign — seeing talented individuals miss out on an opportunity to have the SU’s resources at their disposal.
The fear of missing that opportunity never left my mind during the campaign. I nearly succumbed to this fear and might have given up completely were it not for my slate partner Kirsty McGowan, who reminded me on one particularly bad day of canvassing that I would regret giving up.
One does not simply run for the Students’ Union on a whim. You must want to win a great deal to justify the work involved in a campaign. Hopefully you want to win for the right reasons, to effect what change you can in a limited term.
I can only speak for myself, but I know that a blue sweater alone isn’t enough of an incentive to devote so much time to something. I can also tell you that after seeing what people go through during the campaign, many candidates feel the same way.
The SU campaign publicly displays jobs that mostly happen in committees behind office doors. “So what do you do as an arts representative?” has been asked of me many times.
Honestly, being an arts rep will probably be like the campaign itself. I may think I know what I’m getting myself into but there will be surprises, although I’m sure I will have a support system around me. Nor do I intend to wear my blue hoodie as a mere victory badge, the campaign was too much work to treat it that way.