How do the candidates campaign?

Colours, marketing and strong teams are a few ways presidential candidates approach elections

Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

A campaign trail is only as effective as the support and effort put forth by a campaign team. With just over a week left of campaigning, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union presidential campaigns have taken over campus with red, purple and green. It is visually evident that each presidential candidate chose unique ways to stand out through their marketing and branding.

Frank Cirinna chose red as it suits his interest in Mad Men and that era of fashion, Olivia Matthews chose purple to center her campaign on student life at Laurier, while Dave Patterson picked green as it appealed to his campaign’s designs.

Each presidential hopeful has taken advantage of their engagement opportunities, using sticky notes, white boards or cut outs to take photos with students.

Aside from visual branding, all candidates agreed the best way to stand out is to stay focused on their own platform and to invest in individual student relationships.

“This is going to sound super cheesy, but I’m being Frank and I don’t mean that in the term … what I mean is I’m just being myself. I think students react a lot better to honesty and personal connection,” said Cirinna.

Matthews echoed similar sentiments.

“Honestly just remaining genuine,” she said. “The platform’s realistic, but our approach to students is also realistic … I want this position to be very professional, but still very student-to-student.”

Patterson said his campaign is focusing on being relatable.

“We’re trying to show students that it’s important to have a Students’ Union president who they can relate to, and feel comfortable having that person represent the student body as a whole,” he said.

The strategy of standing out for all three candidates derives from one focal point: to find a connection with students through honesty and sincerity.

In terms of the logistics regarding their teams, while all candidates have varying positions in charge of certain aspects of the campaign, the structure of their team is based on the amount of time each volunteer can give per week.

“A boss tells, a leader asks … and that’s the approach I’ve kind of been going on … if they want to do more, it’s whatever they’re comfortable with,” said Cirinna.

As for recruitment, the mix of each campaign team is different for all candidates. Patterson began to recruit in December starting with his internal team. He said he started with trustworthy people he worked closely with in the past. As a result, he had pre-existing relationships with most people on his team.

Cirinna said he started by recruiting during the fall reading week, asking what people could contribute to the team and slowly building his internal team and other positions. Matthews said she also recruited in the fall term by individually sitting down with her volunteers and asking for their input on her platform.

For both Cirinna and Matthews, their teams are a mix of friends and volunteers they’ve come to know during the campaign. All candidates tried to recruit different types of people who belong to different parts of campus, such as Residence Life, Orientation Week, athletics and different faculties.

“I expanded a little bit more into different areas of involvement, making sure I had people from different areas who brought in interesting perspectives to the team so that I was able to develop a thorough understanding of how best to campaign all areas of campus,” said Patterson.

“Personally, I’m trying to make sure that my campaign is all about boosting my own platform as opposed to tearing down the others.”

Matthews said she recruited a campaign team at the Brantford campus as well.

“I think one thing that we’re doing a little bit differently, is we have a campaign team in Brantford for specifically the Brantford students, which I haven’t seen happen in past elections,” she said. “Because we find that Brantford is often neglected, and we love that campus … so I’m happy they’re a part of it this year.”

Campaigning on both campuses will continue until Feb. 4 at 7:30 a.m., a half hour before the voting period begins.


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