My Very First Poster Night Experience
During last year’s Concordia Student Union elections I was (bows head in shame) your standard politically apathetic and totally uninvolved student. The smiling faces of candidates on the walls meant absolutely nothing to me, nor did their campaign promises. As far as I was concerned the CSU, ASFA and all the rest were just extremely annoying acronyms that had nothing to do with my life.
During the past year, I have started reading, learning and writing about student politics. I now would say that I have a pretty good idea about what is happening at Concordia. Now that I’m “informed” all I can really think to say is: holy fuck.
The scandals, corruption and craziness have been both exciting and enlightening, but for me, the insanity all came together at midnight on the 14th of March.
I experienced my first ever poster night and it blew my mind.
Poster night is the first time politicians are allowed to officially campaign for the upcoming election.
I witnessed student politicos stampede through every single floor of the Hall building, screaming, shoving and stapling posters like absolute barbarians. Clad in war paint, hula skirts, team t-shirts and armed with kazoos, the students on both teams looked as though they were taking part in some sort of extreme Easter egg hunt.
I stood in bewilderment asking myself, was this for real? And the answer unfortunately is yes, yes it was.
I guess you could say it was heart-warming, in the sense that it became clear that even the most high-achieving and stone-faced student politicians clearly still know how to release their inner five-year-old.
But it was also disturbing to watch the sheer ferociousness with which these full-grown adults—that will potentially represent me—hauled-ass just to put another copy of their face on the wall.
But, now that the affair has come and gone, I must admit that—well, I get it.
The whole thing makes sense. The reality is that there are a very large number of students at Concordia that have absolutely no idea what the CSU is, or does. Transparency is a nice offer—but it really doesn’t mean much to a student who has never listened to a word you’ve said.
The student centre? Oh, like those posters from earlier this year—yeah, er, what happened to that? Financial accountability? I think that a lot of students don’t even realize that they are actually paying dues to the union, and that they money in question is actually some of their own—its not like they would go to school parties or anything.
It’s embarrassing, but if you asked me what I wanted from my CSU last year, I would have had no idea what to say. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was or am the only one.
This complete and utter disconnect from student politics and their inner workings is exactly why poster night matters. During election campaigns students are bombarded with encouragement to get involved and to do so by voting.
Some students really do want to be involved once election time rolls around—but the intention is useless if they have no idea what is going on. So they go for the quick fix. Pick the prettiest poster and the most appealing words. Boom: guilt gone, instant involvement.
Student politicos know this, they aren’t dumb. So, the obvious result is a fierce competition to put as many copies of the most appealing poster in as many places as possible—hence, poster night.
If students were involved and aware of what was going on in our school, then the posters would lose much of their value. Maybe then the politicos wouldn’t have to act like total buffoons, beating each other to cover the walls in an attempt to kick-off their campaign.
I know it takes a lot to get students to care, but—quite frankly, I feel bad for these guys. So, students should cut them some slack and learn a little bit about what’s happening around them—that way our student politicians can spend less time making themselves and their promises look pretty—maybe they might even be able to help you out.
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