Video Breakdown Action & Your Concordia Promotional Play-by-Play

The CSU election process is relentless. Until the 31st of March rolls around and election results are counted, contested, complained about, and conceded to, we are all going to be inundated with campaign materials.

Posters for the two slates are up, Facebook is drowning in status updates about candidates, and perhaps the flashiest efforts of all, the campaign videos, are now in circulation. And you know what? I graduate this semester.

I am taking six classes. I am bound up by commitments I made at an earlier point that keep me from absorbing all of this election information. I am just too fucking busy to take the time out to think through everything that Your Concordia and Action are promising.

But those videos! I am at my computer all the time these days. If I can’t peruse every campaign website, review every platform, or speak with the candidates themselves, I can give up 10 minutes of my time to let their videos speak to me. Isn’t this why the slates made videos in the first place?

These YouTube gems stand in for more in-depth research.

They are the quick-fix way to communicate campaign promises, sort of like campaign cheat sheets, giving us viewers a few important bits of information so that when (if?) we choose to vote in the CSU elections, at the very least, we are capable of differentiating between the slates on our ballot.

These videos might be the only first impression Your Concordia and Action get to make to the larger student population. So what do these videos tell us about the potential future of Concordia and its student governance? Here is what I took away:

Action: voteforaction.ca

Action is smart! Action is diverse! No, Action is fun (but responsible)! Action stands out! Action is hot! Action really loves Duck Sauce!

The two minutes and thirteen seconds of the Action campaign video are all flash. These are candidates that want to make sure we know exactly how much fun they are. This is high gloss, low content. I’ve seen the outside of Loyola.

I’ve lost myself to the throbbing bass beat of “Barbara Streisand” somewhere between The Hive and Le Gym (not actually), I’ve been a part of amped up video montages featuring boisterous laughter and uncontrollable street dancing hijinx.

I, too, have driven down Saint Catherine late at night, intoxicated by the glow of shop lights.

Watching the Action video, I am reminded that my time at Concordia has been one, long, indistinguishable string of black-out parties. Library building? Never heard of it.

To be fair, I got in contact with Action to ask why the video was structured and edited to feature little more than repeated candidate cameos (laughing and hugging and just having SO MUCH FUN, of course) with the occasional nipple twist and shout-out from Mr. Boustan.

The answer was simple: Concordia is a creative school with a huge investment in student life.

But student life, Action, has demanded a lot more from me than an ability to sing the chorus of this year’s biggest dance music earworm. I don’t get the chance to go to all of these student (funded) parties, because I have a full course load, and I work, and I’ve been applying to graduate school, and I give my time to my own department and its students.

Beyond that, I pay out of province tuition, from which the CSU, this year alone, got about $60 worth of funding.

My issue, Action, is that your video makes it seems like my $60 went toward somebody else’s Jagerbomb and while I am all for students being able to party and relax and live a little outside of the library, I could have used that money for a texbook, or you know, groceries.

If the only information I had about Action going into the CSU elections was garnered from the campaign video, I’d probably ruin my ballot by drunkenly scrawling “woowoowoowoowoowoowoowoowoowoowoo!” at the top.

Your Concordia: yourconcordia.ca

Two videos from Your Concordia. The first attempts to answer “What is the CSU?”, the second communicates the slate’s platform by speaking about what Your Concordia candidates want for the school.

Here I get some answers; if I wanted content, Your Concordia is giving it to me. Aren’t sure what the CSU actually does for us as students? Aren’t sure who gets what kind of power and privilege to make decisions about where our fee levies and tuition are spent? Want to know why you should even be concerned about Concordia’s BoG? Aren’t sure what the BoG is?

There is a lot to take in, especially if you aren’t familiar with the way student government operates at Concordia.

But, like I said, if I am giving up significant amounts of my money to support school initiatives and student life, then I want to at least understand who I am handing it over to.

This is a different approach, but it is a valuable tool for the election process.

If I only had the Your Concordia CSU video to base my voting decision on, I certainly wouldn’t know who to vote for, but at least I would have some modicum of an idea about what was at stake.

(I actually wonder if Action thanked Your Concordia for taking the time to create and post this video? Your Concordia is telling students why the CSU elections matter in the first place, and in doing so are validating the work that Action is doing, too. Action, want to say thank you?)

The Your Concordia campaign video gets it. Don’t want to spend hours reading through a campaign website? Take two minutes and just listen to the video, you don’t even really need to watch it to grasp the point.

Your Concordia chose not to feature its candidates, which is an interesting move considering how important a recognizable image and name can be given student-voter apathy. But maybe this is deliberate? Maybe Your Concordia isn’t standing on the image of its candidates? Maybe (gasp!) Your Concordia is actually making its platform the most visible part of its campaign?

What we get is a substantial montage of Concordia spaces and again, a lot of information. This video is harder to critique because it works to put the issues, and the proposed solutions, on the table.

If I had to give up my $60 to Your Concordia, the video’s keywords suggest my money would be going to: students, student groups, student spaces, community engagement, community-based problem solving, being represented, resources. These are all great political buzzwords, especially in a student election, but at least Your Concordia is working to communicate its plans.

If Action is going to take me out, get me drunk, and dance on some tables with me, Your Concordia is going to be there at the end of the night to hold my hair back, drive me home, and make sure I get something for my headache in the morning.

Ultimately, we’re all students and we all have a lot to deal with, especially at the end of semester. If you can’t take the time to find out what each of these candidates, or each of these slates is really invested in doing for Concordia, then take ten minutes and watch the videos.

Campaigns are by definition dedicated to making everyone look their best. It’s up to you to be critical and to really evaluate what the content is aiming to say about the candidates, the slates, and their intentions for Concordia. We are all giving up a lot more than $1.85 per credit in two weeks. We are handing over the keys to our school experience with CSU elections.

Vote, but take ten minutes to figure out what you want next year. Start with these videos and remember that I warned you about Duck Sauce.

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