Though the sun had barely risen, dozens of 2015 GW Student Association candidates and members of their campaign staff lined up at the gates of Kogan Plaza on Monday. Armed with coffee, tape and plenty of posters, the anxious group of students counted down to the annual rush of Poster Day and the official start of the SA campaign season.
At 7 a.m., a horn sounded, and the candidates sprinted toward the Marvin Center and the Academic Center—two of the most popular advertising spots—to compete for prime space to display their election campaign posters.
Students swarmed the Marvin Center H Street and basement entrances first. Within fifteen minutes, posters covered almost all open wall space. The Rome Hall stairwell quickly filled up with the candidates’ colorful advertisements as well, with some candidates even leaning over the Phillips Hall upper level walkway to claim advertising space for themselves.
An essential part of the SA campaign process, many candidates devised a Poster Day plan.
“Run fast and tape quick,” said Undergraduate Senator at Large candidate Alec M. DiFruscia of his strategy for hanging up posters. “Marvin, U Yard and the Academic Building are my three main targets.”
School of Business Undergraduate Senator candidate Alyssa Weakley had similar ideas.
“We’re trying to hit up Marvin first, then probably University Yard and the Academic Center,” Weakley said. “I have two friends who were really nice for getting up this morning.”
Joong Hyup Lee, undergraduate senator-at-large candidate, took a different Poster Day approach.
“I want my posters to be between Rome and Phillips, because that’s where everyone walks by,” he said. “This is my first time running, so I don’t really have any strategy. I’m just happy to be part of this.”
Meanwhile, the event on the Mount Vernon Campus was a much calmer scene. About ten to fifteen people, mostly representatives of candidates as there was only one candidate actually in attendance, Elliott School of International Affairs Undergraduate Senator candidate Parth Taparia, quietly hung up posters while occasionally asking each other to borrow tape.
Celeste Aguzino, working for the Andie Dowd campaign for SA President, said, “there’s more people than I expected here.”
Another volunteer, Anthony Livshen from the Benjamin Pryde presidential campaign, noted that “everyone is supposed to gather around the fountain and there’s supposed to be an official who says ‘go’,” but when there was no official to be found, the students performed their own start at the strike of 7 a.m.
Another aspect of the Mount Vernon version of the postering event was the location of the posters. Although the rules were the same, as Livshen noted, “[the rules are] very nit picky,” there was only one area to be fought over, the front of Ames Hall.
“It is pretty straightforward,” Aguzino said. “You have one big canvas.”
“The Vern” campus offers a challenge to candidates’ poster strategies. Since each campaign is only permitted to print a certain number of posters, they must determine how many should be placed on each campus. Each SA Presidential candidate can print 75 posters.
The Pryde campaign “invested a lot on the Vern” according to Livshen, however this choice was in the minority. Out of over 50 candidates, only about 10 placed posters on the Vern during Poster Day. All three SA Presidential candidates were represented, which are Dowd, Pryde and Alex Cho.
At a highly social-media oriented institution, evidenced by the introduction of a GW geotag on Snapchat on Monday, getting a candidate’s name out there is taking new forms.
Social media isn’t the only distinction of this year’s campaign compared to others. Aguzino believes that student safety in general is more of a focus this year. Specifically, “Sexual assault prevention is just becoming more of a salient issue for GW students…that’s something really all three candidates see as important, and it’s really a matter of ‘OK, we all agree that it’s important, how do we implement that differently?” Aguzino said.
The Joint Elections Committee Presidential/Executive Vice Presidential Debate is on March 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Jack Morton Auditorium.
Students can vote online March 25-26.