In my Writing for New Technologies course, Professor Francie Bolter showed us a past campaign slogan from a student at UCA running for SGA. The posters, which were hung on bathroom stall doors, read, “When you’re sitting on the potty, think to vote for Scotty.”
Our class discussed what worked about this slogan and what didn’t. Obviously, many people thought it was crude and not appropriate for someone running for an SGA office. It seemed he wanted more of a laugh rather than to be taken seriously.
SGA just completed its elections for this year’s offices. Many signs were strewn about campus, and ads were flooding our Facebook pages with student politicians vying for our votes. I’ve realized after talking in class and seeing everyone’s campaign slogans, how crucial a campaign slogan can be. Many times, students only hear about a person running for office by a sign hung up with goals listed that are important to him or her. “Yes, We Can” is instantly recognizable as President Barack Obama’s campaign slogan. Junior David Saterfield, who ran for and was elected as executive vice president, played off of this by creating his own slogan: “The Man Who Thinks He Can.” This was an interesting choice because although he aligned himself with the president, his slogan with the word “thinks” also shows doubt in what he can accomplish. Students want someone who “knows.”
Junior Shay Clark kept it simple: “A More Eco Friendly UCA? Shay Clark Senator-at-Large.” It is plain, but at least it emphasizes right away that her goal is to make UCA more eco-friendly. Sophomore Tyler Bittle, running for sophomore class representative, didn’t have a catchy slogan, but had a unique graphic on his posters of the “T” making a shape of a tie, representing his name.
One of the more controversial slogans was senior Amber Kaufman’s, who ran for and won senator-at-large. Her campaign slogan was: “Catch the Pandemic! Cough for Kaufman!” Though I understand the play on words, this seems to be a bad choice, even though she was elected, for Kaufman, who served as a dedicated member of SGA in the spring. This slogan does not highlight what she is capable of accomplishing as a senator-at-large, nor is it appropriate for a time when our campus is plagued with a deadly virus. I’m sure, just as the “Potty-Scotty” slogan did, this garnered some votes and disgusted others. I’m sure those that have caught swine flu didn’t find it humorous.
If I were not aware of the positive strides that Kaufman made serving on SGA in the spring, such as her work for a better recycling program and being one of the key SGA members who organized “Green Week,” I would be disgusted by the slogan. It is extremely important for anyone running for office that they clearly think about the image they want to present of themselves to the public. This could mean the difference in being taken seriously and looking like a fool.
It’s also up to student voters to know who is just trying to get a laugh and who is seriously trying to better our campus. Who would you rather have handling your finances: A funny accountant with little experience or a serious one with a lot of experience? It’s no different with SGA.
My hope is that students will realize when they cast a vote (next semester), they are not supporting someone who will just disappear from their minds like back in high school. When fees are raised, when a popular event is sponsored on campus or even when you find your club in need of extra money for a trip, SGA is most likely there.
Campaign slogans speak volumes and sometimes witty isn’t best – just ask Scotty.