On Campaigns and Democracy

I think I have not met a single person on campus that has not an opinion on the past two weeks of campaigns. Be it because Sciences Po does not appear to be effective in keeping us busy or because we are truly Sciences Pistes by now and can’t hold our tongue on any subject, regardless of the fact we don´t know anything about it… here we are, right?

So, as a present member of the BDE, I was pretty involved in the campaigns last year. If somebody is to agree with anything on this article it would be that last year’s campaign was intense. It did not particularly involve blood or any type of violent competition and yet it managed to bring together a campus that had not previously been so. Members of several lists came to actually meet some of those 50 or so people they were able to befriend in the minutes following the General Assembly that launch the campaign, the gap between the cohorts was narrowed, people that were not previously as engaged on campus were given a chance to make up for it… and they definitely took it.

Last year the campaign was not about lists, it was about the campus: if you were not running, you were grabbing free food and thus psychologically pressured into asking questions on programs you did not really care about (but hey, free food right?), and, chances were you would eventually end up learning more about people you had not previously had a chance to meet (because Sciences Po grouping is a thing, deal with it). On a more serious note, people running for election ran fierce campaigns, all while sticking to loyal competition and boosting the campus community spirit. Wherever you looked, our campus was alive: they were so many events that the Sundial TV could not have possibly covered half of them back then… people were dancing Zumba in the old refectory under the watchful eyes of Ignacio de Loyola, while there were Piñatas hung up in the courtyard, as many free cupcakes as you could possibly eat in your life, random people carrying brooms in the need to explain themselves: “ Muggle Quidditch” and people everywhere, as busy as ever!  For God’s sake, one of the list swam in the canal and a person had to eat an entire pot of mayonnaise with her hand!

While these campaigns were indeed not very clean, please note that lists were devoted for this campus and its people. Why were they running? They each had a different project for the campus, they had a vision of what they wanted the next year in this beautiful city to look like, and they were fighting for it. The campus was responsive to the promises that those people embodied, because they were part of all these visions and they wanted to be able to choose the one that suited them the most. Indeed, everyone on campus showed in mass to the events and took pleasure in taking part to this two-week fever.  I have to say that as a member of one of the lists, I enjoyed as well as my fellow team members many sleepless nights. Our effort was worth it but yet, and I think all the lists that run would agree on this, even if we had lost the election, we would have run over and over again. Campaigning is a unique experience and I wouldn’t, even if I could, change those days for anything.

And here, the 2nd years apotheosis campaign experience comes to an end. I hope that this brief yet passionate description of what the true meaning of a campaign is for me would help everyone understand why I am disappointed on what has happened this year. Please, bear with me, since if my true objective was to have started debunking 1AS I could have saved the previous paragraph and just gone with it (Believe me, I could make LinkedIn endorsements at bashing a “thing”).  First of all, there is only one list for each of the Bureaux that really want to take over next year. Let’s start with the fact that it is definitely not their fault that they are running unopposed, it is just sad. Not sad as in some 2AS half heartedly make fun of it: “We wont have as much food!”, since, as the campaigns have shown, this was not a major issue. When I say sad, I mean the feeling you get seeing that nobody, in a Political Science Undergraduate Program feels the need to step in with a new vision for his/her campus or simply feels the thrill to run for a lively campaign: be it because you are too busy (sorry, but apparently we are in the same school, so your too busy right now, is my too busy in two weeks time), because the other list is too strong (is this a serious argument?) If nobody runs out of fear, let Marine Le Pen take over then! – **My most sincere apologies for this far fetched comparison **

Whatever reason anybody could come up with does not take this bittersweet feeling that the lack of competition to organize student life leaves on campus. Why? Because I would not care if there were only one list that would give it all for this campus and everybody believed they had a great platform and faithfully supported their candidature.  Nevertheless, the world has never worked that way and so among the 200 of you, somebody must have some ideas to share! Additionally, even if that was not the case (ha!) the “faithful supporters” part has not turned out that well either. Indeed, if there is a deep regret I have is the fact that this campaign has gone by without many people even noticing. How is this even possible? The answer is as simple as insulting: a big part of this campus has not taken part in most of the events proposed. Why insulting? Because there are people, and here I am talking of those who despite it all are running, that have organized some events that match campaign levels last year, working hard to leave up to the expectations and fight a legitimacy battle that was already lost to them for being the unlucky runners of a one party campaign. This people have seen some of their efforts spent absolutely in vain. Again, this would not be that big of a deal since some people have never been party people, some might have self-esteem problems when it comes to dancing in the courtyard (go see somebody) but here I am talking about assisting to an event in which you are only required to sit, listen and hopefully use your brain to bring some insightful questions. And here is where every plausible excuse you could possibly come up with or buy somewhere does not stand anymore: how can you justify missing an event in which the three almost automatically elected bureaux present their projects for the upcoming year? What if I tell you there were all the worst platforms I have ever heard, and instead of being there to question and find out for yourselves, you are just going to have to bear the three worst Bureaux in the history of this campus and that you might even want to actually not have any Bureaux or be totally run over by the Euro- African program? Please note that thanks to whoever needs to be thanked this is not the case, what did indeed happen was that only 4 people who were not strictly related to the campaign showed up. Excuse my math, for it’s been a while, but 4 out of 200 + students makes “sad” an understatement.

 

So, there goes the expected clash of the elections that could come from my persona. I just want to conclude with contrasting feelings: I am really happy. Happy, because I have seen the Campus À Reims in its splendor. Happy, because I have enjoyed myself as much as I have worked hard.  Happy, since I have met truly genuine, motivated and engaged people, which made worthwhile every effort this year’s BDE put into organizing Student life. And happy, because I would definitely not know how to fulfill the same role next year, I guess it is what they call “fear of the unknown” (sorry Urkund, I will not be Googling that). That say, good luck to whoever gets elected today and please, to everybody on campus: prove me wrong and go vote. We are in the end at Sciences Po, so let’s put up a decent turnout.

On campaigns and democracy

 

I think I have not met a single person on campus that has not an opinion on the past two weeks of campaigns. Be it because Sciences Po does not appear to be effective in keeping us busy or because we are truly Sciences Pistes by now and can’t hold our tongue on any subject, regardless of the fact we don´t know anything about it… here we are, right?

So, as a present member of the BDE, I was pretty involved in the campaigns last year. If somebody is to agree with anything on this article it would be that last year’s campaign was intense. It did not particularly involve blood or any type of violent competition and yet it managed to bring together a campus that had not previously been so. Members of several lists came to actually meet some of those 50 or so people they were able to befriend in the minutes following the General Assembly that launch the campaign, the gap between the cohorts was narrowed, people that were not previously as engaged on campus were given a chance to make up for it… and they definitely took it.

Last year the campaign was not about lists, it was about the campus: if you were not running, you were grabbing free food and thus psychologically pressured into asking questions on programs you did not really care about (but hey, free food right?), and, chances were you would eventually end up learning more about people you had not previously had a chance to meet (because Sciences Po grouping is a thing, deal with it). On a more serious note, people running for election ran fierce campaigns, all while sticking to loyal competition and boosting the campus community spirit. Wherever you looked, our campus was alive: they were so many events that the Sundial TV could not have possibly covered half of them back then… people were dancing Zumba in the old refectory under the watchful eyes of Ignacio de Loyola, while there were Piñatas hung up in the courtyard, as many free cupcakes as you could possibly eat in your life, random people carrying brooms in the need to explain themselves: “ Muggle Quidditch” and people everywhere, as busy as ever!  For God’s sake, one of the list swam in the canal and a person had to eat an entire pot of mayonnaise with her hand!

While these campaigns were indeed not very clean, please note that lists were devoted for this campus and its people. Why were they running? They each had a different project for the campus, they had a vision of what they wanted the next year in this beautiful city to look like, and they were fighting for it. The campus was responsive to the promises that those people embodied, because they were part of all these visions and they wanted to be able to choose the one that suited them the most. Indeed, everyone on campus showed in mass to the events and took pleasure in taking part to this two-week fever.  I have to say that as a member of one of the lists, I enjoyed as well as my fellow team members many sleepless nights. Our effort was worth it but yet, and I think all the lists that run would agree on this, even if we had lost the election, we would have run over and over again. Campaigning is a unique experience and I wouldn’t, even if I could, change those days for anything.

And here, the 2nd years apotheosis campaign experience comes to an end. I hope that this brief yet passionate description of what the true meaning of a campaign is for me would help everyone understand why I am disappointed on what has happened this year. Please, bear with me, since if my true objective was to have started debunking 1AS I could have saved the previous paragraph and just gone with it (Believe me, I could make LinkedIn endorsements at bashing a “thing”).  First of all, there is only one list for each of the Bureaux that really want to take over next year. Let’s start with the fact that it is definitely not their fault that they are running unopposed, it is just sad. Not sad as in some 2AS half heartedly make fun of it: “We wont have as much food!”, since, as the campaigns have shown, this was not a major issue. When I say sad, I mean the feeling you get seeing that nobody, in a Political Science Undergraduate Program feels the need to step in with a new vision for his/her campus or simply feels the thrill to run for a lively campaign: be it because you are too busy (sorry, but apparently we are in the same school, so your too busy right now, is my too busy in two weeks time), because the other list is too strong (is this a serious argument?) If nobody runs out of fear, let Marine Le Pen take over then! – **My most sincere apologies for this far fetched comparison **

Whatever reason anybody could come up with does not take this bittersweet feeling that the lack of competition to organize student life leaves on campus. Why? Because I would not care if there were only one list that would give it all for this campus and everybody believed they had a great platform and faithfully supported their candidature.  Nevertheless, the world has never worked that way and so among the 200 of you, somebody must have some ideas to share! Additionally, even if that was not the case (ha!) the “faithful supporters” part has not turned out that well either. Indeed, if there is a deep regret I have is the fact that this campaign has gone by without many people even noticing. How is this even possible? The answer is as simple as insulting: a big part of this campus has not taken part in most of the events proposed. Why insulting? Because there are people, and here I am talking of those who despite it all are running, that have organized some events that match campaign levels last year, working hard to leave up to the expectations and fight a legitimacy battle that was already lost to them for being the unlucky runners of a one party campaign. This people have seen some of their efforts spent absolutely in vain. Again, this would not be that big of a deal since some people have never been party people, some might have self-esteem problems when it comes to dancing in the courtyard (go see somebody) but here I am talking about assisting to an event in which you are only required to sit, listen and hopefully use your brain to bring some insightful questions. And here is where every plausible excuse you could possibly come up with or buy somewhere does not stand anymore: how can you justify missing an event in which the three almost automatically elected bureaux present their projects for the upcoming year? What if I tell you there were all the worst platforms I have ever heard, and instead of being there to question and find out for yourselves, you are just going to have to bear the three worst Bureaux in the history of this campus and that you might even want to actually not have any Bureaux or be totally run over by the Euro- African program? Please note that thanks to whoever needs to be thanked this is not the case, what did indeed happen was that only 4 people who were not strictly related to the campaign showed up. Excuse my math, for it’s been a while, but 4 out of 200 + students makes “sad” an understatement.

 

So, there goes the expected clash of the elections that could come from my persona. I just want to conclude with contrasting feelings: I am really happy. Happy, because I have seen the Campus À Reims in its splendor. Happy, because I have enjoyed myself as much as I have worked hard.  Happy, since I have met truly genuine, motivated and engaged people, which made worthwhile every effort this year’s BDE put into organizing Student life. And happy, because I would definitely not know how to fulfill the same role next year, I guess it is what they call “fear of the unknown” (sorry Urkund, I will not be Googling that). That say, good luck to whoever gets elected today and please, to everybody on campus: prove me wrong and go vote. We are in the end at Sciences Po, so let’s put up a decent turnout.

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