Thursday, October 23, 2008

An Impression of Running for Student Government

Leadership is something that has always been important to me. Running for a student government position in college, however, was something I was skeptical about. In high school, I was part of a small group of students who were leaders in every school function. At American University, I knew that I was surrounded by hundreds or thousands of students that felt my same passion of leadership. I wasn't sure if I would be able to win in such a competitive environment. Although I remained hesitant, my roommate convinced me to attend the Campaign College one Saturday. There, I learned skills that would help me run a campaign and how to create a positive message that would capture the votes of my constituents.

Although I knew running for an elected position would be complicated, I left the Campaign College that afternoon confident that I had a fair chance of winning the election. I decided to run for Vice President of the Class of 2012 and quickly got to work organizing a campaign staff. I enlisted the help of at least one person from each dorm building to help with flyers and circulating my name to the freshman class. I also chose a campaign manager who became my best friend in the two weeks of organizing and implementing our campaign strategy. He helped me refine my message, buy campaigns supplies, and even create a chalking in the quad in the middle of the night. I discovered that I had one strong opponent in the election who had a good amount of name recognition on campus. I responded by getting out and introducing myself to every freshman I met. I went door to door in several halls posting flyers and shaking hands. This tactic proved very effective as I would later run into people who said they had my flyer on their door and wished me luck. Election Day was a high energy and stressful time. Although I was anxious to hear the results, I knew regardless I had put my all into the campaign. Everyone gathered by the student government office as they read the names. When they announced that I won the position of Vice President, I was ecstatic. It was the first highly competitive campaign I ever won. The overall experience was unforgettable and proved to me that getting out and meeting the constituents had a huge impact on the election. People may have known my opponents name, but they knew my face. Although the journey of running for office was hectic and exciting, I know that I have a whole new set of obstacles and events awaiting me as Vice President of the freshman class.

Stephanie Eichmann