Bright yellow chalk, catch-phrase T-shirts and campaign cries are three trending topics each April at Ohio State. With Undergraduate Student Government elections taking place Thursday and Friday, candidates are passing out their logos, ideas and aspirations in hope of a vote.
“You only see them for two weeks and then you don’t see them,” said Allison French, a second-year in public affairs and world politics. “You just know it is USG time when there is chalk on the floor and you are handed a T-shirt.”
Only four pairs of candidates are fighting for the votes of more than 42,000 undergraduate students enrolled at OSU’s main campus.
With 7,583 OSU undergraduate votes cast in the 2010 presidential election and 7,588 votes in 2011 presidential election, the candidates said they hope this year has a high voter turn out.
Second-year in Russian and public affairs Taylor Stepp, a presidential candidate running with his vice presidential candidate Kevin Arndt, a third-year in public affairs and political science, said he would like to see at least 8,500 vote in the upcoming election.
“I feel like it starts off whoever knows the most people,” said Ashley Wright, a third-year in sexuality studies. “It’s almost like who can come up with the better slogan and cutest T-shirt.”
This year’s candidates took on slogans based on name play, popular logos and childhood connections.
“I find the slogans humorous and for the most part, catchy. But that shouldn’t be the point,” French said. “I mean, I will take the freebies, but it doesn’t sway my vote.”
Wright said she would be more apt to care if USG had more of a presence on campus, other than two weeks in the spring.
“I think it is important to have USG, but I wish it was actually advertised more so that students were more aware and better informed,” Wright said.
While some students are certain that free items will not alter their vote, others find it to be quite the incentive.
“If I happened to be at the place of voting at the moment it was taking place then I would vote for the person I remembered from that freebie or name on the sidewalk,” said Lauren Marcinek, a third-year in fashion and retail studies. “I don’t know the difference or what they are going to do for the student body, I only know what I see and get.”
Many students agreed that they were not going to go out of their way to learn about the candidates.
“I don’t know what these people look like unless they show up for my class or to an organization that I am in,” Marcinek said. “You have so many other things you have to do on a daily basis, that unless someone is truly interested or have witnessed true effort from those running, they are not going to vote.”
Voters agreed that candidate interest was important.
“It matters as much as the elected students make it matter,” French said.