By Jason McGrath

At 12:01 a.m. Monday morning, Georgetown University transformed itself from a sleepy campus, still getting over the shock of post-Spring Break classes, into the setting for a political tidal wave. The change was instant and dramatic. As I sat in my friend’s lounge watching Whoopi Goldberg chip away at her dignity, I could see the candidates’ troops storming the hallways like Tom Hanks on D-Day. No clock was needed to let me know that campaign week had begun.

By 12:05, the hallway in Village C was plastered with color-coded posters and fliers announcing the candidates’ names. One ticket had the excellent idea of putting phone numbers of take-out places, along with their slogan, on freshmen doors. Any hopeful office holder who can associate himself with pizza and cheesesteaks already earns himself a place in my heart. And so the prostitution had begun.

Maybe I should say who I am, so my viewpoint can be appreciated. I am the undecided freshman. I really don’t know too much about GUSA, except that they’re responsible for bringing student artwork to the Leavey Center. They’ve gotten more press for all the things they don’t and can’t do instead of what they have done. Except for the press they’ve gotten for student artwork in the Leavey Center. That was big.

Anyway, you can count me among the 25 percent of the campus who bothers to vote in elections. Actually, I was even among the 6.66 percent who voted in the SLRG elections. I don’t know what SLRG is, what they plan to do for the students here or, for that matter, who most of the candidates were. I just figured that, if people took the time to make colorful posters and saturate the campus with them, then the cause must be worthy. In that spirit, I voted for whoever had the prettiest posters, figuring they wanted the job the most.

On my way to the ICC Monday morning, I witnessed firsthand the destruction. The candidates’ respective armies had run through campus, scorched earth style, leaving no lamppost, wall, bench or elevator unadorned. It was a job well done – there was no place one could turn without seeing a hopeful president’s name and generic sound bite. Vote for yellow! Vote for orange! It was sensory overload … I had nowhere to escape. In my classroom I was told to “Think Different” (by the way, isn’t there some sort of copyright on that?). In my room, postcards and brochures awaited me with new and exciting slogans. “Vision and Action,” “Work, Not Words.” Not since “Building a bridge to the 21st century” have I seen words that encompassed everything and absolutely nothing at the same time.

Still, I knew nothing about the candidates, save their favorite color. In past elections, not knowing the people running or their positions, most people seemed to vote according to who had the best poster or the coolest name. It wasn’t a popularity contest, like it was in high school, but rather a creativity contest. Creativity on the part of the candidates, who produced the exciting eye candy and creativity on the part of their parents, who gave them names much cooler than mine.

But wait … this time is different! Not only do the candidates have exciting posters and banners, but they have platforms and ideas too! This is both good and bad, I believe. Good, because it shows that eight people are actually serious about providing quality services for the student population. Bad, because it means that I might have to actually sit down and make an educated choice about whom to vote for.

The ideas are good, too … better e-mail, expanded student centers, more ATMs. My problem, however, lies in that fact that I’m sure the same types of promises were made last year and the year before. The rather pathetic accomplishments of GUSA recently are not a factor of poor leadership, I realize. It just doesn’t seem possible to accomplish these great plans when the administration treats us like an unwanted stepchild. “You can have what you want if or when we feel like giving it to you.”

Seeing that blue is my favorite color, and none of the candidates chose that as their campaign color, I really don’t know who to vote for. Convinced that it will take the consolidated effort of all 6,000 undergrads to make any significant change, I think I’ll vote for the candidate who takes him or herself the least seriously. I’ll vote for the candidate who can chug a two-liter bottle of Surge the fastest, or the one who can produce the hands of the Healy clock. I’ll definitely vote for anyone who publishes a complete list of the Secret Society of Stewards. Why stop at student artwork in the Leavey Center? Promise student artwork everywhere! You CAN make a difference. Remember, candidates, I’m the undecided freshman. Entertain me.

Jason McGrath is a freshman in the School of Foreign Service.

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