Congress elections kick off via Facebook

Facebook groups, t-shirts and speeches; this is the face of the Oakland University Student Congress elections campaign.

Last week marked the start of the unofficial campaigning by students hoping to be in the running for officer positions.

Although official campaigning does not begin until March, that has not stopped students from creating Facebook groups to promote runners for president and vice president positions.

Groups have been created by current OUSC members and students who who are not members wishing to run.

“I think it’s great that people get their friends to join these groups,” OUSC elections commissioner Bill Hamilton said. “It allows everyone to get more involved.”

Hamilton said that people get so involved in the Facebook aspect of the campaign, that people will leave one group and join others once they learn more about the candidates.

According to Hamilton, the unofficial campaigning is completely legitimate.

On Jan. 25, OUSC pass amendments to how elections are run after student activities funding board chair Mark Medaugh pointed out flaws in the election process.

Campaigns may now begin as early as the beginning of the fall semester.

Even though students can campaign on Facebook, he will not know the actual candidates until the election packets are filled out and all of the forms are turned in.

Visible tickets for president and vice president so far are OUSC legislators Cameron Schea and Mike Diedrich, OUSC financial affairs director Brandon Gustafson and legislative affairs director Amy Ring, and students Laura DeSanto and John Trenchard.

Student body vice president Saman Waquad has also stated that she is entertaining the thought of running for executive office again.

Along with Facebook, OUSC is trying to find other ways to encourage OU students to participate and vote in the upcoming elections.

Hamilton said the organization will try to send an e-mail through students’ OU accounts reminding them to vote.

The whole election process has taken a virtual shift.

Even the election packets are now offered on CDs to save paper.

Campaigning is the key factor when it comes to the success of candidates.

Whether a student has been part of OUSC or is newly running, each has an equal chance at winning.

“A lot of times, the people elected are OUSC members,” Hamilton said. “They meet a lot of proactive people through the congress and therefore their voting body is bigger.”

However, Hamilton also said that OUSC non-members have been elected in the past.

It all comes down to the methods of campaigning each group chooses to use.

Once the campaigning is over, there will be three days of voting.

Those days will then be followed by a silent day.

That day is a time where a validations committee will determine if the campaigning was fair by all of the candidates.

Declaration of candidacy forms are due March 1, followed by one mandatory orientation that must be attended by the candidates.

This is the first year the elections committee chair has imposed a set deadline on candidacy declaration.

There is an official meet and greet session of the candidates in the Fireside Lounge March 8.

For now, students wishing to keep up with the campaigns can look to Facebook for information about potential candidates.

Students are encouraged by Hamilton to be involved with the election.

Election packets can be picked up in the OUSC office at 62 Oakland Center.