12pm on Thursday 9 March marked the official commencement of the 2017 Edinburgh University Students’ Association campaign season with ‘poster day’, as candidates were busy about campus hanging up their campaign posters.
With restrictions placed on where candidates are able to hang posters, the reserved spots, including outside of the library and Bristo square, were occupied by candidates, their campaign teams and friends as they filled any empty wall space with their faces and slogans. A greater physical presence often leads to more votes, so candidates rushed to land the prime spots.
Social media campaigns were simultaneously launched at 12pm. Over the coming days, statuses calling for campaign support coupled with campaign Facebook photos will undoubtedly pervade Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The candidates have just one week to campaign, and polls close at 5pm on Thursday 16 March. The results will be revealed the following evening in Teviot Debating Hall.
The Student spoke to several candidates and campaign teams amid the ‘poster day’ flurry about the principal points of their manifestos and what they’re most looking forward to during the course of campaigning.
Patrick Kilduff, running for President, was putting up posters outside Teviot alongside his campaign team. He told The Student that his campaign aspirations were “making the university more accessible” alongside “improving the services students get across all campus”. When asked about his election strategy, Kilduff said he hoped to spread the word through “a Snapchat filter, beautiful campaign posters, very green T-shirts and, most importantly, happy people”.
This is the first election season to incorporate the new roles: Vice President Education, Vice President Community, Vice President Activities & Services and Vice President Welfare. Esther Dominy, running for Vice President Welfare, was busy putting up her posters outside the library. Imogen Wilson, part of Dominy’s campaign team, told The Student that that Dominy is focused on “changing the university’s approach to mental health: spacing out deadlines and improving access to counselling.” Wilson highlighted the work Dominy had already undertaken for student welfare, stating that Dominy has “been part of a campaign that raised £140,000 for the counselling service.”
We also spoke to the campaign team for Oliver Glick, running for the new sabbatical position Vice President Community. They told us of Glick’s involvement in organisations such as Sexpression and the Shrub and his hopes to reach beyond central campus with his campaign.
“The campaigning will be focused on targeting satellite campuses, beyond just George Square and King’s Buildings, to bring the university together and strengthen the community.”
Eve Thomas-Davies, candidate for Vice President Activities & Services, was also putting up her campaign posters in Bristo Square. She told The Student: “I want to make EUSA more accessible and more representative of the student body in general. I want to help societies make events better by having a database of all venues, negotiate discounts for them and offer group discounts in Union buildings. I also want to improve counselling services as at the moment people get dropped after six sessions which, from experience, can be really demoralising.”
One noticeable difference between this year and last year’s ‘poster day’ is the growing visibility of Liberation Convenors’ campaigns. We spoke to Diva Mukherji, running for Black and Minority Ethnic Liberation Group Convener, who told us that her main focus will be on increasing “visibility by diversifying the curriculum to make it more representative of everyone’s voice, especially BME voices.” With aims such as “making the BME group more visible” and making “Black History Month something that everyone engages with”, Diva is also hoping to reach voters through posters featuring Drake.
Women’s Liberation Officer candidate, Kathryn Pearson, also spoke to The Student about her campaign. “My manifesto is split into three parts,” she said, “I have celebration, solidarity and resistance. Most of it’s going to be on social media and it’s just going to be quite exciting bringing things together, sharing ideas, seeing what other people are doing.”
Voting for the EUSA elections will open at 10am on Monday, 13 March.
Images: Ellen Blunsdon and Victoria Belton