The ASG presidential candidates and their teams have entered full campaign mode.
When campaigning commenced at midnight Monday, all three ASG presidential candidate tickets launched Facebook pages, activated Twitter accounts and began sidewalk chalking the campus with colorful names and slogans.
The Shao & Stewart for ASG website went live at midnight, with biographies, a blog and platform details categorized by interest. The other two candidate teams plan to reveal their own websites later in the campaign period after resolving technical kinks.
Later on Monday, the Kam-Steven team hosted a campaign kickoff event to introduce the candidates Kameron Dodge and Steven Monacelli and to screen a video.
"Last quarter was planning, planning, planning," said Weinberg junior Andrew Brugman, Victor Shao and Brad Stewart's campaign manager, who has managed previous ASG presidential campaigns. "This is just the beginning of the implementation. To be able to put all this together and have it all ready to go on launch is great. In the past, a few of the campaigns I’ve worked on have been a little bit more disorganized."
Until election day on April 11, both the Tully-Jones and Shao-Stewart teams plan to have as many face-to-face interactions with voters as possible, according to their campaign managers.
Before this campaign, Weinberg junior Adam Mendel, Dan Tully and Jeziel Jones's campaign manager, said he had "zero interest" in student government affairs, but Tully and Jones's charismatic personalities and passion for campus issues inspired him to change his mind. Because of this, Mendel believes personal connection will lead to Tully and Jones's success in the election.
"We are making sure everyone meets Dan and Jeziel," said Mendel. "If people meet them and listen to their great, original ideas, they can’t question their drive. I want people to know them as people because they’re genuine guys. They want to do it not for themselves but really to make things better for students."
While meeting students in person is effective, this approach doesn't work for all voters, said Brugman, who is working to take advantage of all communication channels to reach the student body. Some students may prefer to be contacted electronically or would rather read a flyer taped to the wall, he said.
"Different students respond to different messages," Brugman said. "For some, it's having the chalk. The face-to-face interactions is the best way to tell if you’re getting through to students, seeing someone’s face light up or see them get excited about what you’re saying. But it really depends on the student, how much they want to talk or if they’re running to class and don’t have time to be stopped."
The Kam=Steven campaign is using similar outreach methods but chose to take a steadier initial approach. Weinberg sophomore Tori Zuzelo, Dodge and Monacelli's campaign manager and a member of A&O Productions, was in the middle of announcing the A&O Ball and Speaker the same night of the campaign launch and didn’t want to clutter Facebook homepages with campus news.
"Since the campaign takes place over a week and a half it’s more of a marathon than a sprint," Zuzelo said. "We knew there would be a lot of Facebook activity the first night and didn’t want to overwhelm people."
For Zuzelo, this "marathon" is evolving and will likely shift course along the way. Later in the week, the Kam=Steven team will likely chalk the campus again and do a "dorm storm," but this is subject to change, depending on student responses, Zuzelo said.
"It’s not as if we have a rigid plan and are sticking to it," she said. "[The campaign] will come down to adapting to what’s going on and doing what we think is best. It's all a learning process."
In general, platforms are similar among ASG candidates every year because campus issues are relatively universal, according to Brugman. This, coupled with the fact that all the candidate pairs are "incredibly well-qualified," makes it difficult to distinguish oneself from the rest, he said.
Brugman said the Shao-Stewart team is unique because the pair has worked effectively together on several executive boards since freshman year.
"It’s been fun for me to watch them work through some pretty stressful situations – campaigns are really exhausting and lots of work," Brugman said. "Even at times when they’re not completely in agreement they talk through it, create a great collaborative environment and come to a solution. Having that connection, already established, is going to be huge in ASG."
Tully and Jones also met as freshmen when they were both ASG senators. After pursuing individual interests sophomore year — Tully invested himself into campus political groups while Jones focused on entrepreneurship — the pair has reunited to run for ASG.
"They're a great team," Mendel said. "Jeziel's a great talker, very smooth and clean cut. Dan’s a good talker too but more outgoing, over-the-top, super friendly. It’s really fun to watch them work together. They complement each other. One’s weakness is the other’s strength."
Monacelli and Dodge, by contrast, knew each other only peripherally when they decided to run as co-presidents. Zuzelo identifies this as the team's primary strength.
"They come from different walks of campus and have different perspectives," Zuzelo said. "I think that's why their platform is really well-rounded. With diversity you breed new thought. When each found out the other was running, they saw each other as good candidates."