By Scoop W. Gerbil
I am writing this letter to you, the concerned and caring Ryerson community, because I have an important announcement to make.
I, Scoop W. Gerbil, will not be running for an executive position in the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) this year.
Believe me when I say that I was seriously considering it, I’ve even run for the position once before.
But after much thought and reflection, I realized that there was no point for me to run because I didn’t stand a chance.
Scratch that, anyone that is not in some way affiliated with the current executives does not stand a chance.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes, while others may be calling this cute and cuddly gerbil a conspiracy theorist, but since 2007 the same party (under different names) has won the RSU election.
Heck, for the past four years there has even been a minimum of two returning executives in each of the winning parties.
To put it bluntly, the RSU elections are a democratic one horse race because they have a foothold on the votes coming from students that are living in residence.
How is this possible? Well, look no further than the current crop of executives. Four of the five current vice presidents were in a position of authority in the wide world of Ryerson’s residences.
Equally concerning is the fact that any nominee who would like to oppose the party in power immediately falls behind in the popularity race because no one on campus knows who they are, and voters only have a few short weeks to become familiar with whom they are.
With that being said, the key to winning a student election and becoming a student representative begins and ends with residence.
Here is my easy guide to becoming an RSU executive.
Step 1: Join Residence Council
Sean Carson, Rodney Diverlus, Melissa Palermo and Alyssa Williams all started their political careers as higher-ups in Ryerson’s residence council and they all got voted in without breaking a sweat.
Although they are not large number, students living on campus make up a large portion of the people who bother to vote because whether they are taking part in orientation week or attending a pub night, they are constantly exposed to the current executives. First years are young, impressionable, and are willing to do anything for someone who organizes a party.
Plus unlike commuters, they’re actually present on campus to cast a ballot.
So aspiring politicians, do yourself a favour: sign up for Rez council, attend some meetings, plan a few parties and you’ll be on the fast track to the RSU executive in no time.
Step 2: Get endorsed by a VP
Now that you’re in Rez council, it’s time to get you noticed by one of the executives and there’s only one way to do that.
Whenever someone on the inside asks you to do outreach for the RSU, say yes.
Whenever one of the executives asks you if you’re free on the weekend, cancel all of your plans.
Whenever you are given an RSU form to sign, don’t read it and just put your signature in the accompanying box.
No one likes to be told no, and if you want to become one of the cool kids on campus you will do as you’re told.
Make sure that you are closest with someone who has their sights set on being president one day, and remind him or her that you were the reason that everyone in Pitman voted for them.
Step 3: Election Time
By now, you have not only become best friends with all of the executives, but you have become one.
At this point you have to play the waiting game, because there’s nothing that you can do for at least another year.
Just because you aren’t moving up the ranks as fast as you would like to is no cause for panic.
If history has shown us anything, it’s that you can’t become an RSU president if you haven’t been the VP of Finance.
In 2008, Toby Whitfield was elected as VP Finance and in 2009, he became the president.
Coincidentally, the same can be said for Caitlin Smith, who after spending a full year as VP Finance became the RSU president this past year.
Now given the pattern, I would be willing to bet all of my delicious pellets that current VP Finance Sean Carson will be announce his candidacy for RSU president in the coming days.
Over the past four years, this has been the pattern and there is no indication that this will change. If only we had a candidate willing to step up and change the status quo…