By Ian Baruch
After suffering an embarrassing loss in the most recent Ryerson Students’ Union executive election, members of the Orchestrate slate are headed back to the drawing board in preparation for next year’s vote.
But rather than taking a serious look at their policy proposals—centred on vague promises of “groundbreaking programs” and “interdisciplinary change-making initiatives”— Orchestrate is blaming its loss on its inability to choose a sufficiently exciting verb for its slate’s title.
“I thought Orchestrate was a strong name. I really thought it would put us over the top,” said Kas Jacobs, the slate’s presidential candidate, three days after Orchestrate lost by six votes, or roughly 90 per cent of the Ryerson voter turnout. “I never thought I’d be one to miscalculate like that.”
“Miscalculate! My goodness! Miscalculate!” shouted Seth Baker, the slate’s candidate for vice-president operations. “Could that be the verb that would give us the edge we need?”
In Orchestrate’s headquarters, located in a small, refurbished loft on the north side of Gerrard Street, purchased for a measly $800,000, the would-be executives have been huddled over a collection of dictionaries and thesauri for 72 hours straight, searching mightily for the best verb that Merriam-Webster could offer.
For Baker, the pursuit of a new verb is personal. He was the one who suggested “Orchestrate” in September 2017, when he first heard the word in a third-year sociology lecture. “I just remember thinking, ‘Holy shit. This is it. It’s got three syllables, and it ended in ‘ate.’ It checked off all of our boxes.”
Baker called up Jacobs, along with Leslie Yeoman, the slate’s candidate for vice-president education, to tell them about his epiphany.
“For once, we were all immensely down,” said Yeoman, a third-year graphic communications management student. “Agreeing so quickly isn’t something I ever anticipate.”
“Holy fuck,” screamed Fletcher Valentine, the slate’s affable candidate for vice-president equity. “ANTICIPATE.”
Baker, standing in the corner with his $47 clipboard clutched tight to his chest, shook his head at Valentine. “You guys aren’t focusing on the real issue here. People want a verb that GRABS them. Anticipate just doesn’t sit right with me.”
Paul Harrison, who’d served as president three years prior but assisted with Orchestrate’s campaign as an advisor, suggested a noun in a radical attempt to appeal to Ryerson’s burgeoning chemistry department, considered by many to be a “swing faculty” in the university’s rigid electoral college.
“Sodium permanganate,” Harrison blurted before second-guessing himself. “Wait. No, that just feels inorganic.”
“We need something fresh. Something clean. Something clear,” Yeoman said while applying her daily face wash by the loft’s artisanal sink, hand-crafted by Toronto city councillor Norm Kelly. “The key is to exfoliate.”
Baker practically exploded across the room to give his colleague a hug.
“Holy shit,” he said. “We’ve just won the 2019 election.”
Moments later, Valentine held up a preliminary sketch of a logo—a drop of water with the word “Exfoliate” above it in a sky blue sans-serif font.
“For the shirts, I’m thinking we go with a cotton blend,” he said. “Tagless.”“Finally,” said Jacobs. “A slate that addresses the real issues on campus.”
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