Running a student campaign is not anything to be taken lightly. There are constantly many moving parts which all need to be managed well. Between earning the support of your peers and presenting a platform as to why you would be the best candidate to represent your classmates in such position, it takes work to be successful in your campaign efforts.
There are 5 keys steps to consider when running for a student office.
- Count the cost. Not investment of your money, but the investment of your time. The day you decide you’d like to be a class officer is the day your work begins. This is the time you listen to people’s woes and heart’s cry of what they want to see done in your class and for the school. This is what you use as your own test to understand if you are truly up to the task to help bring your class’ hopes to fruition.
- Make your intentions to run known – not in an ‘official’ announcement, but to those around you. You want to gauge their reaction not to boost your ego, but more so to use as a measuring stick to quantify their support of you. Let me tell you – chances are if you don’t have the support of your true, close friends, it may be more difficult to convince those who are total strangers to vote for you. You want your friends to be your eyes and ears to others who you may not be able to reach so that you know how to better prepare for the competition ahead. (NOTE: if your ‘friends’ don’t support your campaign efforts, chances are they are not your friends.)
- Know how many votes you need to ensure victory. It is important to know how many students are in your graduating class (or in the school if you’re running student government position). From there you will be able to calculate the percentage of your peers you need on your side to secure your victory. Now you do not need to be the most popular person before the elections to win, but you do need to captivate the hearts of your peers’ so they trust you to lead them. You need to be memorable and to win a loyal support team who will be there to vouch for you.
- Listen more, speak less. To be a leader does not mean you do the most speaking; it typically means you are doing most of the ‘heavy lifting.’ Understand the concerns of the people and constructively devise how you will be the person best suited to handle their qualms.
- Establish your platform. Based on what you learned from your classmates and why you truly want to be a student officer, you should have a solid premise as to how you will be the ideal candidate and why you are the people’s choice. Establish your footing and action plan so that it makes your campaign that much stronger. Above all, be consistent and genuine. People support people they can trust.
If you are up for the challenge of leading and listening to others, you will be more than ready to balance the varying view points and attitudes that comes from working with various personalities. Always remember that you will NOT be able to please everyone. The bigger your class/school, the more opinions and thoughts you will have to work with. Being a class officer is work – really hard work. But it teaches you valuable life lessons that you will be able to use for years to come.