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What to expect when you're electing

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At this stage in your life, you've probably had to reject a few of your dream jobs out of sheer implausibility. I remember when I was younger, trying to choose between being a vet or an astronaut (while potentially moonlighting as a Pokemon Master on the side, provided I could get my PhD in Being The Very Best Like No-One Ever Was).

But at the University of York, there's one dream job you can still shoot for - being YUSU President! Or Welfare Officer, or York Sport President! As elections approach, then, you might see a small bevy of people with Ideas and Opinions showing off their campaigns, as student media huddles attentively around them and makes Game of Thrones references. But what, specifically, can you expect?

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Image: whichwould


For starters, there seems to be a universal law concerning YUSU campaigns - the more cardboard you manage to use in your campaign, the higher probability of you winning. Expect to see cardboard propaganda blocks everywhere you look - dangling off the library bridge, sellotaped to Central Hall, attached to the faces of your loved ones (OK, maybe not that last one. Yet.) I'm still waiting for the day we get a candidate made entirely of cardboard, thus providing some much-needed representation for the paper-based community.

But, according to probability, he'll probably be a man. Though the Victorian era's over, and men can no longer tell a female lecturer to make the tea halfway through a seminar or plant a flag in someone's garden to claim it, there's one place where they've managed to cling to a few slivers of institutional power - Western society! And also YUSU.

Next up, assuming no candidate intends to pin their manifesto to the door of D-Bar like a drunken Martin Luther, they'll probably be counting on a few puns slapped around campus to represent everything they stand for. Last year, for instance, presidential candidate Dan Whit-MORE crammed his punniest syllable into any joke he could, alongside Student Activities Officer Chris 'Bring On The' Wall and Welfare and Community Officer Jemima Bus-by (which sounds like 'buzz-bee', so her mascot was a bee. This is the level of hilarity you can expect from this process).

A tip for you, if you ever decide to run: have your name legally changed to 'Willow McGoose' beforehand, and you'll probably be able to get yourself elected as Dictator For Life.

Naturally, not everyone takes these elections too seriously. Some look at our po-faced and unrelenting bureaucracy and choose to introduce a little anarchy, upset the established order, or something else profound-sounding that didn't come from a Heath Ledger's Joker monologue. As a result, this year's elections might see a colourful cast of kooky candidates sprinkled into the mix, their campaigns entirely based on a suitably funny-sounding gimmick and whatever costume was half-price in Festival of Fun that weekend.

Last year, we had two joke candidates! Presidential candidate Jack Coy did his entire campaign in a lobster onesie and fought for equal rights for crustaceans, while skull-faced tyrant Argath the Destroyer mounted an admirable bid for Environment Officer, promising to remove both the toilet eels and the threat of destruction by Argath the Destroyer.

Sometimes, the joke candidate can even win! (Because they're all jokes, right?) In 2008, Mad Cap'n Tom Scott was elected YUSU President. The pirate promised a free cutlass to every student, and to remain in costume throughout his tenure. Though his reign was a short one, and mostly consisted of people telling him to get out of the pirate costume, he has a Wikipedia page now! So dreams do come true.

For a lot of students, however, involvement in the YUSU election process begins and ends with a sullen glance at a poster as they walk to lectures. Asking them to pick a candidate is, in their eyes, like asking what shade of heliotrope to paint your horse - they've never really gotten involved with that sort of thing, and it's not a decision that really affects them anyway.

But, unless someone declares revolution and we all start dumping crates of YUSU-bought cider into the harbour, it's likely our incoming committee will be affecting student life for the next year or so. So you might as well get involved! Go to a few events, read a few manifestos, and if all else fails you can read up on everything important on this very mini-site. Then make your choice. If all else fails, vote for the one who inevitably promises lower drink prices.

'Tis the season, after all!

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