The campaign for the highly coveted position of class president has long been accused of being little more than a popularity contest. It's time to inspire change. Reverse the pattern by utilizing these strategies, and you'll find yourself sitting pretty as class president.
Take it seriously. School elections are lost when campaigning students don't put forth the effort. Plenty of students sign the sheet to run for president, but few follow through. Let people know you are running. Create a timeline for events. Make a list of strategies. Recruit a campaign team and brainstorm with them. If students see you taking the election seriously, they are likely to follow suit.
Offer new, creative and realistic initiatives. Don't be the student that promises pizza on Fridays or trips to the moon. Recycled ideas are stale and boring, and most students know when an idea is completely unattainable (i.e., going to the moon). Instead, think outside the box for activities that have a realistic place in the student body. For example, instead of campaigning to get field trips to the local amusement park, create incentives programs that would encourage students to compete for a week-long trip abroad to Paris or London. Raise the money using creative fundraising ideas that involve local businesses.
Use technology. Get elected class president by taking advantage of students' love of multimedia. This is no longer the era of permanent marker and posters. Create a brand or logo. Your local print shop will be more than willing to help you produce banners, posters, t-shirts, mugs, hats and flyers. Don't stop there. Instead of a typed letter of intent, create a PowerPoint presentation. Make arrangements to have your presentation playing in the cafeteria during lunch. Make CDs or MP3s and hand them out for free as you introduce yourself. The options are endless when technology is involved.
Find a sponsor. All of those campaign materials are going to cost money. Local businesses are happy to get involved with schools because it's good advertising for their products or services. Strike a deal with a local shop and everyone wins. They get more business and you get more funds.
Befriend the marginalized community. Like every successful president in the history of class presidents, you must take the time to recognize everyone in your community, especially those who are overshadowed and underrepresented. This may mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but it will be well worth it in the end. Not only will you get votes, but you may also gain new perspectives and new friends.
Run on a "for the people" platform. Use the powers of a democracy to your advantage by making it known that you are simply a representative of your fellow students. This may mean setting up an email, website or chat forum where people can discuss ideas online. Hold "town meetings" after school, host office hours and set up a suggestion box. Since students are sometimes hard to motivate, set up an incentive. For example, give away candy bars to those who stop by to give you a suggestion.
- A good candidate is a genuine candidate. Unlike Washington politicians who have had years to hone their skills, you probably don't have a decade of practice under your belt. So rather than faking it, be truly passionate and dedicated. Don't underestimate your classmates--students can smell a phony politician a mile away.
- Anyone running for class president will run into people who just don't care or who are blatantly rude. Don't be discouraged and remember Step 1--take it seriously and others will follow suit.
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