You only have to look at YikYak at the moment to see that people have mixed views about the coming Exec Elections. While some are excited for the annual campaigning period to begin, some dread the impending chaos of superhero costume clad candidates running to and fro across campus showering the student population in cheap sweets and promises. So, is this process just for BNOCs, or those who really want to make a change to the union and its policies?
One of the more memorable competitions of the past few years was that of Tommy “Aceman” Allen and Rob “Super Robbo” Whittaker. Those who were students at the university during the Exec Elections 2014 won’t need reminding of this fight for Union President. While Aceman relied on his popularity, confidence and enthusiasm in a bid to persuade people to vote for his madcap ideas (anyone fancy wearing pants on their head to Stuesday?), the conservative Super Robbo put forward his conservative manifesto with a conservative superhero campaign. And guess who won? Although both were arguably BNOCs in their own right, having sat on their respective hall committees and gained the support of their entire hall (Falk Egg and Faraday), the arguably bigger, brasher BNOC lost the fight and Rob Whittaker spent a successful year in office as President.
This all begs the question, are BNOCs successful? Those candidates who think they are godlike gifts to their hall due to their cult following of keen Freshers soon fall at the first hurdle when their manifestos are picked to pieces and members of other halls (not to mention the student population outside of halls) don’t quite buy into their outgoing personality. Sometimes it is the quiet candidate with the good manifesto that succeeds in the race to victory.For example, it would be fair to say that RON (Re-Open Nominations) became quite the BNOC last year, when a campaign to stop “Bryn Burgundy” Wilkes’ endeavour for a second year as VP Media gained attention across campus. However, Bryn’s manifesto and experience in the role was enough to kill the campaign of this false, upstart BNOC and he, like Super Robbo, was successful for, amongst other reasons, being the conservative choice.
This year, changes in the way Elections will begin means that BNOC candidates won’t be able to rely on their popularity alone. Manifestos will be released a week before campaign themes, and so will be critiqued prior to any assumptions being made based on the imagination put into their costumes. This should allow students to get a solid idea of what their future sabbatical officers are hoping to make changes to in a more serious and efficient way than previously, ensuring manifestos aren’t ignored. Similarly, the Bubble Debate is set to take place on the eve of the voting period this year, so there’s no excuse to forget those all important manifesto points!
No doubt we will see more outlandish campaign themes from BNOCs all over campus this year, but perhaps this time there will be a little more focus on what really matters – the manifesto. Make sure you keep an eye on all the news Label brings you over the coming month as the Loughborough Bubble is hit with the full force of EE2016. I, for one, can’t wait.