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Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024
The Observer

Student body tickets campaign through social media

It's election day on campus, and students have the opportunity to vote from 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. for the next Notre Dame student body president and vice president. This cycle has seen all three tickets use social media — Instagram, in particular — to promote their policies. As a result, this has allowed students to access their platform easier. 

“I think the use of social media has been very important to our campaign,” sophomore Griffin McAndrew, the vice presidential candidate running alongside sophomore Pablo Oropeza, said. “It has allowed a broad audience to see samples of our policy and to understand the issues that are most important to our ticket.” 

“Social media has been so instrumental, particularly in the earliest stages [of the campaign],” sophomore Daniel Jung, a presidential candidate running alongside fellow sophomore Aidan Rezner, said. “We have found that social media provides the best and easiest opportunity to connect with students.” 

In addition, the candidates commented on the effectiveness of their social media accounts in reaching out to voters. 

“One great thing about social media is that you can make so much information available at once,” Jung said. “For instance, we used Instagram as our primary platform and in our bio were able to post our entire platform, which was made available on Google Docs. However, we also used Instagram posts themselves to highlight what policies we thought were most important and would drive the most student engagement.”

“In order to generate interest and keep people engaged with our policies,” McAndrew said, “we usually include a few of the most important parts of our platform on social media, as it is rare that students have the time to read all of our policy proposals. Our ticket has mainly used posts and Instagram stories to disseminate this type of information, which seems to have boosted engagement."

According to the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body, tickets are allowed to use social media platforms to promote their campaigns. Article XV, Section I(h) makes it clear that if a ticket uses a social media platform, “that personal page or account must be made accessible to the Judicial Council.” 

Our social media accounts are public and JCouncil has full access,” McAndrew said. 

“We do not fully know how much Judicial Council supervises our Instagram accounts,” Jung said. “But we try to make sure that we follow all Judicial Council rules and regulations in regard to our posts. Additionally, Judicial Council actively follows our account.”  

Al tickets have restrained themselves from negative campaigning or personal attacks against competing ticekts, focusing instead merely on policy issues that affect students directly. 

“One of our ticket’s main goals is to ensure that all students feel included and at home at Notre Dame,” McAndrew said. "As such, we have done our best to avoid engaging in negative campaigning or attacking our opponents. I am glad the other two tickets have largely done the same, which has made this election cycle surprisingly uncontroversial.” 

In their Instagram account, the Jung-Rezner ticket featured the candidates making multiple “challenges” after receiving certain numbers of petitions, as well as to promote their campaign at large. These videos include the candidates baking goods and doing 500 pushups. 

“We believe our challenges at the start of the petitioning period set the tone of what our campaign would be like,” Jung said. “We want to be approachable, and we believe that these social media videos humanize us in a way that no other resource can.” 

McAndrew chose to comment on remarks made on his ticket on the anonymous campus apps YikYak and Fizz. 

“While these sites may fly under the radar for many students,” he said, “our ticket was the subject of a vicious misinformation and attack campaign over the last week and a half.”

Nonetheless, McAndrew believes this only promoted his ticket’s platform, as students became interested in their policies. 

“I would say that the hateful (and anonymous) comments actually generated far more attention and support for our ticket than we would have had otherwise, and they likely encouraged students to look at our platform themselves,” he said.

The Williams-Brooke ticket declined to comment for this story.