The author of this article is a listing candidate for the BDE
Sciences Po – a school of future politicians, professors, and, of course, event planners.
If there is one thing the past week has taught us, it is that when a group of students puts their minds to it, they will tear the Earth down (missing final exams if need be) to ensure the magic of giveaways and goodies pervades the campus. Whether through campaign videos worthy of the Golden Globes or logo-splattered merchandise, we wondered how these sudden groups of sixteen found the time to prepare the content that flooded our Instagram feeds. For four days of intensity, music blasted through the no-longer silent halls of the library, and the rivalry between lists left its mark on the student body in the form of decorative laptop stickers.
Yet, amidst the flurry of Campaign Week, have we lost sight of its purpose?
Four permanent bureaus are elected every year to promote their vision for our student body’s well-being and diversion. Each focused on their association’s objective: sustainability, the tutelage of the arts, the promotion of athletics, and our overall representation and development.
The aim of campaign week is simple. It is an opportunity to showcase students’ projects of what Sciences Po could look like, and let us decide whether we agree, feel represented, and view each team as one we can approach as our future permanent bureau.
But then, the chaos ensues. Life at a school for politics may have its pitfalls – such as harboring encyclopedic knowledge of Napoleon’s feats or shedding an occasional tear when looking at STEM – but elections are not one of them. Everything from branding to events resembled an amusement park. Drowned in gifts, we delighted in the competition. No instant for the duration of the week lacked Instagram coverage; no day lacked games, activities, or free meals. Only after the closing ceremony were the hallways finally given a breather. Our campus should look in awe at the programs this year’s lists put together – not one lacking commitment or preparation.
Further, the existence of the dutiful Campaign Committee ensures a sense of political responsibility. Eager to impose justice, they guarantee structure amid the ruckus. It is also exemplified by the emergence of our polling association, whose forms are designed to master secrecy and fairness. Our thrill for the Machiavellian has traveled so far that YikYak’s successor itself has deigned to dabble in political gossip.
Yet, for what? Is it truly a yoga session that determines our decision? A party? Facepaint? A sticker?
This week has demonstrated the spirit of our community, its liveliness, and its promise. Campaign Week is fun, yes, but it is also a chance to ponder our future and imagine what it could look like. Even for those around us who will be leaving soon and feel detached from the entire ordeal, it is a time to reflect on what life in Reims would have been like if things had been different, to picture whether, upon arriving, you would have felt comfortable approaching the members of each list and whether their policies would have improved your stay. It is a moment to remember our past selves, bags packed and rusty French at the ready, arriving in the city of kings knowing nobody but our schedule and the faces we’d see waiting to greet us at the Cours des Pères.
What is the Sciences Po that we envision? What defines our vote?
These, sadly, are questions that I cannot respond to: they have many answers that can only be influenced by our own unique experiences on this campus, whether for a mere semester or two long years.
Nonetheless, they are questions that we should figure out, and soon. Perhaps our vote on Tuesday is trivial compared to the one this past weekend, but it determines the fate of our community, our fate.
So, vote. Vote according to who you are, and vote wisely, because each vote counts.