From left to right: Nina Cherel (Euraf 2A, Cordées de la réussite Representative), Seynabou Diop (Euraf 2A, BDE Representative), Student Life Advisor Anne-Charlotte Amaury, and Victor Auburtin (2A, Euraf, Volunteer member).
By Greg Schaefer
After four days of campaigns and a long weekend, elections to decide leadership for the campus’ Bureau des Élèves, Bureau des Arts and Association Sportive were decided Tuesday afternoon. While Artbreaker BDA won it’s election without a challenger, Alias AS and Elemental BDE each obtained the majority of votes and won their elections.
Behind the veneer of bouncy castles and blindfolded football, the sixteen members of Sciences Po Reims’ Campaign Committee have worked behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and fair election. “I find that this year, the atmosphere between the lists is quite nice,” said Seynabou Diop, a 2A Euraf member of and BDE representative for the Committee.
The Committee aims to represent both members and non-members of permanent bureaus. While the BDE, BDA, and AS each send two of their members to the Committee, each other permanent bureau sends a single member. Finally, six other “volunteer” members are not a part of permanent associations.
Student life advisor Anne-Charlotte Amaury plays a critical role in the functioning of Campaign Week. While she is not the organizer, she guides the Committee’s process of organization, and approval for events and ideas goes through her. “My job is basically to say if it’s a yes or a no,” she explains.
After campaign rules and regulations are approved by a general assembly, the Committee and Ms. Amaury begin the process of approving proposed events from lists. This starts with events to be held in public spaces, which must also obtain approval from the city of Reims. Throughout February, the city and the Committee had back-and-forth discussions to obtain approval for list events on the city’s domain.
The largest portion of work comes with the large dossiers each list submits. These describe each list’s members, events and plans for campaigns. The Committee meets with lists to review plans and to make sure that plans indeed fit within the campus as well as campaign rules and regulations.
To fund their campaign activities, lists can get non-financial donations or loans from sponsors. These too must be approved by the Committee.
As students work to form lists, they must navigate their way through many campaign rules, such as those that aim for inclusion and representation within lists. Victor Auburtin, a 2A, said that as a student in the Europe-Africa program, “We can feel left out compared to the Euro-Am Program.” Regulations around the ratio of men to women and Euro-Af to Euro-Am students help to ensure greater representation.
This year, the Committee has especially focused on rules that make lists environmentally friendly. Many of them having been added this year, this slate of rules includes a ban on single-use plastic and on air travel as a prize for students participating in campaign events. Ms. Amaury says these policies will remain for future campaigns.
Another addition to the rulebook is the €150 allowance for each list from their respective bureaus for the purpose of communication expenses. This is alongside the existing maximum budget of €800 per list, which excludes donations and loans from sponsors.
First and second-year students at the Reims campus, as well as physically-present exchange students, are eligible to vote. Election results will come out on Tuesday, April 11. Between the voting period and the release of results, the Campaign Committee continued reviewing the lists’ sponsorships and expenditures to ensure that campaign finance rules had been followed throughout the week.
For members of the Campaign Committee, Campaign Week is important for student life at the Sciences Po Reims campus. For Diop, the week can be a nice break from the pressure of Sciences Po academics, “There is this elite idea of excellence which can make the atmosphere tense, especially during times such as exam periods when you go into the library and you feel that everyone else is stressed,” said Diop. “[Campaign Week] allows us to meet new people. It’s cool to just have fun, and this can really release the pressure.”
Auburtin agreed, “There are a lot of things that are a huge weight on our shoulders,” he said. “I think it’s cool to have four days in the whole year that are dedicated to just having fun and getting to know each other.”