With sleeping bags and pillows in hand, members of Sabina Siddiqui’s campaign for Student Association president camped out in front of J Street all night Thursday to ensure wall space for her campaign posters.
“Some people passing by thought we were homeless,” said Faisal Matadar, candidate for Columbian School of Arts and Science senator and a Siddiqui supporter. “They even threw pennies at us.”
Most candidates arrived at walls around campus between 7 and 8 a.m. Friday morning. However, they were not allowed to put posters up until 3:30 p.m.
“We were here early just to motivate our team and to get the good spots for posters,” said Atif Qarni, Siddiqui’s campaign manager.
Some of her campaign helpers found the experience to be fraught with memorable moments and chances to bond with one another.
“We had great conversations, played basketball and got drunk off hot chocolate,” said Amina Chaudary, an undergraduate-at-large Senate candidate who had been outside J Street since midnight. “We even thought of having a bonfire on the Quad.”
Like Chaudary, many campaigners played sports to pass the time.
Matthew Ball said he and current SA President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar played golf on the street at 5 a.m.
Ball said they got to know homeless people who told them mysterious stories about the Central Intelligence Agency.
Others passed the time in a more productive way, by catching up on reading they had missed while working on the campaign.
Veterans of GW campaigns used the time to reminisce about the campaigns of years past. SA executive vice president candidate Jason Haber has been involved with SA campaigning for the past three years. He said he remembered holding a spot for former SA President Damian McKenna his freshman year.
“Now, I’m waiting to hang up my own posters,” he said.
Campaign helpers who stood against walls were motivated not just by politics or platforms, but by friendship too. Sophomore Kate Novinskie said she offered to help Carrie Potter’s campaign because a friend had asked for help.
Others said they were interested in getting involved in the GW community. Sophomore Lori Lewis said she wanted to get more involved on campus, and campaigning was her niche.
The true intensity of this year’s campaign was demonstrated by the number of students who slept outside J Street, Haber said.
Others did not see the benefits to waiting for prime poster positions.
“This is just campus politics,” said Jared Hosid, candidate for CSAS senate. “People need to put it in perspective.”