September 8, 1999
In the cramped lobby of Crawford Hall tonight there were no balloons, eleventh-hour prayers, or giddy campaign workers counting down the minutes. But it was election night, nonetheless, in GW’s tiniest Foggy Bottom residence hall. Scattered throughout the building, the candidates for Crawford Hall Council waited patiently for the news.
It’s been a quiet election season here, bereft of malicious poster warfare, monogrammed pens and free cans of Coke. Like some of the candidates, who seem genuinely shocked The Hatchet has taken an interest in them, point out: This is only Crawford Hall Council. This ain’t the Student Association.
Yet SA-like remnants pop up even in this most innocuous of democratic exercises. The normally austere, hospital blue front desk in the Crawford lobby is now peppered with advertisements, as are the narrow walls of the dank stairwell. Curiously, few offer any promises of performance or indication of intentions. Fewer still offer last names or room numbers. In fact, the implied message of most of these paper billboards appears to be, “Vote for me: I understand how to place clip art of a check-mark on a page!”
Ross Gronau and Tom Hart (sophomores who marketed themselves simply as “Ross & Tom” to the nearly 150 voters here) tried a different tactic this week. Best summed up by their simple, irreverent slogan, “Hey Politics Suck, We Don’t,” the guys’ campaign features wacky humor and friendly color pictures of themselves in their hand-outs. (Example: “We love quiet walks on the beach, candle-lit dinners, beautiful sunsets and last, but not least, unicorns.”) It sounds corny, but it works. Their goofy introduction is followed by a serious laundry list of refreshingly attainable goals under the heading, “Stuff We’d Like To Get Done.” They say they didn’t want students to vote for them without even knowing their faces, but more importantly, their ideas.
The inherent nastiness of election fever rings loud and clear to many voters, they say, including themselves.
Ross and Tom, who are running for Crawford Hall president and treasurer respectively, are suite-mates and political virgins. Except for an ill-fated run at Homecoming King his senior year of high school, Nebraska-native Ross says his experience with the election scene comes mainly from observing last year’s blunders in the SA and the Thurston Hall Council.
“I don’t see how handing out a lot of freebies shows that you’ll be a good elected representative,” says Ross. “And all this hootin’, hollerin’ and stampin’ the feet over where you’re going to put up your posters on campus, what’s that all about? I think it’s ridiculous.”
A few things both perplex and repel Ross and Tom about GW’s budding politicos. First, they wonder why no SA or hall council members ever dropped by their room to say hello when it wasn’t election time. Also, they still aren’t sure where their estimated thousands of dollars in hall dues were spent.
For their part, the boys are dreaming big tonight about the future of the residence hall. Both are Community Service Aides for the Community Living and Learning Center and believe they have heard the wants of the people during their long hours spent telling them to please swipe their GWorlds in the card-reader.
“They want the TV fixed in the basement,” says Tom. “They want new pool cues. It’s nothing too abstract, just things that would make their lives better here.”
And by tomorrow maybe the boys, and the residents, will finally get their wish.