Student Association Senate hopeful Luke Moses proudly made his campaign rounds in Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Hall last Monday in jeans and a sweater.
“I need to ask you guys something,” Moses asked, standing outside the room of sophomores Caitlin Bearce and Colleen Keller. “Some guys are going around doing this in ties and coats, what do you think of what I’m wearing?”
Bearce looked the sophomore over and said, “I like it. It makes you look approachable.”
“Just don’t wear sweatpants,” she added.
“Thanks, no don’t worry, I won’t,” Moses said. “Have a nice Valentine’s Day.”
Moses is one of 15 undergraduate candidates vying to represent the Columbian College of Arts and Science in the SA Senate. What to wear was one of many decisions he made last week during his campaigning for the March 2 and 3 elections that will decide the new members of the student governing body.
In an election riddled with names, Moses is getting his out to voters the old-fashioned way: meeting them one at a time. Armed with a stack of campaign fliers and a hint of Southern charm, Moses, who is from rural Georgia and has the accent to prove it, rode the elevator to the top floor and mentally rehearsed his pitch before knocking on his first door.
One such door yielded a relaxed, half-dressed student with a bowl of cereal who invited Moses in. Other hurried, half-dressed residents said they were on their way out and would just like a flier. One person just called, “Come in,” and after Moses tried to turn the knob the possible voter shouted, “It’s locked.”
Besides locked doors, Moses also had to compete with a number of other distractions, including a girl waiting on a Valentine’s day dinner she would share with her boyfriend. In another room, he sat in front of a human-sized Homer Simpson cutout and next to electric guitar amps and tried to steal some thunder from ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
This is Moses’s first election at GW, although he, like many SA Senate candidates, was active in student government in high school. He said his goal is to speak to students directly.
“I think that you just need to get your message out there and go and meet as many people as you can around campus,” he said.
Moses isn’t the only one strategizing for next month’s elections. On Feb. 12, the Saturday before Valentine’s Day, an assortment of SA senators and campaign workers met with Elliott School Senate candidate Gvindraj Kilambi. Dressed in a polo shirt tucked into slacks, sipping a Starbucks drink and jotting down notes, Kilambi was ready to get down to business. Like Moses, the sophomore is launching his first campaign at GW.
Sitting on couches outside the elevators in an unusually busy Marvin Center, Kilambi’s meeting discussed getting advice and delegating work. The most important item on the agenda was recruiting volunteers, which he decided should be people he knows.
Kilambi has a distinct first and last name, but he said he does not expect to turn his name into his main selling point.
“The biggest challenge will be to make sure people know who I am and to carry my message to them,” he said. “The main issue is name recognition.”
A participant in his high school student government, he has been planning to run for Senate for a few months, so he is dealing with how to transition from planning to taking action. Last week was mainly focused on organizing volunteers and working on his campaign poster, which he expects to unveil at 7 a.m. on Friday when candidates are allowed to begin posting campaign material.
While Kilambi is looking to a bright future in the SA, his campaign already hit a bump on Feb. 16, when he failed to garner the endorsement of either the College Democrats or College Republicans. While he was hoping for at least one group’s approval, things did not materialize that way.
“It is a little bit of a letdown, but we’re going to move on and continue to get my message out,” Kilambi said. “I’m not too worried about it.”