By Zach Marks
I’ve been showing YCC Treasurer candidate Jon Wu love on the blog the past few days, but his opponent, Will Alexander, deserves it too. His campaign theme – “Where there’s a Will, there’s a sick dude” – isn’t quite as sick as “Yes Wu Can,” but it still registers a significant reading on the sickness scale.
I’ll talk policy later, but for now, the story behind the slogan, in Alexander’s words:
I was slogan brainstorming with Margaret Blume TD ’10 and we were stuck. We thought “where there’s a will, there’s a way” had potential but was way too cliche. So we tried to find words that rhymed with “way,” but no dice. Luckily at this exact moment John Sheffield ’10 and Paul Rice ’10, beers in hand, stormed into my room. We told them our dilemma and Sheff blurted out, “just make it something retarded like, ‘where there’s a will, there’s a treasurer.”
We all agreed the random non-sequitur conclusion was legit. Finally Paul Rice goes, “Just tell them the truth. Where there’s a will, there’s a sick dude.” And a campaign slogan was born.
Most people have liked the slogan, including students outside what blogosphere pundit Ryan Russell calls my athlete and fraternity crowd. Every once in a while I get the blank stare followed by, “I don’t get it. You’re not that sick.”
Hey, can’t win ’em all right?
I’m not on a sports team or in a fraternity, and I love the slogan. That said, it really does shed some insight to who makes up Alexander’s base. I’m a big fan of Alexander’s candidacy because of the background he brings to the YCC. He plays rugby and he’s in DKE. His Facebook group is mostly sick dudes and DKE all-star Zach DeWitt was the first to post a message on the group’s wall. And there’s this:
Will’s the sick one on the right.
Wu has certainly amassed an impressive track record in his first year at Yale, serving as Vice Chair and now Chair of the Freshman Class Council and as Saybrook’s YCC Representative. On his website he claims credit for just about everything the FCC has done this year and for his involvement on a number of YCC committees including dining, Eli Days, gender neutral housing, and New Haven Nights.
But with an extra year at Yale under his belt, Alexander is the more experienced candidate. He served on the FCC last year including holding it down as Activities Chair during the spring, which means he organized the Freshman Olympics and the inaugural End-of-the-Year Freshman Address. He’s been a dedicated YCC Rep this year, working on “reforming freshman advising so that freshmen are advised by their seminar teachers, establishing the DVD library in Bass, pushing for an extended hours pilot program in Bass this reading week, and bringing the MTVu channel to Yale.”
Both candidates have some interesting ideas for what to do with the treasurer spot. Alexander wants to issue a Student Activities Fee distribution survey to allow students to determine how much cash different student government organizations get. He wants to expand the Student Development Directive and publicize budget moves on a “Treasurer’s Corner” on the YCC website.
Wu also wants to make the YCC budget public, although he doesn’t say specifically how he’d do so. Whereas Alexander wants to incorporate student input through surveys, Wu proposes holding focus groups, “which give more complete feedback than surveys.” I can tell you right now, Jon, you’re gonna have a tough time getting folks to come to these focus groups even if you bribe them with free food.
Wu wants to “bring back the sustainability competition among colleges.” I didn’t realize the competition had ended, with all the “Push the 15” buttons I keep seeing, but if Wu’s right, it’s a fine idea (although maybe more a job for STEP than the YCC treasurer).
Wu also promises to bring Campus Cash to Yale. This is like the “No New Taxes” of YCC elections. Candidates promise it every year but WTF? We still don’t have it. Not sure what he’d do about it that Alexander wouldn’t. Shame Will didn’t take advantage of this populist issue and put it on his platform too. Or maybe it’s a sign of mature restraint not to go promising things you’re not sure you’ll be able to keep.
This will be an interesting horserace to watch. Wu has tons of energy and a strong freshman following. Alexander will be in a good place if he can turn out frats, sororities and athletes, but that’s a big if, and his Facebook group is down 61 members to J. Wu’s (191-130). Alexander will get a nice push from the fact that most of the candidates, including all three presidential hopefuls, are sophomores so 2010 will have high turnout. He can also expect lots of votes in his home turf of TD, which will get a lot of GOTV attention from collegemates Harrison Marks, going for president, and Abigail Cheung, running for secretary.
Ryan Russell gave J. Wu 2:1 odds and Will 3:1. I’d say that’s about right. Siiiiiiiiiiick.