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USAC elections: Campaign moments

Making her way from class to a study session, Emily Ho kept walking. Supporters of undergraduate student government candidates Lana Habib El-Farra and Taylor Mason were all around her on Bruinwalk, but she wasn’t interested.

“I’m not as engaged with campus life as I used to be,” said Ho, a third-year communications studies student.

“I remember my first year, I was really excited. I don’t know if I’m jaded, but I notice they only come out once a year.”

But if you, unlike Ho, were looking for some fliers or for a conversation about Undergraduate Students Association Council funding, this was your week. Campaigns for Bruins United and the independent candidates were all over campus, pushing their platforms and filling UCLA with color – particularly green and yellow balloons for the Lana and Taylor partnership, and white and blue tank tops for Bruins United.

Taylor Bazley, an independent candidate for Financial Supports commissioner, took to Bruin Walk on Wednesday in a black fedora. He said that USAC elections are engaging because they parallel the national political conversation, and that voters have approached him to discuss everything from his platforms to previous Daily Bruin coverage about his participation in the Greek system as an openly gay man.

Bruins United set up its traditional campaign base at the Bruin statue, where members danced, handed out T-shirts and approached passersby. Other volunteers for the slate lined the stretch of Bruin Walk that leads to Powell library.

In the shadow of giant campaign posters, they asked each other’s majors and discussed fliering tactics.

Campaigning involves a lot of repeating yourself, they concluded, but it helps to get your message out.

The joint campaign of El-Farra and Mason pooled its volunteers on the nook of Bruin Walk across from Kerckhoff Hall, a space used by Students First! campaigns in previous elections. Fourth-year global studies student and previous Students First! candidate Sheena Santamaria said that the Lana and Taylor campaign is unrelated to Students First!.

Santamaria said that campaigning without the structure of a slate poses unique challenges.

“It’s hard because it’s grassroots. You have to create a base and expand that brand.”

On Thursday, third-year gender studies student Rachel Lofton said she enjoyed the atmosphere.

“People forget that students of our generation have a voice,” Lofton said.

“Knowing that we have passionate leaders is important to me. When I have a couple minutes to spare, I definitely stop and at least take a flier.”

For full coverage of the 2012 USAC elections, click here.

Story by Sarah Rogozen, Bruin senior staff. With reports by Emily Chu and Kate Parkinson-Morgan, Bruin senior staff.

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