Joint Elections Committee chair Galen Petruso had just one question for the 100-or-so Student Association candidates and supporters eagerly waiting in Kogan Plaza Friday morning:
“Are you ready?,” he roared into his megaphone.
With those words, and Petruso’s 7 a.m. alarm, the herd of students sprinted across H Street, determined to find the premier real estate for their campaign posters at the Marvin Center and University Yard.
“You have to run fast, you have to put up a lot of posters and you need to create space,” a candidate for a seat in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences’ senate seats and 3-year postering veteran Josh Goldstein said.
Prepared for the fight, several students dressed in athletic shorts and sneakers, with sweatshirts and jackets as their only defense against 30 degree temperatures. Looking for a split-second of an edge, many of the candidates devised plans before daybreak Friday.
“I have the most aggressive [people] running straight up to the Marvin Center, and cross-country runners going over to U-Yard,” executive vice presidential candidate Amanda Galonek said.
U-at large candidate John Bennett jokingly stretched with his team, not wanting to “pull a muscle halfway between [Kogan] and the Marvin Center.”
“Just out run everyone in the first 3 seconds,” Bennett said of his strategy, hoping his broken phone was not a sign of bad “karma” for his team.
Students had covered the walls in sleek posters within minutes of reaching the Marvin Center but continued to tape and re-tape to prevent D.C.’s high-powered wind from blowing away their work.
Fighting for the best spots, students wrestled and shoved to block out opponents. Students hoisted each other in the air and stole chairs from J Street to reach the higher spots.
When students had finally caught their breath, and the tape-throwing subsided, the building’s brick walls had been swept over in bright posters with even bolder names.
While U-At Large candidate Cory Grever’s orange posters vibrantly stood out from the rest, it was presidential candidate Chris Clark’s team of 30-or-so friends that dominated the scene.
Coming prepared with smaller posters taped together to form larger sheets, Clark’s strategy was to cover “every spot imaginable” and by 7:30 a.m., his glossy blue posters largely covered the Marvin Center.
“This is my favorite SA tradition,” Clark said. “It’s the satisfaction of running up and getting the best spots on campus.”
Freshman Elizabeth Kennedy, running for Elliott School of International Affairs senator, said it was unfair to make friends come to a “ridiculous event.”
“It should not be about the posters you have. People are too concerned about their posters and not enough with their campaigns and issues,” Kennedy said.
As the event died down, Petruso said it took the candidates longer to sweep and conquer the walls than in previous years.
“We’re very pleased with the way things turned out,” Petruso said. “There were no major incidents, but candidates did move slower than in the past.”
Postering day marks the official start of the campaigning period.