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Candidates campaign with sites

Tess Civantos | Friday, February 6, 2009

This year’s student body president and vice president tickets are stretching their campaign budgets of $200 per ticket as far as possible, with posters, inexpensive Web sites and visits to dorms.

Three of the tickets, juniors Laura Burdick and Derek Sanchez, junior Grant Schmidt and sophomore Cynthia Weber, and junior James McCaughan and sophomore Tom Gorski, have Web sites devoted to th-eir campaigns, burdicksanchez.com, giveaschmidt.com and schmidtandweber.com, and jamesandtommy.com, respectively.

Presidential candidate Grant Schmidt and running mate Cynthia Weber used the domain name “GiveASchmidt.com” to show they don’t take themselves too seriously.

“‘Give a Schmidt’ is kind of a funny pun, but it’s a serious message too because we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but we take the issues seriously,” Weber said. “We take student safety seriously, we take philanthropy seriously, we take sexual assault seriously.”

The Web site only cost $10, but it is a major campaigning tool, Schmidt and Weber said.

“It’s a complete investment,” Schmidt said. “We have to figure out a way to get the word out. It’s a way to promote our campaign and inform people, a way of getting people interested in student government.”

For other tickets, the Web site is even more crucial to their campaigns. McCaughan and Gorski struggled to get posters approved and are relying on their Web site for publicity.

“We’re still working on getting signs approved, so technology is the only thing we have, besides talking to people,” Gorski said.

McCaughan and Gorski were able to save money with a free domain name.

“We’ve spent nothing on [advertising]. It was a free Web host,” Gorski said.

All three tickets used easy-to-remember domain names. Sanchez credits last year’s Reish and Schmidt team for coming up with a catchy campaign website.

“We tried to use a url that’s easy to remember,” Sanchez said. “The guys last year were the first ones to go the ‘dot-com’ route.”

The tickets are enthusiastic about their Web sites, which they see as major campaigning tools.

“The Web site is a good opportunity for students to see the character of your campaign and what you’re bringing to student government,” Sanchez said.

“It’s a great, easy way for students to find out more about our platform,” Gorski said.

Schmidt and Weber used a laptop to demonstrate the unique features of their Web site.

“It’s very interactive, with videos, lots of images. We tried to make it as eye-catching as possible. We’re really trying to sell our ideas to the students,” Weber said.

“People might say, ‘Oh, look how much time they put into their Web site.’ Let that be evidence of how much time and effort we would put in as student body president and vice president,” Weber said.

The three tickets also have Facebook groups and have been campaigning door-to-door in dorms.

“The Facebook group is pretty standard,” Sanchez said. “Our posters and going to dorms have been pretty successful.”

Currently, the Schmidt and Weber Facebook group has 644 members, the Burdick and Sanchez group has 292 members, and McCaughan and Gorski’s group has 277 members. The fourth ticket, Luke Lennon and Charles Harig, two Zahm freshmen, were unavailable for comment. Their group has 141 members.