Vote, but for what?

by Melissa Hansen — columnist

The votes are in and we have a new president at Red River College.  I wish I could tell you more about who she is and what she stands for, and who her opponents were and what they stood for, but I really can’t. I can, however, tell you what kind of baking they each had on their eight-foot tables, and which candidate had ‘free coffee’ offered in exchange for a moment of your time.

This leaves me thinking, was our presidential race fueled by school politics? Or was it simply a battle of the bakers? Is it ethical to vote for the candidate who gave you that extra surge of sugary energy when you felt like you were going to fall asleep in class?

I have been voting for nine years. In each election, I read the materials the candidates in my riding have to offer and make educated decisions on who I want representing my neighborhood, city, province and country.  A question I have never asked myself until now is who made the best chocolate chip cookie? Was it gooey? Did it crumble into my keyboard? Did they give me more than one?

Although buying people’s votes through sugary treats may be considered wrong, unethical, cheap or even cheating — it got several students to stop and listen. Prior to the battle of the bakers, I didn’t even realize a student election was upon us.

As I sped from class to class in the weeks leading up to the election, I didn’t look around to notice the posters or the whiteboard signs in front of the Red River College Students’ Association office at the Roblin Campus. I would beeline through the atrium, from class to the coffee line and back, multiple times per day and had no idea what was happening outside of my personal bubble.

When the cookie gods descended on the atrium, students started to linger, stop and chat with the candidate standing behind the table. People were given the opportunity to meet the candidates and ask questions, even if the question was “are these cookies gluten free?”

Election week for me was like going shopping at Costco with five dollars in my bank account, battling crowds to get to the tables before they ran out, taking a sample at each table and pretending I was really considering “buying” what they were “selling.” And last but certainly not least, my favorite part of every Costco experience, finishing my trip with a hot dog and pop: five dollars well spent.

The battle of the bakers is done, and we have a new RRCSA executive staff. I commend them for their efforts and for caring about the school’s well-being. But Ms. President, I won’t complain if you ever want to pop by with a tin of your winning chocolate chip cookies.