Once in a brown moon...
An enlightening journey of self discovery through public ranting
Initially, I wasn’t overly keen about AUMSA’s campaign week. I didn’t want to relive an all too familiar high school style popularity contest. Here’s how I pictured this would go - each candidate would spill their numerous talents and make claims that they genuinely do care about the wellbeing of the cohort. I think it's really sad that I seemed to view people in my year as shallow and self serving. I guess when the most hyped thing at uni is the next stein or pub crawl, it was so easy for me to condescendingly judge my wider cohort. Seeing the candidate list and campaign week itself helped change all of that and address my prior misconceptions. Campaign week stimulated some interesting discussions and thoughts that ended up surprising me. I realised that until now, there hadn’t been any opportunity all year for us all to get to know each other in a meaningful way and connect about issues that mattered the most.
Knocking out Popularity
As with every election, popularity did kick in but it was refreshing to see diversity in the candidates. It was just so nice to see unknown faces step into the limelight and really put themselves out there. It made me think about how it's not so much about winning or losing but how campaigning provides a platform for the lesser known to become better known. I honestly appreciate how they opened themselves up for public criticism and bravely stood against popular faces to share their passion for creating a wonderful 2019. As a voter, it also forced us to interact with new peers and opened our eyes to those doing amazing work outside of the university sphere.
What do I really stand for?
Campaign week called for introspection, not just for voters but also for the candidates themselves. It was incredibly fascinating to see some become acutely aware of the persona they present to the public and evaluate whether it was a true representation of themselves. Working with the opposition made others realise that perhaps the best work for the greater good would be through collaboration. Rather than a competition to prove one’s worth and tear each other down, campaign week became more about appreciating everyone’s efforts and fostering a communal sense of belonging.
AUMSA for everyone
I really appreciated how the focus of this year’s campaign was about being fresh, inclusive and diverse. Almost all the candidates had ideas on how to get more of us involved with AUMSA and how it could cater everyone - not just the steiners and crawlers. I loved how those running for the ND (New Doctor) magazine position really took this responsibility upon themselves. It was a bold move for both teams to acknowledge the current magazine for what it is - saucy, scandalous, admittedly funny, but certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. Instead of just hyping questionable behaviour and claims, next year regardless of who the editors are, we’ll be seeing more opinion pieces from our fellow Graftoners. Some real literature will be greatly welcomed.
I have no idea who’s going to end up winning and frankly I don’t really care either. I’m just content with the wholesomeness of the previous week and how much love and kindness was showered around Grafton. I no longer felt like we were a disconnected, superficial cohort that had zero interests other than the many varieties of ethanol. Instead, I've started feeling proud of the people I'm surrounded by and how everyone was able to come together to decide the path our cohort will take in the years to come. Its sad that this opportunity for redemption only comes around only once a year but who knows, maybe this has paved way for more cute cohort bonding sessions.
Why a brown moon?
Simple, our world is coloured by racial perceptions. My experience of life is inherently coupled to my heritage. So yes, when I stare out into the distant darkness of space, I don't see a white moon. Instead, I see a brown one.