Every campaign season, behind every candidate, there is a diligent group of students who volunteer their time to help run the campaigns, who work just as tirelessly to secure their candidate the McMaster Students Union’s presidency.
One of these people is Kamini Persaud, a third-year Communications Studies student who has now been on three campaign teams, most recently as president-elect Chukky Ibe’s brand manager.
Persaud’s involvement and success as a core team member is impressive; she was the brand manager for John Tambakis in her first year and helped him clinch third place, and managed Sarah Jama’s tumultuous campaign last year, who not only had Jama’s disqualification repealed but also achieved second place.
Persaud has been involved with presidential elections since her first year, when Tambakis, one of her Welcome Week residence representatives, asked her if she wanted to get involved with his campaign.
“I went to my first meeting and there were five of us and he was like, ‘Okay. This is the core team,’ and I was like ‘I didn’t sign up to be on the core team.’ I just thought I was going to wear a button and hand out cookies,” said Persaud.
She was tasked with being Tambakis’ brand manager, where she worked with a team to manage his social media and image. Persaud was surprised to find that she had thoroughly enjoyed the process, and found it applicable to her future pursuits.
“I didn’t want it to end. I understand how students think, and I’ve taken a lot of classes on it because this is my program,” she said.
“It just kind of made sense that I kept doing this so I could apply what I was learning in class because sitting down learning in class for me was nothing. But when I was doing PR in the real world, I was like, ‘I get it now’.”
Persaud emphasized the amount of work and dedication that is put in into creating a successful campaign, most of which excludes the two-week campaigning period.
Persaud feels there are a few basic aspects to every successful campaign. She first cited having the right candidate, someone who exuded a calm charisma who students would feel comfortable getting behind.
She also explained the importance of appealing to the masses, as opposed to focusing on niche groups who already vote..
“It’s about narrowing down the demographics that don’t vote. That’s what Ehima [Osazuwa, MSU president 2015-2016] did; he got the people who don’t usually vote to vote, and that’s why he won,” Persaud said.
She also notes campaign teams focus too much on the presentation of the candidate as opposed to what their candidate is saying, and reliance on alienating language, which deters students from paying attention.
“Students do not care about businessmen or politics, they don’t care about jargon. They care about things that are relatable,” she said.
While Persaud does not plan on running for a public position herself, she has expressed interest in running another campaign, with a few conditions.
“I would only do it again if it were a candidate I believed in, and knew was going to win,” Persaud said.
But with Persaud on a high, it will not be long until she is asked again.