With SH campus closed to students, the ASB moves class candidate campaigns for first time to social media only


Because the spread of the coronavirus canceled school as of March 13, ASB class officer candidates advertised their campaigns online. Many had themes throughout their posts like the ones pictured above by senior class president-elect junior Emma Suh, who featured a Hawaiian-themed campaign. Image created by Accolade staff writer Hannah Kim.

Nicole Chung

With school closed because of state-mandated social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Student Body [ASB] had for the first time to rely solely on social media to help conduct its class elections process.

“We’ve been doing online voting for five years now, but we always had some form of on-campus campaigning,” ASB co-adviser Mike Paris said.

Normally, the ASB candidates for class elections have one week to campaign on campus with signs taped throughout certain portions of school reminding their peers to vote for them. Others passed out backpack tags with handwritten slogans to promote their campaigns.

So when the March 13 announcement came that schools would close starting the next Monday, March 16, the ASB had to scramble to figure out how to continue with its class elections originally scheduled for March 13, then April 3 after spring break.

On April 2, Paris sent a message to the candidates through the Remind messaging app informing them that they would need to adapt to a digital form of campaigning in which they utilized social media platforms and friends to spread their messages. 

Paris said April 17 became the new class elections voting day through the 5-Star app because he wanted to make sure it came before Advanced Placement testing began in May.

Many candidates featured a theme throughout their personal campaign’s digital posters and posts.

“I think using social media is always more fun because people like to see what you post, and I enjoyed creating and editing the posters,” said junior Emma Suh, who came up with a Hawaiian-themed campaign and had the highest number of votes for senior class president. “But I honestly wouldn’t do it again because I enjoy the physical poster-making process and taking pictures with my friends more.”

(Her fellow senior class officers for the 2020-2021 school year are vice president Abby Sotelo, secretary Ethan Mercado and treasurer Kathryn Aurelio — all current juniors, according to the ASB’s class elections results, which are also posted on the Sunny Hills website.) 

Some candidates were able to learn from the online format, claiming it helped them realize how to gain the attention of other students.

“You want your [digital] posters to be more eye-catching,” Mercado said, “Whether it’s being more clever or making your design look cool, you just have to stand out enough so people take the time to look at what you’re sharing.”

Though many used flashy posts to earn their votes, some also utilized videos to promote their positions on why they want to run for a certain position.

With the recent release of the video game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, sophomore Aimee Kwon edited an Animal Crossing-themed video, and she was able to garner enough votes to become junior class president-elect. Sophomores Paul Kim, Jasmine Lee and Ellen Kim were awarded the titles of vice president, secretary and treasurer, respectively, for the 2020-2021 school year. 

“Campaigning online was a lot easier in the visual promoting aspect for me,” Kwon said, “I found it very easy to make online posters and just edit videos instead of spending hours on making posters with poster boards.”

Some students’ campaigns even featured well-known characters and phrases to gain votes.

Freshman Jacqueline Woo, who secured the title for sophomore vice president, incorporated Disney catchphrases and images into her online campaign posters. (Freshman Mateus Ko obtained the most votes for sophomore class president-elect, while freshmen Rachel Miyamoto and Ariana Choi earned the positions for the next school year of secretary and treasurer, respectively.)

Although most candidates enjoyed this new method of campaigning, some still ran into a few problems.  

“I enjoyed my experience campaigning online because it was cool seeing lots of people interact with what I post,” Woo said, “But it was a little hard to find the right time of day to post when everyone was active.”

Many viewed online campaigning as a fresh method because they had the freedom to post and share their campaigns, adding other features like animated decorations that aren’t possible in a normal poster. 

“Campaigning online was really fun because all my friends could re-post it on their stories,” Choi said, “They could even add music or little decorations, which physical posters cannot do.”