Running for Student Council

Taking part in student government at your school is one of the benefits of serving on the student council. Taking part in the student council will give you the opportunity to influence important decisions. Many schools elect student council members, so you’ll need to prepare for and run an effective campaign.

Before Your Student Council Campaign

You may have a campaign in your future if your school elects student council members instead of appointing them. Planning and creating a campaign will be easier if you follow these steps.

Step One: Learn Requirements

There are certain requirements for school council members in many schools. It may be necessary to meet the following requirements:

  • A grade point average above a certain level
  • Attending meetings of the student council
  • For a certain period, there have been no disciplinary actions against you

Meet your school’s requirements by learning them.

Step Two: Learn the Role of a Student Council Representative

Your campaign will require you to talk knowledgeably about how you will serve effectively as a student council representative. In order to do this well, you need to understand exactly what your role will be. 

Knowing what the role entails makes it less likely that you will make campaign promises that you cannot fulfill. You can learn more about the position in several ways.

  • Find out what the roles of current and past student council members are by talking to them.
  • Observe a meeting of the student council if you can.
  • Explain the role of the student council to teachers or administrators.
  • Consult an advisor on the student council.

Step Three: Apply

For student government elections, some schools require applications or petitions from youth. Among the items that may be included in the application process are:

  • Fill out an application
  • Consult your teachers or peers for recommendations
  • Sign a petition for candidacy with a certain number of students
  • What can you do to help student government? Write an essay about it

Your school may hold elections based on nominations, so if you are interested in becoming a student council representative, ask some of your peers to nominate you.

Step Four: Meet Deadlines

To move forward with your application, you must meet the application requirements by the set deadline.

Ideas for Planning Your Student Council Campaign

As soon as you become a candidate, you can launch your campaign. In order for a campaign to be effective, it needs to be strategically planned.

Step One: Set a Budget

Running a campaign typically involves some expenses. Before you begin purchasing campaign materials, you should know how much money you have available. Make sure your budget is realistic. Consider the following types of expenses when planning a budget:

  • Button materials for campaigns
  • Campaign poster materials
  • Any campaign literature you hand out will cost you
  • Give small gifts to your campaign volunteers, such as candy bars, as a way of thanking them

Step Two: Find Campaign Volunteers

Campaigning for student government is a lot of work. Your campaign can be handled by people with different skill sets. Writers can help you write your speech, while artists can design posters and buttons. There are many advantages to working with campaign volunteers, including:

  • Distributing the work
  • Taking advantage of the great ideas and creativity of a group of people rather than just one
  • The right connections can help you get more votes with a broader network
  • There are more people to hand out campaign materials to

The following people may be interested in helping with your campaign:

  • Friends who are close to me
  • Family members
  • Activities after school, such as sports or clubs, with friends
  • Students in your classes
  • The parents of your children

Step Three: Brainstorm Student Council Campaign Ideas

Having gathered your team, it’s time to get started on planning. Organize a brainstorming session in which no idea is dismissed. Discussion and recording of the following should take place during the brainstorming session:

  • I am running for student council for what reason?
  • What can I do to make a difference?
  • Is there anything I can offer other candidates that they don’t?
  • How do I stand out from the crowd?
  • If I could make any changes, what would they be?
  • Is there a word that best describes me?
  • Can you tell me what my message is?

Step Four: Create Your Platform

Once all of your ideas have been brainstormed, it’s time to narrow them down to create your platform, message, or brand. You will use these ideas throughout the remainder of your campaign to develop everything from your campaign slogan and campaign materials to your speech.

In your directive, you should include the following:

  • Candidate’s core values
  • What you plan to do in your new role
  • Help facilitate the changes you would like to see
  • What you bring to the table as a candidate in terms of skills, knowledge, and value

Step Five: Create a Campaign Slogan

In order for a slogan to be effective, it must be simple and memorable. Your slogan should relate to your campaign’s mission or platform. In order to create an effective campaign slogan, follow these steps:

  • Your message should be reinforced
  • Focus on the needs and values of students in your school (e.g., safer schools, more nutritious lunches).
  • You need to make it catchy
  • Don’t make it too long and make it easy to remember

Here are some examples of catchy slogans:

  • For a safer school environment, Shaw
  • John is the man to call when you need something done
  • You will have a voice with Alli

Your Student Council Campaign

Now that your campaign has been properly planned, it’s time to move forward.

Step One: Make Campaign Materials

Using your budget, purchase the materials you need for your campaign. If you are developing these, be sure to follow the school’s guidelines. You need to include the following in your campaign materials:

  • What is your name?
  • What is your slogan?
  • You are running an office

A campaign may include the following materials:

  • Posters for the halls: Make these large enough so others can read them. If possible, use neat lettering and add a touch of artistic flair. It is best to keep the posters simple so that other students can read them quickly in passing. Art supply stores, such as Hobby Lobby, may supply materials for campaign posters, or the school may supply them.
  • Construction paper and markers can be used to make campaign buttons. Candidates often tape candy to the buttons as well. You should be able to pass out enough buttons to all the students in your class. Many schools have button makers that can be used to make pin badges. In addition to printer badges, you can use construction paper with double-sided tape or adhesive badge labels.
  • Print one-page campaign flyers with your name, picture, slogan, and office for which you are running on them. If you have space, you may also want to include a few brief bullet points about your platform.

Step Two: Campaign to Your Peers

Before the election, you will need to inform your peers about your candidacy and what it is all about. In order to actively campaign:

  • Display campaign signs in prominent places.
  • Hand out campaign buttons and flyers with the help of volunteers.
  • Talk to as many people as you can before and after school, at lunch, and during breaks about your candidacy.

You should follow these steps when you are campaigning to your peers:

  • Make a smile
  • Have a friendly attitude
  • Respect each other
  • Maintain a polite attitude
  • Make sure you are well groomed
  • Feel free to share your thoughts
  • Negative remarks about your opponents should be avoided
  • Make sure you stay on message
  • You can ask them to vote
  • Obtain their opinions about what the school should do
  • Become a good listener

Your Student Council Speech

For most student council campaigns, you will need to give a speech to help voters get to know you better. A careful preparation can help you succeed in giving a speech, even if you feel anxious about it. 

Whether you’re running for treasurer, secretary, president or any other office, these basics will help you.

Step One: Create an Outline

The following information should be included in your outline when writing your speech:

  • What is your name?
  • You are running an office
  • What motivates you to run for office
  • If you are elected, how will the school benefit
  • Your platform’s planks

Step Two: Write Your Speech

You can write your speech based on the outline once you have it. If you are writing a speech, follow these tips:

  • Let’s start with your name and the office you are running for.
  • If possible, include some appropriate humor.
  • Statements should be simple and direct.
  • Tell us why you are the right candidate for the job.
  • Describe the benefits of your representation for students.
  • Negative comments about your opponents should be avoided.
  • Keeping it short is best.
  • Finally, thank the audience for listening and ask them to vote for you.
  • Get feedback from campaign volunteers, trusted teachers, friends, or parents about your speech. Changes should be made accordingly.

Step Three: Practice Your Student Council Speech

Put your speech on note cards once you have written it. Repeat your speech multiple times until it becomes second nature and you only need to glance at the note cards occasionally.

  • Make sure you practice in front of a mirror.
  • Practicing in front of family and friends will help you become comfortable with it.

Step Four: Make Your Campaign Speech

Speech day has arrived, and it’s natural to feel nervous. Be sure to do the following:

  • Dress appropriately for your speech and make sure you are well groomed.
  • Take a deep breath as your name is called.
  • Walk confidently to the podium.
  • Look up at the audience and smile.
  • Take another deep breath and speak with confidence.
  • Look up occasionally and try to make eye contact with audience members.
  • Look up at the audience at the end of your speech and smile.
  • Walk away from the podium with confidence.

Election Day

It’s election day, the culmination of your work. Consider the following tips:

  • Arrive at school looking well-groomed and confident.
  • Be visible before school, at lunch, and during breaks.
  • Answer questions candidly.
  • Be friendly to your peers and ask for their votes.
  • Wish your opponents luck

After the Election

Your campaign was efficient and effective, regardless of whether you won or lost.

  • Your volunteers are greatly appreciated.
  • Posters should be removed as soon as possible.
  • Your opponents ran a successful campaign, so congratulate them.

Running for Student Council Is a Process

Having run one campaign will give you more experience for the next. Regardless of whether you didn’t win this year, you now have new campaign skills and ideas about how to contribute to your school if you decide to run again.

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