For those on campus last year, it was hard to forget seeing Casey Lazar’s face plastered around UVic. Long, blond locks provided a stark contrast to the tame faces of the other students running. He was the only independent to run for a paid UVSS position—the events co-ordinator—and he came only eight votes away from winning. Link and Vision were the two main parties, with Vision coming away with the majority of seats, but Lazar ran independently because he wanted to see a change in how things were done. Sadly, the status quo remains.
“I don’t really think they’ve changed at all since previous years,” said Lazar. “I recognize that it is hard to change and they’ve been doing a good job of trying. The reason I wanted to bring smaller bands [to campus] was to be able to increase the diversity of events. And I think they’ve for sure been trying to do that. Whether or not it’s been successful is another thing altogether.”
Lazar’s posters could be picked out of the crowd. He had bright duct tape holding them up, and it was free of the cookie-cutter formats that Link and Vision adhered to. “Mine was pretty different,” said Lazar on his campaign. “I got to do whatever I want, which I actually quite enjoyed. It was lots of fun—just going around and waving giant signs with my face on it.” If he was to do it again, which, sadly, he says won’t be happening, he wouldn’t change much. However, he said that “it would’ve been nice to have someone who had a bit of experience with it to sort of consult with and get advice from.” It is an obvious draw-back to running independently, but if you are planning on trying it, maybe Lazar can give some advice.
“It wasn’t very hard,” said Lazar. He shed some light on getting on the ballot, saying that “there was an info session, then a handbook you had to read through, and then you had to get 15 people to put their name down supporting you. It was really easy to get on the bill.” And, as far as campaign tricks go, he said, “Make yourselves stand out. There [are] always going to be people who have some kind of beef with either of the two parties, so if they are aware that you exist and there is an alternative, you’ll pick up quite a few votes from that.” Of course, promising chocolate pancakes doesn’t hurt either.