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The LUSU cow is an initiative so hilarious yet embarrassing that I am unsure whether it belongs in a surreal comedy or a cruel reality show. On the one hand, I am reminded of the Vic and Bob characters, Cox and Evans; two inept town councillors whose budgets were as ridiculous as their ideas, which included changing a car park into a helicopter landing pad to ‘attract top international stars’, and placing bins with installed shoe-shiners across the seafront. On the other, it is the sort of kooky idea that Lord Sugar would fire an ‘Apprentice’ contestant for.
What is the purpose of this cow? To encourage people to stand. You can imagine at least one portion of SCAN‘s live husting blog, can‘t you? “Cody Twankbanker has been asked what made him decide to run for presidency. His response; ‘I saw an £800 fibreglass cow standing in the middle of Alexandra Square and thought… Yes. This fills me with mounds of scope for a better union.’ Unless, of course, the intention is to draw candidates who want to make sure that such a bizarre entity never makes it past the confines of a weird mind ever again. Maybe its genius lies in its fatuity.
Its other purpose, once it has finished being the sole invigorator of 23 candidates (because communication is key, and before the arrival of the bond bolstering bovine, none of the VPs-to-be knew what an FTO was), is to promote the election.
OK, I will COW-tow (you won‘t beat me on puns, Paul Hannah) to its effectiveness here – an £800 fibreglass cow with ‘LUSU’ and ‘STAND’ crudely printed on its body is going to alert far more people to the election than posters; the ubiquity of campus posters is such that they stand out to students about as much as perpetual dissent stands out to a Conservative government. But COME ON. The solution to being a dullard is not to become a tedious showoff – there are middle grounds that can be occupied. You can attract attention for less than £800. Hell, paint ’LUSU’ and ’STAND’ across the arse of a rugby player and tell him to jumping-jack his way across the spine – he’d probably do it for free. The investment will attract attention, maybe even votes, but it will not combat student apathy, because an £800 fibreglass cow is not a valid argument for LUSU’s importance.
I am the only person with any affiliation to LUSU who is enraged that this election currently has more presidential competitors than America this year. Why? Because this sudden collective shirking of apathy, this surge in ambition to make significant changes to our student’s union is inevitably going to be attributed, not to genuine frustration with the direction of the student’s union, not to the inspiration to do something great, but to an £800 fibreglass cow.