Friendly practical joke turns political victory

by Beacon Staff • February 20, 2008

He hadn't run for vice president.

This friendly fooling, however, resulted in Siccardi, a sophomore media production and writing for TV and film double major winning the election for the Student Government Association position the following week.,Joseph Siccardi received an unexpected greeting from his suitemates when he walked into his dorm room one day last semester: "Hey! Guess what? We voted for you for vice president."

He hadn't run for vice president.

This friendly fooling, however, resulted in Siccardi, a sophomore media production and writing for TV and film double major winning the election for the Student Government Association position the following week.

Eight of Siccardi's friends decided they were going to take student politics into their own hands when an announcement on e-campus provided a link for students to run for office simply by submitting their name and a few details to the Web site.

Once submitted, this person's name would be posted where others could choose their favorite candidate for the upcoming SGA election for the class of 2010. Without Siccardi's knowledge, the students put his name as a write-in for the position.

"They definitely weren't trying to sucker me into becoming vice president because they didn't think it was going to happen," Siccardi said. "I mean, it was literally five or six people voting and I thought it was funny. I actually voted for myself."

Aaron Bacon, a contributor to The Beacon, one of the eight people who voted for Siccardi said very few people took the election seriously.

"There is just something inherently funny about holding an election for a post with no rewards, no purpose and that no one wants," the sophomore organizational and political communications major said. "So I picked the person that I thought would be funniest and expect it least, so I picked Joe."

A week later, Siccardi received an unexpected greeting from SGA President Scott Fisher on his way to class.

"He [Fisher] comes up to me and he said, 'Joe, did you know people voted for you to become VP?' and I was like 'Oh my God, what happened?' and he said 'Well, you won,'" Siccardi said.

The unexpected vice president said that the lack of interest in SGA is the reason that their practical joke became a reality. He also said that students, including himself, don't take the elections for student government seriously and that the outcome of last year's election is proof of this passivity.

"Someone could have won with three votes and that would've been enough," Siccardi said. "It was totally just a joke."

At first, he said he was apprehensive about following through with the student government position because he was unsure of what the job entailed. Despite his apprehension in the accidental election, however, Siccardi ran unopposed and if he had refused the position, there would be no alternative person to fulfill the role. As a result, he decided to give the responsibility of being vice president a shot.

Now that he holds the office, Siccardi understands that combating voter apathy is key to SGA's success in increasing student involvement.

"Specifically for the classes, I think a lot of people don't know what SGA does," he said. "We try to have meetings and get people to come, but the only people who come are the people who are already on the class of 2010 board."

Siccardi said that if more people were to come to the meetings and more interest was taken in student politics, then more could be done for Emersonians. In the future, SGA hopes to organize "Let it out week" which will include stress relieving activities for students such as music therapy and massages. Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret, a community art project where people release their secrets by anonymously mailing them on a homemade postcard, will also join Emersonians through an SGA sponsored event. Siccardi said that activities such as these will increase student involvement in activities in and around the campus. He attributes the lack of interest in the group now, however, he said is the result of where student priorities lie.

Despite his unconventional appointment, Siccardi said he doesn't regret the joke-gone-serious in last year's election.

"I'm glad it happened," he said. "I, like many students, never would've been involved because I didn't care. I got voted in as a joke, and you know, I'm glad it happened, it's cool now and I'm glad I got suckered into being a part of it because now I like it."