What do R.L. Stine, Gov. John Kasich and Felix Alonso, the associate director of the Multicultural Center at Ohio State, have in common? They’ve all lost Undergraduate Student Government elections. Kasich lost twice.
“I decided to run for USG president as a publicity stunt to sell magazines. I was a graduating senior. I knew I couldn’t legitimately run. Mostly, I wanted to see if, as a write-in candidate, I could sabotage the election,” Stine, 67, author of “Goosebumps” and other children’s horror books, said in an email.
Stine, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1965, was known as “Jovial Bob” and ran in the 1965 USG elections to gain publicity for “The Sundial” humor magazine on campus.
“I had clowns out on the Oval carrying signs that read: Elect A Clown as Student Body President. My campaign slogan was: If elected, I will graduate and go away for good,” Stine said.
He obtained 1,163 write-in votes, according to the OSU USG Alumni Society website (www.osuusgas.com).
“It gave me confidence that people enjoyed my sense of humor,” Stine said.
Kasich also ran in the USG elections in 1972 and 1973, but was unsuccessful.
In 1972, Kasich ran with Marty Cummins and obtained 25.1 percent of the vote, 5.5 percentage points behind the winners of the election, Michael White and M. Dowling, according to www.osuusgas.com.
In 1973, Kasich ran with John Oleyar and received 25.6 percent of the vote, 3 percentage points behind the winners of the election, Dennis Sargent and S. Farmer, according to www.osuusgas.com.
Kasich, who graduated in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, did not respond for comment.
Alonso, 39, ran in the 1992 and 1993 USG elections before graduating in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. He attributed much of his success to this experience despite not being elected president. “I think my overall experience at OSU and being involved pushed me into the career that I’m in,” Alonso said. “I think all my experiences, including that experience, got me to where I am today.”
Although Alonso was not elected president, he remained an active member in USG. Alonso advised students to get involved.
“I love the work I do and I love that I am able to work with so many students and encourage students to be involved (at OSU),” Alonso said.
USG President Micah Kamrass, a fourth-year in political science and economics, said he learned a lot from his experience.
“Win or lose, I’d be a student and I’d still be graduating,” Kamrass said.
Kamrass defeated Jordan Davis, a fifth-year in political science and leadership studies, in the 2010 elections.
“Not only losing the election, but losing by the amount we did, made me step back and analyze what I could have done better,” Davis said. “I just had to stop thinking about what I could and couldn’t do and focus on what I could do afterwards.”
Despite losing, Davis learned from her experience.
“It taught me a lesson and humbled me a lot and the confidence came later on when I was strong enough to get through it,” Davis said.
Those who don’t claim the title of USG president can be triumphant after the elections.
“I created exposure for myself and had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t run,” Alonso said.
Alonso went on to be the president of Delta Chi fraternity, a resident hall adviser, the chair for homecoming and for a committee to rebuild a new union following his unsuccessful campaign efforts, he said.
Davis, who organized the Ohio Union “Flash Mob” in 2010, has had the opportunity to organize flash mobs for the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer and the Columbus Partnership, she said.
Davis currently works at the Ohio Union with the Buckeye Leadership Fellows, a new organization that focuses on third-years and gives them “real life experience,” she said.
“I’ve gotten really ingrained in what I want to do, which is leadership development,” Davis said.
Stine was successful in other ways.
“I learned how easy it is to get publicity if you do something a little crazy, a little out-of-the-ordinary,” Stine said.
Stine went on to be regarded as the “Stephen King” of children’s books, according to www.goodreads.com.
Kasich was elected Ohio’s governor last November.
With USG elections approaching, many students will end their campaign efforts and wish for the best. Win or lose, the candidates will hopefully walk away with an experience they will not regret.