Should I run for President?

So I’m thinking about running for President of the Student Union. I’m not sure if I should, and I’d like your advice.

This is a very personal, introspective post. I’m not writing it like I would normally write a blog post. Feel free to skip it.

(I checked with the elections commissioner – asking you for advice is fine and doesn’t count as campaigning. So no worries there. I am honestly undecided at the moment)
Here is my thought process. I’m trying to be as honest as I can:

The Student Union can do great things. The presidency is clearly the most powerful position a student can have on campus, when it comes to making our lives better. As president, I could use that power for good. I could fuse community organizing, online organizing, and “what the president normally does” to create something special. As president, I could fulfill a journey I started my freshman year, when I founded Innermost Parts, and finally have the power to really stand up for what students want with the administration. I know the way I’d be president would be unique, special.

On the other hand, I’m going to be a senior next year. Being Student Union president is a full time job on top of classes. Do I want to do that to myself? I respect every else who is running – I feel uncomfortable being forward enough to claim that I’d do a better job than any of them. I enjoy my friends, I enjoy my studies, and my plan was devoting more time on them next year, not less.

I’d have to give up Innermost Parts. I simply wouldn’t have time to put into it as well. If I run and win, hopefully someone else would carry the torch next year (and keep me honest).

That’s the thing. Would the combination of me at Innermost Parts + someone else as President help the school more than me as president and someone else at Innermost Parts? I don’t know. This goes into a whole conversation of who will take over Innermost Parts. I’m trying hard to develop new leadership and the next generation of blogger/activists to replace me – but is anyone ready? Will anyone be ready?

In any case. Back to the dilemma. There are of course personal benefits from being president. I’d feel happy with a title. I’d get a lot of personal growth out of it. It’d be a nice capstone to my year. It’d also be a heavy millstone around my year. Do I really want to spend my last year of college working this hard? The job is stressful, but it also seems kinda fun to me. It reminds me of the days of the Brandeis Budget Cut Coalition – that week was the most busy and hectic of my life, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat. So I think I could handle it and like it. But it would probably weigh me down.

People say that they are worried that I’ll be disappointed in not making as much change as I’d like to. Maybe that’s true. Maybe the presidency isn’t as powerful as I think it is.  Also, what with senior administration leaving or whatever (for example, I hear Dean Jaffe’s term is over and he’s going back to teaching Econ), and with even the Brandeis Presidency going to someone new, the student union president will be more powerful than usual, I think.

People say that I work better on the outside than on the inside. I say to them: have you seen me work within the system yet? You have only my record as an “outside the system” guy to work on. I think I could be quite effective as a “within the system” guy. I don’t know – I haven’t really done that since high school.

So I don’t know. It’s a big decision. I guess after writing all that out I’m leaning towards running. I’ve always kept the possibility open – my name is on the sign-up sheet in Shapiro, after all. Still, I’m not sure. Every person I talk to sways me a different way. This morning, I was leaning against running, for example. But I still have doubts. I’m not sure what is best for me, and I’m not sure what’s best for the school.

What do you think? I honestly really want to know.