I am a UWaterloo voter

Renison group standing beside their I Am A Voter boothDid you exercise your right to vote this year? A group of UWaterloo students aimed to solve the problem of low voter turnout by campaigning to make students' voices heard during this year's municipal elections.

A student team from the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program at Renison University College organized a voting campaign for a class project the week of October 20. The initiative aimed to inform students about the importance of the municipal elections and to drive students to vote on campus. 

Victoria Boyle, Amber Jackson, Michelle Loft, Emmalys Mulder, and Bethany Sanders are the student team behind the campaign I Am A Voter. Through the courses in the BSW program at Renison, these students know the impact that social and public policy have on society. However, as students, they also understand why some students don’t vote. This gave them a unique opportunity to make a difference. The goal of their event was to confront and bring solutions to the reasons students don’t vote, including bringing awareness to the importance of voting, clarifying the voting process, getting student pledges to vote, and being available to answer any questions the students might have.

The students give credit to Renison University College, saying their courses allowed them to strategize, connect with community partners, and use media to their advantage. Their campaign was featured in an interview on 570 News with Eric Drozd.

Interview Transcript (doc)

The student team believes that voting should be important to the student population, specifically in municipal elections, because it affects everyday life. Topics like housing and transit, addressed on a municipal level, affect everyday student life. They feel that politicians will not address student needs without the presence of student votes.

The group was proud to say that in their 45-minute event, they succeeded in gathering 118 signatures from students who made the pledge to vote.

The group added that they are excited about the growing interest in student voters and they were glad to be a part of this movement.

The Federation of Students and the City of Waterloo did a fantastic job educating and connecting with the student population regarding voting. We want to thank the students who did vote and who took the time to meet with us! We are hopeful and optimistic that every election we will see an increase with student voter turnout. - Michelle Loft

Following election day, the City of Waterloo reported a total of 227 ballots and 140 advance ballots received from the on-campus polling stations -- representing a 150% vote increase from the last municipal election. 

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