What are you doing March 21st?

On March 21st, students at the University of Winnipeg will be invited to vote for next year’s University of Winnipeg Students’ Association members. The depressing part about this is that less than 10 per cent of the student population will actually take the time to vote, leaving the future of their student’s union in the hands of a select few fellow students.

I want to encourage students to research the candidates and vote. Be an active member of your student body and help pick who is best suited to represent you for the next school year.

If you don’t vote, you have no right to say whether the current administration is doing a good job.

It’s not like voting is a huge undertaking, either. This year the UWSA is having multiple voting stations to help convince lazy students to get in the booth. Who can’t spare five minutes on campus?

Plus, students have all week to vote. There is literally no excuse (besides apathy) not to vote. The University of Winnipeg’s highest voter turnout was 13 per cent in 2008, slightly lower than the national average.

Jason Syvixay, current UWSA President believes communication is the greatest tool to increase voter numbers.

“Students are very busy. They’re constantly over saturated with so much information. You need to constantly be up to date and be relevant. (You) can’t just rely on a website, you need to get out there and talk to students face to face,” said Syvixay.

Why are students so apathetic towards student unions? Some like Carson Jerema of Maclean’s On Campus believe it’s due to the basic nature of students.

“Students almost by definition are transient. They’re in school for a couple years, may pay attention to what goes on in university governance, but are not going to become familiar to the average student because they’re not going to be (at the university) for very long. This results in very low voter turnout,” said Jerema.

The biggest flaw in student unions is that low voter turnout breeds unaccountability. March’s election could see 20 new faces on the UWSA board, each of which has the potential to greatly impact the university for their representatives. I’d hate to see lackluster candidates doing very little to help their constituents for the upcoming year.

Help make the UWSA more legitimate and vote during the week of March 21st.