The passing referendum highlights need for more student engagement on campus.
Nirosh Saravanan, Contributor
Why is it so quiet on campus? Where are the events? The work spaces? CapU’s students depend on the students’ union to help create opportunities for students’ needs to be heard. Unfortunately, due to low voter turnout, it becomes difficult to try to justify anything simply because there appears to be a low demand for it.
It’s just like what Alexis Zygan wrote for the Courier “Anyone who has ever taken a Sociology 100 class has uncovered the real purpose of the education system: to train students to uphold the systems that maintain a society within adulthood.” Voting for the school’s referendum trains the student body to participate in the democratic process of their government. A lot of important issues were decided through the referendum such as increasing the fee in order to keep the U-Pass and voting various officials into power in the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU).
The CSU needs to improve voter turnout and overall student involvement. Whether it be by getting more staff directly involved or by having more advertising both online and on campus. It is tough though, most people hurriedly brush by the booths and cork boards in order to get to class on time. And with emails, most of the time the Outlook app (the service that the campus email is based on) puts most of the CSU’s emails regarding events into the other section, lowering the odds that students will look at them immediately.
The burden shouldn’t entirely fall onto the CSU. Most students either aren’t aware or they simply don’t have time to worry about what’s going on at school. From balancing rent, to finishing that final paper that’s due in a few days, what’s going at on campus is probably a little blip in the grand scheme of things.
So how does one improve voter turnout anyways? It’s not just a problem for the student’s union but for many countries too (Except North Korea, where “turnout five years ago was 99.97 per cent, with only those who were out of the country or “working in oceans” at the time not taking part.”). For one, you could make it mandatory as seen in North Korea (hence the very high turnout rate) or by placing fines on those who don’t vote. Alternatively, you could incentivize voting through “campaigns that address how to vote, advertising campaigns that focus on why it’s important and grassroots movements that home in on a particular demographic, such as youth or specific nationalities.”
Should getting students more involved be priority? Absolutely. Without getting more students involved, it becomes harder for the CSU to gain any leverage in supporting student demands. Therefore, in order to get the most that we can from the CSU, we need to cooperate and care about our school by participating in and around campus more often.