Campaign goals include informing students and then bringing their concerns to the BC government
Joss Arnott // Staff Writer
In a response to the recent snap election called by the BC NDP, the Alliance of BC Students (ABCS) has launched their Take it Over campaign. The goal of the “Take it Over” campaign is to inform young voters across the province and bring their concerns to the BC government. This includes information about local candidates and sources of unbiased information, helping students cast a ballot for a candidate that can best represent them.
“People under 40 now make up the largest voting block in Canada,” said Grace Dupasquier, ABCS Chairperson. “We want to get students and young people to the polls to show political parties in BC that our concerns must be addressed.” The ABCS is an organization representing both students and student unions from five different schools—including the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU)—by acting as their representatives to the provincial government. In addition to serving as ABCS Chair, Dupasquier is also the CSU’s Vice President External. “The dual roles, in addition to being a student, can get a bit exhausting,” said Dupasquier. “But I love what I do.”
The CSU represents around 6,500 students, while the ABCS represents roughly 80,000 students province wide. The student unions that form the ABCS work together to support each other on major issues, such as mental health initiatives and non-repayable grants, adding weight to platforms through their collective voices. As part of the Take it Over campaign, the CSU is hosting several digital events, such as trivia nights, info sessions and interviews with candidates of the BC NDP, BC Greens and BC Liberal Party running in the North Vancouver-Seymour riding. The CSU will also be creating informational videos for instructors to show to their classes.
“We’re asking students to pledge to vote at takeitover.ca” said Dupasquier. “When student representatives go to engage with the next government, they will be able to confidently cite the number of students they represent and helped get to the polls.” The pledge takes about one minute to complete, asking students to select three of their priorities from a list including: more affordable post-secondary education, COVID-19 economic recovery, affordable housing, climate change and anti-racism initiatives.
“The idea that young people are politically apathetic is false,” said Dupasquier, citing the recent climate strikes and Black Lives Matter movements. “All we [have] to do now is empower students to take those passions to the ballot box.” By forming a united front through the Take it Over campaign, the ABCS hopes to lobby for the needs of students in a cohesive and focused approach. The ABCS helps determine which topics to bring before the province by consulting with its members and prioritizing their needs. The ABCS has successfully petitioned the government to eliminate interest in student loans, fought sexualized violence, introduced non-repayable grants, and secured $450 million in funding for on-campus student housing.
The best way for Capilano University (CapU) students to get involved is to spread the word. The ABCS has an Instagram account (@students_bc) which has several posts that are a great starting point for those looking to learn more about the election. “We will be updating our content to offer easily readable material that breaks down party-speak and political jargon into digestible information,” said Dupasquier. The CSU’s Instagram account (@capstudentunion) will also have similar material.
Students unsure about any aspect of the upcoming election can find relevant information through the ABCS’s Take it Over campaign. Students can pledge to vote on the organization’s website, helping to strengthen the ABCS’s position in the province. For students interested in getting involved with the ABCS, Duspasquier says “the easiest thing to do is to pledge to vote at takeitover.ca“.