Selkirk College students launch campaign to mobilize youth vote

The main entrance at Selkirk College in Castlegar was a beehive of activity as students signed up in the Students Are Voting provincial campaign. —Submitted photo
The main entrance at Selkirk College in Castlegar was a beehive of activity as students signed up in the Students Are Voting provincial campaign. —Submitted photo

The pending provincial election in BC has college students taking a firm interest in who will form the next government.

Selkirk College students are part of the movement, joining the Students Are Voting provincial campaign.

This initiative, being implemented on campuses, including Selkirk College, across the province, aims to educate and empower youth to get to the polls May 9.

“We know this election is going to be incredibly close and that students’ votes can make a difference this May,” said Santanna Hernandez, Director-at-Large of the Selkirk College Students’ Union.

“We are asking students to pledge to vote this May and helping them begin that process.”

Friday, at the Castlegar Campus, SCSU held a pizza lunch during the noontime break where organizers asked students to pledge to vote in the provincial election.

“We had a couple hundred students partake in the pizza lunch and almost half of them pledge to vote in the election,” said Robin Legere Organizer-Services for British Columbia Federation of Students Local 2.

“Considering we had a fairly heavy amount of International students attend, who cannot vote, we had a really great turnout with students were very upbeat and interested in the upcoming election.”

The BCFS said the 2015 Federal election saw a remarkable increase in youth voter engagement.

In British Columbia, 24% more youth aged 18-24 voted than in the previous 2011 election. In fact, youth voter turnout in BC was the highest of any province.

The Students Are Voting campaign aims to keep up this momentum by having students pledge to vote, and ensuring they know the essentials, including where, when, and how to vote, and what they need to do to ensure they can vote.

Selkirk students will join students at a dozen other institutions across the province in the Students Are Voting campaign. Because the BC Election falls afte the conclusion of the winter semester, outreach to students will be difficult.

The campaign tabling dates will coincide with days that voter registration booths will be on campus to help students begin the voting process.

The campaign will utilize email and online communications to provide students with reminders of voting dates and locations, and other useful information afterwards.

“We want Selkirk students to realize that student votes can make meaningful change” said James Havelock Tucker. “We are part of a movement of thousands of students who are already planning to vote.”

More information about the Students Are Voting campaign, and an online pledge to vote, can be found at www.StudentsAreVoting.ca.

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