Students encouraging students to vote
Journalism and Graphic Design students have developed campaigns to improve student voting rates. Their collaboration has created informative websites and eye-catching artwork aimed at changing student views of the election.
A group of students are coming together to increase voter turnout among Canadian youth. The event, My Vote, My Voice will feature a giant aspiration wall where students can write and share ideas of how they want their government to look.
Jamil Adams, Waleed Beituni, Huibin Cho and Shantal Rambaran are among the Graphic Design and Journalism students collaborating on campaigns to encourage students to vote.
by Eman Ali, Public Relations — Corporate Communications
In the last federal election, only 42 per cent of Canadians ages of 18 to 35 voted. That's something a group of Seneca College professors want to change.
“Youth don’t vote, and if they did it would make an impact,” said Michelle Grimes, Chair of the School of Media.
“Students in Paula Todd’s Digital Journalism (Journalism) course went into the field and gathered research on the barriers to youth voting, and they presented that data to Paul Shecter’s Design for Social Change (Graphic Design) class,” Michelle said.
With that data, Paul's students analyzed the research and designed a campaign to encourage students to vote.
“Students think ‘they don’t care about us so why should we vote’,” Michelle said. “It’s a vicious cycle,” but she said this project could help change the conversation about youth voting.
With the research they conducted, the Journalism students created multi-platform news stories on elections that are posted on youthsay2015.ca.
The students from both courses went to classes together in the first four weeks of the fall semester to learn how to produce quality content that emphasizes the importance of voting in the federal election.
One Graphic Design student said she knew it would be a difficult task. “Once I got informed about the problem of the lack of youth voting, I realized how big of a problem this is,” said Adriane Wu.
Her team’s strategy is to use social media to target students. Her team set up a table in the foyer of the Stephen E. Quinlan building to get students registered to vote. Once the students registered, they were put into a draw to win a $50 gift card.
“Even if none of the platforms cater to their needs now, if a lot of youth vote in the upcoming election, politicians will accommodate the needs of students in the years to come,” Adriane added.
Her team also set up a booth to take photos of students and have them write their concerns about the elections.
Another team focused their campaign around money. “Many students have financial problems and our campaign will get students to think about finances,“ said Naafi Khan. His team created posters, a video and displays about the importance of voting.
Idunno.ga is another campaign that was created by a team of six students in Paul's class. The website aims to turn " your 'I dunno' to a 'I know'.” The site explains the how to register to vote, the voting process, places to vote on campus, and features a question and answer board.
While this multi-program project could help raise youth participation in the voting process, it was also an important learning experience for the students involved.
Students will come away from college remembering these opportunities, Michelle said. “Interdisciplinary learning is something students will encounter in their careers, but it’s also very fun.”
Michael Maynard, Dean, Faculty of Communication, Arts and Design, said, “We believe such an initiative will help engage our students in thinking more seriously about the democratic process, and at the same time provide an opportunity for students in different programs to apply their specific skills and knowledge as part of an interdisciplinary team.”
by Adrienne Martin Public Relations — Corporate Communications
Students are coming together in the hopes of increasing voter turnout among Canadian youth.
My Vote, My Voice is a one-day event — Thursday, Oct. 15 in the Seneca@York cafeteria — put together by a group of public relations students. The event aims to make students more aware of federal politics. Featuring a giant “aspiration wall” where students can write and share ideas of how they want the government to look, the event is encouraging them to take part in the voting process.
The initiative was inspired by a class assignment in the post-graduate Corporate Communications/Public Relations program. Tasked with creating a public relations campaign to increase voter turnout at Seneca, the students decided to create a visual representation of what the ideal government would look like to Canadian youth. The wall will be a place for students to write their political concerns and hopes for the next elected government.
In Canada, voter turnout among youth is considerably low. According to Elections Canada, less than half of eligible young voters cast a ballot in the 2011 federal election due to a “lack of motivation” and interest in politics.
“No one has ever taken the opportunity to ask us why we don’t vote,” said Meghan DuCille, one of the students behind the event.
In an effort to get more young people involved in the political process, My Vote, My Voice is drawing in students from various programs and disciplines. Incorporating broadcast, illustration and design students, the event will also feature caricature drawings and political illustrations.
While the event is allowing students to engage in a political discussion, it is also a key lesson in public relations.
“We’re studying an interdisciplinary field,” said Sama Abdi, another student behind the event. “We have to learn to tap into different resources to make a successful campaign and with this event, we’re doing just that.”