“It’s our education, it’s our future,” chanted U of T first-year student Shak Gobert as he led the UTSU Vote Mob down St. George and into King’s College Circle on Thursday, September 29.
He stressed to students that their votes will matter in the provincial election being held on October 6.
“I believe that voting is important and I want to encourage others to do the same,” said Gobert.
His message was echoed by Matthew Cram, President of the Beyond Intellectual Discovery Club, who stressed to students the importance of casting their ballots. He urged them to take advantage of the advance polls at Hart House and Brennan Hall.
The Vote Vob was part of UTSU’s ‘Take It Over’ campaign, an initiative to increase voter awareness, development and community outreach with the hopes of bringing student issues to election forefronts.
Shaun Shepherd, UTSU’s VP External, described the campaign’s mandate as one that aims to break down political parties’ platforms and focus on the points that affect students the most, such as funding for post-secondary education, transit, continuing education, unemployment, and health care.
“Currently, Ontario has the lowest government-funded post-secondary education system in the country, causing increased privatization of campuses, and students are bearing this weight through increased tuition,” explained Shepherd.
“And what is the future of transit in this city?” he continued, going on to note the TTC’s importance for U of T commuter students.
Shepherd went on to discuss the need to address unemployment. He believes that the lack of jobs is contributing to the debt cycle by inhibiting students from paying back their loans.
Statistically, three out of every ten students vote in elections — the campaign hopes to push more students to participate.
“The Vote Mob is really something that’s taken over,” said UTSU President Danielle Sandhu. “Our great energy [is resulting in] student issues [being] reflected in party platforms, and by encouraging students to vote, we’re making a difference.”