By Ashley Spegel
Ryerson student Adam Sit is just one of 38 students vying for the Mayor’s office in Nov. 13’s municipal election. Will age help him win votes or will he be just another blip on the radar?
Imagine it’s the winter term and you’re sitting in class. Next thing you know, the mayor of Toronto walks in, takes a seat beside you and says “Hey, I’m Adam Sit.”
This situation sounds a little far-fetched, but it could translate into reality come the day of municipal elections, Nov. 13.
Sit is a fourth-year retail management student at Ryerson, and he’s running to be Toronto mayor.
One could consider him the mayoral candidate of students, as his campaign revolves around bettering the lives of Toronto youth, focusing on youth programs and services.
Sit said he is all too familiar with the tribulations youth face growing up, specifically with age discrimination, an issue that’s bombarded him his entire life.
Throughout his high school years at Malvern Collegiate Institute, Sit balanced his academics with student council and part-time jobs. While at different places of employment, he noticed a trend: co-workers undermined his abilities because of his age.
Their failure to recognize his skills was frustrating, and it inspired him to make youth discrimination the centre of his political campaign.
“Even now at 21, I face age discrimination. When I go into a convenience store, the clerk looks at me like I’m a thief.
“Just because I’m young doesn’t mean I’m going to shoplift, and I don’t like being singled out. Young people must not be singled out and I’m implementing that in my campaign.”
Sit is very grassroots when it comes to his charming and down-to-earth campaign.
He set aside $300 for his publicity necessities such as business cards, pamphlets and brochures. He also created an online auction on eBay, hoping a few generous, politically conscious individuals would shell out $25 each to support him.
He didn’t get a single bid.
“I thought my approach was honest and I’ve never seen anyone do something like that,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt to give it a shot. If it fails, it fails. Either way, it’s a learning aspect regardless of what happens.”
Doing what successful students do best, Sit is taking what he’s learned from his past and applying it to his future.
After 2005’s “Summer of the Gun,” Sit plans to work alongside police to ensure they patrol the city’s side streets to deter youth crime.
“Over the summer there was a spike in the youth violence. I want to propose and implement community programs that will get youth off the street and involved in sports and recreational activities,” he said.
He hopes that when it comes time to cast a ballot, age won’t be against him.
“I want to demonstrate to the public that although we are young and inexperienced, we can do what the average adult can do,” said Sit. “The possibilities for young people are endless.”