By Sierra Bein
The Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) election is slowly coming up and these few weeks are when you should care the most about student politics.
Trying to make students give a shit about student government is a hard sell, ironically. Voter turnout has been as low as five per cent in 2014 when I first came to Ryerson. Now, with online voting you have no goddamn excuse. You’re on your phone anyway.
Last year, voter turnout jumped up to nearly 20 per cent, but that’s still pretty dismal. If even just half of all you students voted, that could have changed the entire outcome of the election by a landslide.
For the next week, three different slates will be campaigning and fighting for your attention—just give it to them. If there is anything we’ve learned about our government, it’s that we should pay attention.
Million dollar deficits? Fraudulent companies? Resignations and layoffs? These are things that are done with your money. About $125 from each student per year, to be exact.
Even if you don’t care about platforms, candidates or campaign promises, you have to care about where your dollars are going. Each executive will be making the salary of a full-time job (over $30,000 a year), and their responsibility is literally to make YOU happy. So, if you aren’t happy you better say something.
And while you are (hopefully) paying attention to what you like in a campaign, also look at the things you want to change. Hold these people accountable to the words they say for the next few weeks. Take notes about the promises they make during their speeches and compare it to the way they act once in office (or just read The Eyeopener articles about it all).
I’ve always been confused about why students love to talk about the provincial and federal elections, but won’t participate in their own level of government. Student politics ain’t glamorous, but why not have your voice heard while you’re here? It’s still your money, your space and your community. Our little community is also a microcosm of the outside world. You’d be a fool to let your voice go to waste here. A FOOL.
This year’s split RSU government was the first in nearly a decade, resulting in an oddly exciting and tense year. Since I can remember, only full slates would win the elections at once—meaning everyone on the same team was on the government and had total control more or less. With three slates running and fighting hard for your votes, I can only imagine what next year will bring.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch the RSU government transform in wild ways since my first days on this campus. I won’t be here to watch how these elections unfold next year, but I hope for growth, responsibility, accountability… and only a little bit of drama.