Sofia Hashi | Fulcrum Staff
WE’VE BECOME ACCUSTOMED to ignoring those posters stamped on walls all over campus. We don’t even notice the smiling figures on the flyers, let alone read what they’re promoting. With the barrage of advertisements and images assaulting our vision on a daily basis, it’s no wonder we’ve tuned out. But this time of year we should pay a little more attention. These posters are more than just your average advertisement—they’re about the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) elections.
Last year a dismal 14 per cent of the 30,000 undergraduate students enrolled at the U of O voted in the SFUO elections. You don’t have to be a mathematician to recognize how abysmal that number is.
We are a political school, something I’ve always been proud of. We’re just a few steps away from Parliament Hill and our proximity to the highest governing body in Canada shows in our spirit. The protests students participate in and the clubs they join demonstrate our campus’ desire to get involved. So why isn’t there better voter turnout for the SFUO elections?
I suspect if we all realized just how much the SFUO did for us, the queue at the polling station would be longer than a Tim Hortons line at nine a.m. The SFUO offers 12 services that are meant to enrich our lives at students. There are also other initiatives the SFUO has been involved in, including extended 24 hour Morisset Library hours during exam periods and even the controversial U-Pass. Our governing body is important—we all know that on some level, but sometimes we seem to forget.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to force you to attend all the debates, ask the candidates questions, and stay up on election night refreshing the Fulcrum’s website for the results as they come in. Instead, I ask the bare minimum from all students: learn who’s running the SFUO campaigns and then vote. Yes, it might be a pain to take 20 minutes out of your day when you’d much rather be playing Ruzzle or Temple Run on your iPhone, but if you don’t learn about your presidential candidates, only you will suffer. And if there’s an SFUO policy you don’t particularly like, you won’t have anyone to complain to but yourself for not having cared enough to make a trip to the ballot box—just ask anyone who disagrees with the U-Pass.
This year, let’s make a promise to each other. Instead of passing by the brightly coloured elections posters, let’s read them. Instead of crossing the street to avoid the campaign helpers, let’s…not. They don’t bite. And make a promise to go out to the polling station and vote. You really don’t have an excuse not to.