With the 2017 University Student’s Council Presidential elections coming up very shortly, the USC is looking to incentivize their constituents to vote. Less than 8000 students voted in the last USC elections, that isn’t even 25% percent.
Erin MaCauley, Chief Returning Officer of the USC, says that their goal is to educate students on the importance of voting in the upcoming elections by holding seminars open to the student body. As well, they will be giving free coffee to anyone who pledges to cast their vote and is willing to sign up to an email list that will update them on the happenings of the election.
Fourth year political science student Tyler O’brien says that he thinks the coffee is a nice gesture, but that the systemic issue with student engagement is not the lack of incentive on behalf of the USC. Instead, he thinks that a majority of students don’t realize how important the USC is, and the scope of potential success with the election of a productive student government. He thinks that there needs to be more education to the constituents about what the USC does, how it operates, and make it less about the ‘caffeine incentive’.
Engagement has been an issue that the USC has been struggling with this entire year, as brought up by President Eddy Avila during last week’s USC State of the Address. The current administration likes where they are headed though, they think that by giving students motivation to engage it certainly does help.
O’Brien adds, “it’s hard for a government of any kind to be a voice of it’s constituents if a vast majority don’t vote. ”
The Presidential election campaign kicks off in January 2017.