Katrina Di Raddo | Opinion

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

Why should students care about the IGNITE elections? I don’t know.

How do you make students care about a student body election? You would think the very idea of a student body election would garner their interest and get them involved. It’s much more complicated than that, and not for many of the reasons that the youth vote is often lacking in public elections.

At most schools, the student body, including IGNITE, is run by students elected to one-year terms. Some of the candidates that step up have big and bold ideas. Like a typical politician, they run on a platform of promises.

As The Avro Post uncovered last year, IGNITE’s elected officials do a pretty poor job at keeping those promises. Some broken promises are simply ignored; perhaps the particular executive was a good talker but not a good walker, and thought the executive gig would look good on their resume.

On the other hand, other broken promises are unfortunately understandable – they have one year to plan and execute a major project, while still responsible for fulfilling their role as a student.

So how do other schools do it?

Some schools, like Western University, have candidates who run with a full campaign team. This team supports their candidate and helps in the development of campaign materials, videos, a website, a detailed written platform, and collecting endorsements.

Almost like a real election, right? What better way to show the student body you mean business than by portraying yourself that way.

For as long as I’ve been at the University of Guelph-Humber, campaigns for IGNITE elections were always run solo. There were no teams, no videos, no websites – or at least nothing prominent enough for me to have seen and/or remembered.

Just far too many tacky posters plastered in just about every crevice of campus. In my opinion, such a low-scale campaign removes any hype and severely lacks professionalism.

Why should students bother with their time? (Yes there are reasons – this is rhetorical).

At the same time, IGNITE tries to maintain a credible campaign cycle each year by hosting events such as campus debates. First of all, there’s usually only a handful of students that attend; an incredibly poor show of engagement.

Those that do attend are often the keeners – the ones that actually care and have solid questions. While the candidates muster up an often-scripted answer, nobody is there to really hear it anyway. Who are those answers accountable to, then?

Nobody. We know that. IGNITE’s lack of accountability and transparency has been criticized multiple times in various channels. This is nothing new.

To sum it up:

  • The school has low student engagement
  • Their elections are individualized and lackluster
  • There are more broken promises than kept promises
  • There is no direct accountability of the student government

So again, I ask: Why should students even care?


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual, including The Avro Post. Our Opinion Policy.

Image of Katrina Di Raddo supplied.

Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a freelance journalist. He founded The Avro Post in October 2017. He writes for Breaking911 and Guelph Politico, among others. Feel free to connect at ELIRIDDER@ICLOUD.COM or at ELIRIDDER.CA

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