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Okanagan College Students' Union campaign mobilizes young voters

(Clockwise from back left) Javid Wu, executive chairperson of Okanagan College Students
(Clockwise from back left) Javid Wu, executive chairperson of Okanagan College Students' Union, Trevor Martens, Jeremy Durrer and Aska Nakamura began the Rock the Vote BC campaign in the Okanagan College Centre for Learning atrium Monday. The purpose of the campaign is to educate and mobilize students and young voters in the Okanagan during the 100 days before the May 14 election.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

Javid Wu won't be voting in the B.C. provincial election May 14.

It's not because he's apathetic or uneducated; in fact, he's quite the opposite.

Wu, the executive chairperson of the Okanagan College Students' Union, is a Chinese international student, so voting in the provincial election isn't an option for him.

But that's not stopping him from taking action.

Wu and other volunteers began the Rock the Vote BC campaign at the college Monday.

"It's really important to encourage young people to get out there, vote and raise their voices," said Wu.

"(Some) don't think their vote matters, they don't think that it could make a change. But, if we all think like that, nothing is going to happen."

The goal of the campaign is to educate and mobilize students and young voters in the Okanagan in the 100 days leading up to the May. 14 provincial election.

Monday's Rock the Vote BC kickoff featured a t-shirt design station, a "Why I'm voting" photo booth and trained volunteers helped potential voters register and educated them on post-secondary issues such as tuition fees, high student debt and financial aid.

Wu said the amount of student interest in the campaign was slightly lower than what they had hoped for, but noted those who stopped by discussed issues such as transportation, housing and tuition costs.

He added the group will continue the campaign with weekly events during the 100 days leading up to the election.

The target is to register 600 student voters at the Kelowna campus.

"One of the greatest predictors of voter turnout is registration status," said Chad Athay, campaigns director for the students' union.

"If a student or youth is registered, there is a much higher probability of them turning out on election day."

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

 

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