Carissa Wilson, North Island Students’ Union executive director. File photo

Carissa Wilson, North Island Students’ Union executive director. File photo

Off The Page: Talking municipal elections with… students

“Voter turnout at the municipal level is low”

For the next few weeks on Off The Page, we are doing something a little bit different from our usual format. With the upcoming municipal election on Oct. 15, we wanted to take a look at what you – our listeners and readers of the Comox Valley Record – have to say, particularly on what you care about in this election.

What is important to you? Are you planning on voting? Why or why not?

With the goal of finding out these answers, we’ve gathered different groups of people together to ask what’s on their minds as they prepare to cast their votes.

In this episode, we’re talking with Carissa Wilson, North Island Students’ Union executive director for a student perspective.

Q. In terms of students, how do you get them interested in elections and actually get them out to vote?

Wilson: Coffee. All jokes aside, tabling events. Standing in their common spaces with coffee. I like to include coffee because the time it takes to put sugar and cream in is long enough for me to talk about an important event like municipal elections.

You’re right. Voter turnout at the municipal level is low. I think that the average citizen and therefore the average student doesn’t necessarily understand the scope of a municipal election, and what our city and village councillors actually reach an impact on.

Q: What are some of the concerns that are present for students in this upcoming election?

Wilson: I think transit’s still ongoing; the length of the schedule. We still see such reduced scheduling on weekends.

Our members are actually working in particular on Sunday. So students have to work on the weekends when they’re not in class. Being able to have that mobility around our region is really important. So we do hear feedback about increased transit capacity that would be a big benefit later.

Q: Are there areas that you hope to improve with whoever is voted on in the future council?

I think access has been pretty reasonable. Yes. They’re able to come to campus during our celebratory moments, which is, I think, really important. When we can build a bit of a relationship in the good times.

Then when we have something to pressure, they’re a little more enticed to listen to us. Most recently we celebrated the announcement of student housing on the Comox Valley campus. Mayor Bob Wells was there and several of the other council members. And that opportunity to celebrate together has opened the door for other tougher conversations.

For the rest of the interview, listen above or search for Off The Page wherever you download podcasts.

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