Campus Life
How a single vote can change everything
by Gabby Dumonceaux | February 27, 2020

All in favour, say I!

Elections are like Raptors games.

That sounds like the setup to a cheesy joke, but we promise it’s not. Think about it: there’s competing teams, both trying to achieve the same goal, but only one will come out on top. Sometimes things get really close, keeping spectators on the edges of their seats.

Although, despite their similarities, elections, and Raptors games have one key difference: with elections, the input of the public determines the results.

It’s like if cheering for Serge Ibaka made him sink a game-winning three-pointer.

The 2019 NBA finals definitely would’ve been less stressful if public encouragement could guarantee a win. But while the Raptors have to rely more on alley-oops than applause, your IGNITE student leaders secure their spot on the Board of Directors (BOD) based entirely on your support.

Voting for your BOD means you get to decide who calls the shots on campus, and, by extension, you get to decide the direction IGNITE takes in the future.

So, get out there and vote! Election week is March 9-13.

What’s in it for me?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Campus would be a lot better if [blank]”?

Voting can help make that happen. When you choose the people in charge, you choose the programs that are implemented.

For example, in 2017, former Lakeshore VP Allisa Lim noticed a lack of resources for students during their periods at school. In response, she spearheaded IGNITE’s Pads & Tampons Project, which now provides free menstrual kits to students on all campuses.

Lim had the best interest of her fellow students in mind because her fellow students elected her into her position. Period.

Allisa Lim
Former IGNITE Lakeshore VP Allisa Lim, c. 2017

If the free stuff isn’t enough, voting has also been shown to have positive mental health benefits.

It’s an altruistic activity, which means it’s something someone does out of genuine concern for the well-being of others. Engaging in altruism has been shown to improve mood and increase social skills because it distracts you from your personal problems and encourages you to prioritize the greater good.

Basically, voting is self-care.

Okay, but my vote doesn’t matter anyway.

To quote one of pop music’s most iconic princesses,

Britney Spears leans into a microphone and says, "That is false."

It’s true that IGNITE represents a lot of students (around 35,000, to be exact). But, that doesn’t mean your individual vote won’t make a difference.

Jamell N. A. Henderson, MPA, of the Huffington Post summarized voter influence really well in his shareholder analogy. Here’s the gist:

Say you’re in charge of a successful business and you want to make some changes. You present your ideas to your shareholders, but some of them disagree with you and propose their own plan. So, you call a vote.

If only 10 per cent of your shareholders choose to participate, their opinions will seriously affect the other 90 per cent. That means the majority of investors stand to have their best interests completely ignored because they chose not to voice their opinion.

Essentially, the more people show up and vote, the more of the population is represented. As a result, more of the population is benefited by the results.

The more people vote, the more each vote matters.

Michelle Obama says, "We are always stronger together," into a microphone.

Not convinced? Well, history disagrees. In the last two decades, over a dozen elections have ended in a tie or been decided by a single vote.

In 2010, Democrat Sarah Buxton defeated Republican David Ainsworth by one vote in pursuit of a Vermont state house seat. They rematched in 2016, and this time, Ainsworth came out on top—also by one vote.

If one voter had decided to stay home in either of these elections, things in Vermont could’ve been totally different.

Do you know what’s headquartered in Vermont? Ben and Jerry’s. That’s right—one vote made the difference in the future of the world’s best ice cream.

Noah from "The Notebook" says, "I want all of you, forever. You and me, every day." to a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

I don’t have time!

If you’ve got time to stop by Tims for a coffee before class, you’ve got time to vote. It can take as little as five minutes—you show up, have your say and head out on your way. (Yeah, that rhymed.)

And, if you don’t have time to stop by Tims before class, you can still participate! You can cast your ballot online anytime during Election Week.

No time to lose? You can still help choose! (Yeah, that rhymed. Again.)

I just don’t care.

To be blunt, you should.

If you gave your roommate $50 to buy snacks for a party, you’d want to make sure they were getting good ones. We’re talking brand name here—those generic Doritos that say they’re “flamin’ hot” but are actually blander than the last season of Game of Thrones? They just won’t cut it.

It’s your money; you deserve a say in how it’s spent. Right?

Ygritte and Jon Snow from Game of Thrones are inches apart as Ygritte tells Jon, "You're mine."

The same principles apply to school.

As a Humber College or University of Guelph-Humber student, you pay mandatory non-academic fees on top of your tuition. IGNITE uses a portion of those fees to enrich your student experience through advocacy, leadership opportunities, future skill and career development, academic support, and wellness initiatives.

When you vote, you exercise your right to have some authority over where your money goes. Only, instead of buying party snacks, we use your money to fund programs like the Soupbar, that make student life easier, and the Career Boutique, that helps you land your dream job.

Although, for the record, I always buy brand name Doritos.

A person holds out a Dorito to a goat, who licks the flavour coating off of the chip.

Put simply, voting in the IGNITE election gives you direct influence over how we improve your life. It’s quick, it’s easy and it ensures you’re getting the things you want out of your student experience. After all, nobody knows what you need better than you do.

Tell us, and we’ll do our best to make sure you get it.


Learn more about what’s at stake by checking out how IGNITE changed student lives last year.

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