OPINION: We have a problem if students only vote to get free popcorn

by | Mar 5, 2019 | Opinion

Elesha Nicholls

I walked into Humber North shortly after Reading Week and was greeted by the smell of popcorn. One thing you can count on in Humber is to get some type of snack — popcorn being the most popular choice — to make students do something, like sign up for an IGNITE bursary or get more information about an upcoming event.

This time, however, it was different. There were no prizes, nor a was a bursary being offered. Just an exercise in the right to vote.

It was the start of elections at the college and they were grabbing student’s attention by giving away bigger than usual bowls of this buttery salty snack.

I had some extra time on my hands so I said, “why not?” I was briefed about the candidates. There are two running for president, five for vice-president North, three candidates for vice-president at the University of Guelph-Humber and two vice-president candidates at Lakeshore. Another 13 are running for board members.

IGNITE’s budget was about $11 million. That is a heady responsibility they are seeking to take on.

But while in line I overheard many students say, “I’m only voting so I can get the popcorn you know” or “I’m choosing randomly.”

My subconscious screamed about our collective future: “WE’RE ALL SCREWED!”

I was also thinking about the people who deserved to be in office being snubbed because a bunch of hungry students closed their eyes, played Eenie Meenie Minie Mo and made their decision based on what name their finger fell on.

It is a tactic many students were using to choose the next president, VP, and board of directors. It was just all around bad.In recent news, a scandal at the Ryerson University Student Union shocked many when it was revealed funds were being misused at places such as bars, Airbnbs, and the LCBO.

With a story like this as the backdrop, one would think students would be more cautious when electing other students to govern the things we need most at school, such as accessibility, insurance, bursaries and extra-curricular activities, sports and celebrity appearances.

Elections end March 1 and for the rest of the week, more students will be enticed to vote because of this guaranteed snack of popcorn. I see a huge problem with this because if we’re making important decisions like this based on the emptiness of our guts, then we are really are screwed. It also proves how young people are easily swayed and want to be rewarded for every little thing that we do, big or small.

Voting is a privilege. It helps bring the right candidates into power to bring about change that will better everyone.

Humber needs to scrap the snacks for serious moments like these and choose better interactive ways to get the student body engaged, and not force feeding us with movie theatre snacks.