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February 29, 2008

Ways to tackle student apathy

By Dave Lee STD

Student apathy has, for as long as any of us can remember, been the plague facing campus politics.

It’s election season at universities up and down the country. At the University of Lincoln, Our campus is cluttered with banners reading messages like “Don’t be a tool, vote Sam Yule!” and similar. All the candidates are, obviously, hoping for a high turnout.

Which isn’t surprising: interest in our elections is historically low. In fact, in our last by-election, turnout was less than one per cent. In other words, friends of candidates.

We’re not alone.

Just in the last fortnight, York student Sarah Foster expressed her concern with this opinion piece in Nouse. Another piece found in Cardiff’s Gair Rhydd hails the “largest turn out in Cardiff history”: a whopping 17 per cent. Not bad, but certainly not good.

This piece from Wessex Scene was written way back in 2003, but it still rings true today. How many students vote on the basis of getting a free bag of sweets? Or, even more shamefully, how many vote for just the most attractive candidate?

An other, more recent article from Wessex Scene suggests the problem has not gone away.

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I’d like to open this post up to suggestions. How can a student publication tackle apathy amongst its readers?

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