The Small Things: October Reading Week and the 2018 Municipal Election

By Joey Coleman // @JoeyColeman
Published: Jun 02 2017 (a month ago) // Last Updated: Jun 02 2017 (25 days ago)

tl;dr: During the discussion of a academic paper, the author noted that Fall Reading Week at Ontario Universities will fall just two weeks before the 2018 municipal election. This is something that didn't occur to me in my recent post about McMaster students engaging municipally.

As many of you who follow me closely on Twitter know, I've been at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences this week at Ryerson University.

The Congress, commonly known by its nickname The Learneds is the largest annual academic gathering in Canada.

During the past three days, I attended the presentation of approximately 50 academic papers, of which approximately 30 were of particular interest to me. (Papers are presented in groups of three or four, if I'm interested in one, I'm hearing four)

Thursday afternoon, I attended a session on Youth Political Engagement specifically for two papers, one on how Trent mobilized the youth vote in 2015's federal race, and the other on youth experiences in Whitefish River First Nation.

Both of these papers are extremely relevant to my coverage in Hamilton - we have a slightly above average percentage of our population who are youth. We also have a significant Indigenous youth population. How do we engage them?

Unfortunately, the academic presenting the Whitefish River paper was ill and unable to present. I'm going to contact them to discuss their paper for a future story.

In the Trent paper, I asked their thoughts on getting students to vote municipally. In the discussion, Ashley Fearnall noted that the October reading week will present a challenge to engagement falling the week before the October 22, 2018 vote for some campuses.

This is something I hadn't thought about, and I'm really glad that it was mentioned because it could be very significant in preventing - for example - special advance polls as a option for giving students the opportunity to vote on campus.

Also during the discussion, one of the academics asked if there is research into engaging non-student youth in voting. Again, something I hadn't given much thought to.

In the coming weeks, you'll see stories and hear radio shows about the "big" ideas I'll cover and discuss from this week; but in that, I cannot under estimate the importance of the "small" things I've picked up this week.

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