Tales of a Commuter: UTSU and the Disconnect

Ah, the last day of the 2010 U.T.S.U election! It's been quite an exciting time at U of T these past few days as our campus has been filled with orange, green, pamphlets, solicitors, music, and why yes, even scandal! At around the same time last year, I wrote a blog post that described my pretty shameful lack of knowledge about the election, campaign slates, and the U.T.S.U in general and so I promised myself that this year, I'd get myself a little more involved...actually take the to learn about each side's platform, and why yes, even chat with a few of the candidates and campaigners that we try so hard to avoid on our way to Sid Smith (I know, right?)! And this wasn't one of those things that I said I would do but wouldn't actually...I've actually been pretty involved this election campaign. I know what each slate stands for, watched the debates, actually knew the people I voted for (and didn't just use the innie, minnie, mynie, moe trick), and omg even read The Varsity for the first time in a very, very long time.

But here's the thing. I'm a student and I'm a commuter. And though I've educated myself about both Change and Stronger Together's campaign platform, I still feel there's this sort of disconnect between myself and U.T.S.U. I've spoken to many commuters about this same issue and almost 100% of them share the same sentiments. True, this wasn't a scientific poll and I really only talked to maybe 20 student commuters out of the thousands at U of T, but something tells me that this is a pretty general feeling. I honestly don't see how some of these things affect me in any direct or tangible sense. The closest thing that might is probably the discount on TTC metropasses (amazing feat btw). But I don't even buy a TTC metropass. It still comes out to be more expensive for me personally than to just buy tokens. And okay fine, fighting to reduce fees is incredibly important but I'm graduating in a year (fingers crossed) and this probably won't happen anytime soon so once again, irrelevant and not applicable to me...

Don't get me wrong, I care about this school and I'm incredibly proud to be a part of it but I can't help shake the feeling that there is and might always be this unbridgeable discord between us. And with all these candidates constantly talking my ear off about how I matter...how they're going to make student life better...and how this is our U of T and that they can and will make a difference...I find myself questioning all these broad, sweeping, and optimistic claims. Anyway, just thought I'd give my thoughts and hopefully a different perspective. Here's hoping that the slate I voted for will bridge that gap for my last and final year at U of T and really, make a change ;)

Original blog post on blogUT.ca