A Completely Unscientific and Informal Exit Poll

After two days of one of the most hotly contended UTSU elections in recent memory, I bring you some preliminary results – that are COMPLETELY UNSCIENTIFIC AND INFORMAL OF COURSE !!! (thanks, CRO) – but interesting nonetheless. The Sexual Education Centre has received permission from the CRO to conduct a poll of voters by inviting them to choose coloured condoms representative of the slate of candidates they support. One of the organizers of the COMPLETELY UNSCIENTIFIC AND INFORMAL poll offered to share them with yours truly after the post written yesterday and my speculation that with more data I might have a future writing for the OkCupid blog. (SEC had decided that everyone would have access to their collected data, regardless of their election affiliation.)
exit polls
The numbers are in and to heighten the suspense I’m going to post them after the jump! Continue reading “A Completely Unscientific and Informal Exit Poll”

UTSU Election: Websites Review Continued

Sorry to all the political junkies out there about the absence of any new posts. So much has been happening both online and in meatspace, and I hope I get a chance to blog about some of it before the news cycle leaves me in the dust.

Exciting news! As of Sunday, the Change website and posters have gotten a redesign. I was looking forward to some content addition under the triangle arrows pointing to “campus life,” “social justice,” “advocacy,” and “save your money.”. (Have they always done the blinky rotation?? I’ve only just noticed it writing this post) The Stronger Together website seems considerably more information-rich in contrast (even if it’s just better layout and copy-writing), I would have thought one of the more pressing priorities would be a presenting their campaign platform in another way than a straight page of text.

Another design element that I really question is the placement of candidate videos. The clips are placed vertically in a row, one after another, requiring the user to scroll down through the page to access each video. Someone who has studied the psychology of graphic design could probably speak better to this than I could but there is a clear sense that the candidates are being ranked in some hierarchy – whether it’s importance, level of responsibility, involvement in the campaign, or some other metric. Steve Masse for President at the top. This unfortunate formatting is compounded by the lack of website space for the individual candidates. Nowhere are any of their names even mentioned on the website other than as the title of the youtube videos. What is up with that?!

As expected, the effect of the video layout can be seen in the number of views each videos get. As of posting time, Steve Masse on the Change slate has 1105 views, far surpassing any other members of the Change team. Adam Awad’s video, on the other hand, has only about 100 more views than three other members of the Stronger Together Slate, all of whose videos are within ten views of each other.

Video Views

Analyze This: UTSU Election Websites Under the Microscope

Hey internet, I was having some serious insomnia so I decided to hammer out another post. To save your eyes from a vomit-wall of text, I’ve decided to break it up into chunks. Internet, you have /no idea/ how close a call that was, because I eat politics for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you’d be here reading for a looooong time. (and so would I! Please, whoever sees me tomorrow, please feed me coffee and veggie pastries anyway. I’m going to need it.)

On to the websites! (My previous blogUT posts are here and here.)

First impressions matter. Unfortunately for my policy-bonk brain, my immediate thought upon reviewing most of the web content from the two campaigns was “I hope they’ve got copyright clearance for their music.” No one wants a repeat of the infamous Stockwell-Day-U2 fiasco of 2000. Up for grabs for all you up-and-coming IP lawyers is a Phoenix track used on the Change slate YouTube videos, a BSS Foo Fighters web intro at the Stronger Together website, and Daft Punk (or is that the Kanye remix?) over the Stronger Together video credits.

The Stronger Together website went up first, and boy is it pretty. Flashy colours, a musical intro, and plenty of web content to keep me occupied while I waited on tether-hooks for two days until the Change website finally went up Wednesday morning. I’m going to be covering the platform content in more details over the next few posts, but let me say first that both websites left me a bit cold.

Make no mistake, everyone sounds really good, and that’s half the problem. Both slates have definitely mastered the language and cadences of what campaign websites ought to look and sound like, but unfortunately that’s all they are: campaign websites. Continue reading “Analyze This: UTSU Election Websites Under the Microscope”

blogUT covers the UTSU elections!

Hello World! Hello Internet!

My name is Jiayi (blog, twitter) and I will be one of your two blogUT correspondents for the upcoming UTSU elections. Joseph Uranowski (blog, Twitter), the other blogger, will soon have some posts up as well.

Now, first things first; declaration of intentions. I can’t promise my posts won’t be partisan since I’ve spent a few hours volunteering with one of the slates already, but I can definitely promise to be entertaining, forth-coming, and spirited. My election promise this year is to tell it like it is – bare bones, warts and all. Even (and maybe,  especially) if it might make the team I support unhappy. After all, isn’t that what democracy and freedom of speech is all about?

So without further ado…HERE ARE THE CANDIDATE SLATES!

The Names


Folks, I am not going to lie. The first thing I thought of when I heard “Stronger Together” was “Gosh, that’s awfully FASCIST”…lots of little sticks being tied together to make one big overpowering totalitarian stick. But that might be a personal sensitivity, since I’m well-aware that one of my greatest flaws is cynicism about individual action. As one of my dear friends said to me, “if there’s a revolution, and they were going around asking for names, I would not nominate you to be Minister of Individual Rights unchecked and without supervision*.” But other than my hypersensitive FASCIST-dar, the name makes a lot of sense for the candidates running. They are all very committed to the idea of student solidarity, and the possibility for a student movement to accomplish great things together. As Utah Phillips sang, when it comes down to it, a union is just a way to get things done together that you can’t get done alone. And like it says on the tin, UTSU is the University of Toronto Student Union.


“Change”, on the other hand, hits me at a very visceral level. Damn right, you can keep your coins, I WANT CHANGE!! Change the poverty overseas and in Canada, change the course of catastrophic climate change, change unjust market access and market control, change discrimination and various forms of oppression…and damn right, I’m going to devote my life to fighting and changing the unjust circumstances that many of us are in. But then I pulled back from the adspeak and thought, “Hang on, change what?”. Do they want to change the same things in the same ways that I do? Thinking back to some of the fascinating ideas raised by Malcolm Gladwell and Mark Kingwell at the social change forum two years ago at ConHall, as well as having read Professors Heath and Potter’s book The Rebel Sell, ‘change’ occurs to me as a concept that can be marketed to everyone and anyone, a ready-made content-free slogan that can be packaged and sold in next season’s high-top all-star converse sneakers, if need be. For someone who holds very dear the promise of social change in way that can alleviate suffering and undue injustice, I’m going to give the next hipster wearing a mass sweatshop-manufactured Che t-shirt the stink-eye. Sorry CHANGE slate, that includes you.


Personal Preference: Neither. Yuck!
Predicted average-six-notebook Josephine Student Preference: CHANGE
Advantage: seeing blogUT is by students for students and thus ought to defer to the masses** rather than singular blogger quarks, CHANGE.


Long live democratic participation! Vivre l’université libre!

*to be more academic about it – I think human rights must also include ‘collective rights’ and some of those collective rights might in some circumstances, trump individual rights.
**see, what did I tell you! there goes my unconscious collectivist again.

Stories and Questions in International Development: Sharing Through Blogs Part I

sunset in Mongu

Tuesday Aug. 12. Today was my last day in Mongu, more importantly perhaps the last day I would ever see Ms. Yvonne and her (my) family ever again. My 2 months in Mongu were filled with ups and downs, but in whatever occasion I could always count on my host family in Zambia to make me feel at home. Not only did they provide me with food and shelter, they sincerely treated me like a member of their family- I was Lozi, I lived in Kambinda Village and I had a family there…I took the bus back to Lusaka at 12am on Tuesday night, and when I said goodbye to my family there was a part of me that knew some day I would be back. I didn’t break down emotionally or even feel like this experience of a lifetime was coming to an end, I just felt like I was hopping on another bus back to Lusaka and I’d be back in a few days! It was a weird feeling, and it’s hard to explain. Even as I’m writing this it feels like I’m going back to Mongu tomorrow, the thought of me never seeing Ms. Yvonne again hasn’t even crossed my mind.

Anyways I’m just rambling on now.
Take care,
Mina In Zambia

WHAT: Stories and Questions in International Development
When: 6:15 PM, Thursday, October 9, 2008
Where: Hart House — Music Room

Continue reading “Stories and Questions in International Development: Sharing Through Blogs Part I”

Get Serving with UofT’s Day(s) of Service

Student Affairs at UofT has been providing programming that connects students to the greater community through projects like tutoring initiatives and directed volunteering opportunities.

A special Reading Week two day activity has been developed for students to learn about urban food security issues. Introductory workshops with guest speakers will take place on Tuesday, February 19th followed by a day of volunteering at the Daily Bread Food Bank on Wednesday, February 20th. The event will be wrapped up with a presentation by Professor Anthony Careless.

It may be Tuesday morning now – but there’s nothing like a last minute seat-of-the-pants volunteering adventure! Register online now!

For more information please visit their website. or contact Dawn Britton (dawn.britton@utoronto.ca)

Can Music Save the Environment?

music environment Watching Madonna’s exhortations of Hey You / Don’t you give up as she took to the stage during Live Earth was probably the lowlight of my summer. Love you as I do, Madge, but owning two Range Rovers, and flying as many as 100 technicians, backup dancers, and managers to the ‘Climate in Crisis’ concert does not a Planeteer make.

It is so bad, and there probably is no chance for us, you-Material Girl, me-earnest treehugger, to be buddy-buddy on the green front, but there has to be more than pseudo-benefit concerts in the intersection of environment and the music industry, right?

A panel discussion presented by the Hart House Music Committee attempts to answer this question. Moderated by Jordan Poppenk (CIUT.fm), speakers Jennifer Larry (Sunrise Records), Candace Alper (Name Your Tune), Liam O’Doherty (UTERN), and Toronto musician Barzin will examine environmental practices in the music industry. The discussion will be followed by a performance from Barzin, whose compositions have been described to “walk a minimalist line between chamber pop, alt-country, and indie rock.” [1]

Time: 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Thursday, February 7, 2008
Venue: Hart House – Arbor Room (lower level)
Admission: FREE (all ages)
Contact: Julia Lo, Mitchell Wong, Arvind Ramesh (stages@harthousemusic.com)
More information: www.harthousemusic.com

[1] http://radio3.cbc.ca/
Image from http://www.barzinh.com/