Student Covering Election for National Paper

April 28, 2011 - News Release

A University of Guelph student selected to write guest columns for the Toronto Star during the current federal election wants to ensure that the youth voice is heard.

At just 18, Harrison Jordan is one of the youngest members of the national newspaper’s Youth Panel 2011, whose big names include Craig Kielburger, founder and chair of Free the Children, and Keshia Chante, a Canadian Juno Award winner and acclaimed singer, songwriter and actor.

The 34 panel members have written guest columns and posed daily questions to candidates to stimulate debate.

So far, a spot on this prestigious panel has enabled Jordan to publish three articles and a video on the Toronto Star website.

“I love being able to capture the voice of the students,” said the first-year student in criminal justice and public policy. “The youth at the University of Guelph are terribly excited about the election. Being on the panel allows me to showcase to Canada what Guelph students are all about and how we are at the forefront of encouraging youth to get enthusiastic about the election and vote.”

University of Guelph students have received significant national media attention recently for staging a vote mob. Held during a visit to Guelph by Conservative leader Stephen Harper, the event has sparked vote mobs on campuses across the country. A special ballot held on campus April 14 has also attracted the media spotlight.

In his first Toronto Star column, published April 22, Jordan wrote about how important special ballots are in providing a student voice, particularly as the official voting day for the current federal election will fall after students leave their university communities for summer. He quoted U of G student Yvonne Su, co-organizer of the special ballot and the vote mob, who said she was disappointed with Elections Canada’s decision to discontinue special ballots on campuses.

In his April 27 column, Jordan writes about attention paid by Guelph-area candidates to the youth vote, shown through University meet-and-greets. He says politicians have made the U of G campus a stop on their campaign routes and students are helping to support local candidates’ campaigns. His column includes the perspectives of four local candidates on the importance of the youth vote.

“I decided to write the article because I felt there wasn’t enough media coverage about what local candidates are doing,” he said. “Stories seemed to be too focused on the parties as a whole. I not only wanted people to realize that the local candidates are trying to win the youth vote through meet-and-greets but also wanted to show youth that their vote does matter.”

Referring to the previous federal election, he said, “In Guelph the Liberals won by just 2,000 votes, so capturing the attention of even a portion of the 20,000 U of G students can really make a difference.”

Jordan's most recent column published May 2 reiterates the importance of the youth vote in this election. In the article, local candidates discuss ways they are trying to engage youth. He also includes quotes from students talking about what political issues are important to them.

Jordan also produced a video on voting opinions of U of G students, which appears on the newspaper’s website. To view the video, click on the link and hit play on the video box on the right-hand side.

Although this is his first time writing as a guest columnist for the Toronto Star, Jordan is no stranger to the media.

Recently he was publicist for the “Appeal for Emil” protest that attracted national headlines and helped overturn the suspension of Toronto high school student Emil Cohen for criticizing his school's physical education department.

“My work with 'Appeal for Emil' and the writing I am currently doing for the Toronto Star are both driven by my passion to ensure the voices of youth are heard.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338,, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982,

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1