VoteBetter is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative created by postsecondary alumni, with and for postsecondary students.

Steph | March 20, 2019

The concept of VoteBetter has been on my mind for some time now. It was just under two years ago that I was actively involved in student campus politics while completing my undergrad at Ryerson. I distinctly remember the desire to get involved in my community, and yet the difficulty and seemingly endless number of challenges I faced in doing so.

In an effort to learn more about the experiences of postsecondary campus voters, I created a survey in January of 2019 entitled- Survey on the State of Student Politics at Ryerson University and sent this survey to 60 of my peers on Facebook- all of whom were Ryerson students or alumni. Here’s what I learned:

  • There is limited awareness among the general student body regarding the structure, processes, and roles of student organizations on campus (e.g. the Ryerson Students' Union);
  • There may be considerable difficulty determining who the best candidate is for any given position; and
  • Students do not feel empowered as voters to take advantage of the ways in which they can hold their elected representatives accountable.

Above all arose the need for adopting a holistic approach to tackling these challenges. This means not just encouraging people to vote once a year but building capacity before and after the elections. Civic engagement is more than just casting a ballot, it’s about what has to happen before and after the ballot is cast to keep people motivated to go back to the polls.

These three challenges informed the core objectives of VoteBetter:

  • Make transparent the structures, processes, and roles of student organizations on campus;
  • Foster an environment of political dialogue where candidates campaign around issues that matter most to students; and
  • Hold elected representatives accountable to their campaign promises through the meticulous and non-partisan tracking of deliverables.

I graduated from Ryerson in the spring of 2017 but still feel very much a part of the student campus community (if you are also alumni, please tell me I’m not the only one!). Students are opinionated, autonomous, outspoken, and learning to become politically aware. Many of us are tech-savvy and adapt to new ways in which technology can enhance our everyday lives. Most of all, we want to have a say on issues that matter to and affect us. If student campus politics have left you feeling discouraged or confused, you’re definitely not alone. I know we can do better and I’m excited for the journey ahead.

Thank you for taking the time to visit VoteBetter. We’ve covered a lot of ground to get here but there’s still a lot to learn. I'd love to have you join us for the ride.

Our Team

Stephanie Cheung

Ryerson Alumna (2017)

Founder of VoteBetter. GTA born and raised program enthusiast and evaluation ninja. Happy to chat and share ideas!

Matt Welke

Seneca Alumni (2018)

Toronto software developer. Passionate about open source, teaching, transit and other civic issues.

Eldon Gonio

York Alumni (2017)

Front end developer from Toronto, Ontario. Nerdy about UX design. Likes Gaming and Arts.