Along with the results of the Manitoba provincial election, the winners of the VoteAnyWay project’s public service announcement contest were announced last week.
The “VoteAnyWay” initiative, organized by professors and students at the University of Manitoba, is a non-partisan effort to raise the level of knowledge and awareness of politics in the province, especially among young people aged 18-25.
In order to combat low turnout in youth, a public service announcement contest had been offered to people in Manitoba aged 18-25.
Contestants were challenged to design the most effective youth voting advertisement, at a maximum length of 29 seconds. Prizes offered include a $400 Apple Store gift certificate for the first place submission and a $100 Apple Store gift certificate for second place entry. The deadline for the contest was Sept. 29, 2011.
The winners in the young adult category, and the recipients of the $400 gift certificate, are Daniel Schipper and Alex Herbold for their videos “Elections Pizza” and “Bucket and Vote.”
“I figured that as a politically engaged young person, I could help contribute in some small way to their noble goal of raising voter awareness among the youth, and submitting a couple of videos seemed like a good way to accomplish that,” Schipper said.
Both Schipper and Herbold are political studies majors at the U of M. Herbold was also involved with the U2011 initiative in the department of political studies.
In deciding how to present the topic in each video, Shipper and Herbold said they considered themes that might be most appealing to youth.
“The pizza idea seemed to be a good vehicle for the message, where we could use lines like ‘I’ll just deliver what everyone else is ordering if you don’t tell me what toppings are important to you’ to make a subtle political point,” Schipper said.
“It’s a very good analogy that fits nicely with the message we were trying to convey,” Herbold added.
The challenge was figuring out how to condense a coherent message that could motivate a young person who has never voted before to participate in the election into 29 seconds, Schipper said.
“We actually had to cut a lot of dialogue out of the scripts and it was a challenge to decide what to leave and what to cut, especially since we still wanted the videos to be somewhat humorous,” said Herbold.
Having to make the choice of what to cut and what to keep in his video led to some tough discussions on why youth have been historically one of the most disengaged groups of voters, said Schipper.
“In the end, despite our complete lack of formal training in the art of filmmaking, I’m proud of the product we managed to put out and found the entire process to be both fun and revealing,” he added.
In addition to the young adult category, a high school category was included in the contest. Students from St. Norbert Collegiate were the winner of this category, with their video “Want a Voice.” They will also receive $400 in certificates
The contest opened to youth during the summer, explained Suzie De Luca, a U of M student involved in the initiative. The contest was advertised throughout high schools and to youth groups throughout the city.
“We encouraged discussion around politics, and it was great to see other universities and colleges in Manitoba also start similar campaigns to educate and inform youth about our democratic rights,” said De Luca.
All three winning videos can be found on the VoteAnyWay YouTube channel: youtube.com/voteanyway.