Earlier this week I had a chance to meet with Alexandria Mitchell and her campaign manager, D. Matthew Millar. We met in my office in the Anthropology-Sociology Building in between my Tuesday lectures. I would have prefered a more informal setting - but one takes the times that are avaible in our busy schedules!
Alexandria, Alex to her friends and colleagues, is a second year Arts student at UBC with a record of public and volunteer engagement that would put many older adults to shame. From her earlier years in high school Alex has been prolifically engaged in environmental causes in the lower mainland. She was a youth delegate at the Copenhagen Climate Conference several years ago and has been an invited youth representative on a range of local and regional environmental boards. Clearly she has the experience in public service to stand above the typical first or second year student that I meet through the course of my work day - in fact, she's the very model of students that I would love to see populate my courses - she strikes me as way more interested in learning and making a difference than in grade grubbing!
All this experience aside I asked Alex why a voter such as myself should consider voting for a youngster from the valley. Her answer was far more considered than my question. "I bring a level of experience passion and commitment to this position" she explained. "I live on campus; I'm committed to engaging all voters in the electoral area."
Alex certainly has the experience to do so She was one of the leaders of the UBC Vote mob campaign that focused on bringing out student votes during the most recent federal election campaign.
Alex has strong green credentials. She sits on a provincial board concerned with rural issues, was a youth delegate at the COP 15 UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, and is a member of the Fraser Basin Council’s Air Quality/Climate Change Task Force.
Alex is also a strong advocate of the UBC Farm and the protection of regional parks and greenspace. Based on what I have found checking her history of involvement her advocacy stands on more than simple promises - she's actively involved in the issues. Whereas some of the park supporters in recent years from the UEL and nearby Vancouver Neighbourhoods have focused on saving parks for their own use, Alex has a wider regional perspective that understands local needs but also sees them in the wider regional context.
One things is certain in this election -we have a strong field of candidates for Metro Director. In the past a vote for the student candidate would have been wasted vote. I don't think that's the case with Alex. She has the skills, the time, and most importantly the experience to do an excellent job.