Gina Grattan, 22, first dipped her toes in political activism while studying sustainability and English at the University of King's College in Halifax.
“I did a lot of organizing around free tuition and education and so that kind of led me to get involved with the NDP, because obviously, that's one of their key beliefs, that education should be free,” Grattan said.
“That's kind of how I made the segue into politics, because it's kind of a tangible way to make a difference and to stand up . . . for the values I believe in.”
Grattan’s job as a volunteer co-ordinator is to get the ball rolling ahead of the writ period and create a base of volunteers for NDP candidate Christine Saulnier’s campaign.
As a student campaigning in a student town, Grattan said she finds it easy to connect with other young people about issues that affect her generation.
“When we're going door to door the things we're hearing the most is students are buried in debt and something definitely needs to change.”
Another area Grattan said her peers are extremely passionate about is climate change, something she thinks is driving a new era of political engagement for young people.
“The youth do want to get involved ... we actually had a couple of high schoolers who just randomly showed up to volunteer one day, I was like ‘this is incredible,’” she said.
Grattan said she believes lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 — something the NDP has pushed for — would significantly improve youth political engagement.
“I do think that we're kind of seeing how we're being affected more and more directly than maybe in the past ... I think that itself is like a change within the past couple of years and I think that's propelling youth voters to push for things,” she said.
— Andrea Gunn