Urban Governance, Law and Policy

PAYCE working group logo of a raised hand

Project Title: PAYCE Canada

Participation and Advancement of Youth Civic Engagement (PAYCE) is a student-led Student Academy working group whose goal is to increase political engagement, specifically voting, among young voters ages 16-30. Through the creation of accessible information using social media, they will explain platforms, develop news events and share information on the ever-changing political environment during the lead-up to the 2019 Federal Elections


Presentation Description

We are a non-partisan group of students, working within the School of Cities, at the University of Toronto (Canada). Through the use of discussion groups, social media, Vote PopUps, and more, we intend on increasing youth civic engagement, particularly encouraging them to vote. We hope to do so by explaining political platforms, translating news events and academic journals, and providing information on where and how to vote. 

Working Group Members

  • Ella Benedetti (Graduate Representative) – Master's in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies
    Ella is currently completing a master‘s program in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Toronto, but her academic expertise lies primarily in Gender, Sexuality, Feminism and Social Justice (GSFS). She completed her undergraduate degree in GSFS at McGill University, a cross-disciplinary degree that presented the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics that pertain directly to the topics of gender, sexuality, feminism, race and social justice. She is the Positive Space Assistant with the Positive Space Committee and is a mentor at Big Sisters Hamilton. Ella is passionate about social justice, art, music and thoughtful debate.
  • Lena Sanz Tovar (Undergraduate Representative) – Bachelor in Human Geography and Urban Studies
    Lena is an individual curious to engage in conversations and connect with resources to help me acquire a greater understanding of the positionality and intersectional identities of individuals. This curiosity has cultivated her passion for travelling, exposing herself to other cultures, ways of living, and deepening her understanding of the world through interactions with natural & built environments. Through her work with PAYCE, Lena hopes to create inclusive strategies that focus on better-integrating marginalized persons in political and civic conversations on electoral processes, in particular, regarding the upcoming Federal election. Her areas of interest include participatory planning, advocacy, civic engagement, contested spaces, urban policy, citizenship & immigration; however, when she’s not in class, studying or working, she loves to develop recipes and style food for her food instagram, @LenaTakesLife!
  • Rachel Kusuma Giles – PHD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    Rachel is an aquatic ecology and pollution researcher in the Rochman Lab. She is curious about how cities, and the pollution that they create, affect the wildlife that live in the ecosystems in and around cities. Rachel is excited to be a part of the PAYCE team, contributing her environmental and scientific expertise to the information-translation process. When she is not knee-deep in Toronto’s Humber river, you can find Rachel dancing, strolling through the Royal Ontario Museum, picking through trash with the U of T Trash Team, or cooking at home with her cat Taro.
  • Adrian Roy – Master's in Civil Engineering
    Adrien is currently completing an MASc in Civil Engineering with a focus in sustainable infrastructure and greenhouse gas emission mitigation. He has always had a passion for engaging in multidisciplinary work; integrating social sciences, policy, and economic thought and methodology into his course-work, his research, and his extracurricular interests. Adrien is looking to one day bring his technical educational background into a political setting to help bridge the gap between engineering, education, and politics. As such, he sees great value in the work he and his colleagues at PAYCE are undertaking: Enabling the engagement of a new generation of voters on a broad spectrum of political topics. In his free time Adrien enjoys staying fit, typically with a goal in mind (this year the Bracebridge triathlon) and discovering what the arts and culture scene of the vibrant city of Toronto has to offer.
  • Isobel McLean – Bachelor in Architectural Studies
    Isobel is currently completing a BA in Architecture at the Daniels Faculty at U of T. She is interested in finding links between the built environment and community resilience, especially in the rapidly urbanizing world. Isobel is eager to be a part of the PAYCE Team, using her expertise in design to translate political information into fun infographics. In the moments in between studying, drawing and work, Isobel enjoys wandering through Kensington Market and Chinatown to find ingredients for her next culinary experiment.
  • Napas Thein – Bachelor in Public Policy and Urban Studies
    Napas is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Public Policy and Urban studies. He has also volunteered in city politics. He is interested in honing his skills and creative pursuits in areas of economic, political, and social research and advocacy. He also has a strong interest in helping solve urban issues specifically along the lines of political engagement and urban development. He is involved in creating content, doing research, organizing notes, and helping in the PAYCE meetings. 
  • James Hannay – Bachelor in Peace, Conflict, & Justice Studies and Public Policy, with a minor in Economics
    James Hannay is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto pursuing a double major in Public Policy and Peace, Conflict, and Justice Studies. He was keen to join the School of Cities as a way to practice the ideas that are discussed between academics and policy-makers. Being a part of PAYCE at the School of Cities opened James up to consideration of the issue of information dissemination in the modern age. His interests lie in climate change, tax and income policy, and his two German Shepherds.