Balance the Ballot

Balance the Ballot is a student-initiated and run organisation, with students from around the globe involved. Our mission is centred around the idea that well-informed and empowered students are more likely to contribute to society and create a better, more sustainable, and inclusive world. We want to raise awareness about current issues and get youth more involved in and informed about politics. We believe in taking action with urgency in order to raise public awareness about some of the most pressing issues facing today’s society, through educating and empowering the younger generation.

Founded by Beckett McDowell, Balance the Ballot was established upon the recognition that youth are under-involved in politics. By using social media, a platform where many teens find themselves on a daily basis, we are able to effective reach out to our targeted audience. Through this, we are able to bring awareness to many young people about pressing issues occurring in the world such as gun control, climate change, education, equality, mental health and conservation.

By using Instagram as a platform, we update our followers on current events with new stories out every couple of hours. Many of these stories link to the Sustainable Development Goals, as laid out by the United Nations. Balance the Ballot members have different roles including writers, media managers and editors. All of us work together to inform and empower students to contribute to society and create a more sustainable and inclusive world in order to make a measurable difference in the lives of others.

As a media manager, my responsibility is to create a title image for each article and to give visual context to the article. Over the past 10 months, I have created numerous medias for this organization using editing platforms such as Polarr and Canva. Each image is created with a purpose of attracting the audience. I have gained a better awareness and understanding of current events and the importance that this knowledge has on our approach to the conflicting situations.

It is important that I am aware of my decisions and how they may affect others. For example, as a media manager, it is important to find the most appropriate image source which would also entice the audience into reading the article. I once was assigned to create a media for an article that described the horrid event of “9 Bodies Found Hanging From a Bridge in Mexico”. On the internet, there were plenty of images which depicted the explicit scene. It is always best to use images of the actual event but I had to consider how using this image would affect the audience. Using it could possibly cause a frantic and distraught response, which would be undesirable. In the end, I decided to use the image with cropping out the explicit parts.

My experience in Balance the Ballot has taught me the significance in engaging with issues of global significance. Being involved in this organization demands commitment and perseverance as it has required me to keep up to date with current events and to be creating media frequently. I have learnt the importance of having a major role in an organization and how my effort matters. I have also been able to identify my strengths and challenges which has helped me to understand where to allocate more of my endeavour.

IBDP 2 student