Voters from 157 countries have told us What Matters

29 October 2012

Polling for the University of Sydney's What Matters campaign, a public engagement campaign to find out what matters to Australians and people around the world, has wrapped up for 2012, having attracted more than 29,000 votes from 157 countries.

The University has now launched a new website summarising the results of the polls, which features updated results on how the world voted, an interactive map showing where votes were cast and what topics were most popular in different areas, and top comments from users. Visitors to the site can also watch all of the videos featured in the What Matters campaign, share them via social media, and contribute to discussion threads on each of the topics.

The What Matters campaign polled five key topics a month for six months, asking members of the public and the university community to cast their votes on what matters to them. Each topic featured University of Sydney staff, students and alumni showcasing their work and explaining why it should matter to the rest of the world.

With the aim of reaching out to people who wouldn't usually engage with the University of Sydney, the campaign focused on the issues that matter to people in Sydney, Australia, and the rest of the world, and demonstrating how our people are working to make a difference in these areas.

"What Matters provided an opportunity for us, as socially engaged scholars, not only to speak about our work with people we might normally not reach, but to speak about it with the passion and excitement we feel about what we do," said Associate Professor Danielle Celermajer, Director of the Asia Pacific Master of Human Rights and Democratisation, who was featured on the topic of preventing human rights abuses. 

Twenty-six online Q and A sessions were held during the campaign, allowing members of the public to ask questions and discuss issues of importance to them with the experts championing their causes.

For law student Senthorun Raj, whose topic attracted more than 4100 votes, the experience reinvigorated his passion for marriage equality: 

"It was a pleasure to be part of the University of Sydney's What Matters campaign. The overwhelming response to the issue of marriage equality was extremely encouraging and reminded me why issues of equality, citizenship, dignity and justice matter to a lot of people," he said.

More than 86,000 visits were made to the site, where 38 videos were watched 26,000 times. The most popular topics were marriage equality, solving climate change for future generations, reducing our environmental footprint and preventing human rights abuses.

The campaign also saw 6000 votes cast at a live polling station in Martin Place and another 6000 interactions in Chatswood and World Square over a two-week period in August.

See more results on the new What Matters site. 

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Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809,