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Are you doing it too?

Monday 19-01-2015 - 16:40

We're hoping that the title of this piece got your attention, because the question we're asking students at UCLan over the next few months is - are you doing it? We want to know whether students at UCLan are going to register to vote for the upcoming General Election.

This is a guest article written by Lee Mac, Students’ Union President and Matt Webber, Student Engagement Manager at UCLan Students’ Union

Our 'I’m doing it' campaign is concentrating on registering as many students to vote as possible, with particular focus on the 3,500 students living in university and private halls within Preston. We’ll be visiting them over the next three months to encourage them to get registered. We'll also be holding on campus stunts and street stalls and offering personalised postcards featuring current students talking about why they will be registering to vote (like the picture above). As well as that, we're carrying out a small piece of research on enablers and barriers to registering to vote, which should help us with our engagement. We also want to include it within our volunteering skills programme content on citizenship and campaigning, linking back to the importance of voter registration. After the registration project is complete we will hold further events to spark debate about politics and voting to turn registered students into voters.

The project is in partnership with Preston City Council who have provided significant support and funding. Our discussions with Preston City Council about the upcoming General Election started last year with a number of conversations about how we could support students to register to vote with the new individual electoral registration process. We realised early on that we shared a common goal: to get students registered within the local area. 

In our inititial pitch to Preston City Council we focused our efforts on students in local accommodation (who were likely to have recently moved address and therefore not to have had their details transferred over to the new registration system). We were fortunate and received the funding and support we had asked for. We have now recruited a team of twenty students and a student team leader to coordinate much of the project. They will be knocking on doors from Monday 19 January and running stunts and events across campus for the next few months to encourage students to register.

Students will be at the heart of running this project as well as being engaged within it. Thanks to the support of the university and private accommodation providers we are getting access to halls so that we can take in tablets and get students registered to vote. We also have current numbers on the electoral register so that by the end of the project we can compare increases in registration so that we can measure our campaign's impact.

We hope to create a buzz on campus and on social media about the benefits of registering and why it is important to vote. We're really excited and are looking forward to trying out a different type of engagement through the face to face interactions in halls with students in what promises to be one of the closest General Elections in recent history.  

Check out our tagboard to see what other unions are doing for #GenerationVote

If you've got campaigning ideas you'd like to share please email campaigns@nus.org.uk

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