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General election campaigning highlights from the student movement

Wednesday 06-05-2015 - 15:03

This week is an important one. This week millions of people will vote in one of the most unpredictable elections in generations.

But we don’t want to talk about just one week. For the past year, students’ unions across the UK have been working hard to make sure that students are a force to be reckoned with at the ballot box.

We’ve been clear from the start about our expectations of politicians this time round. We presented our new deal for students which campaigned on everything from 16-19 year old bus travel to free education to proper SRE in schools.

From Cardiff’s Big Debate last week to Bath College’s back in March, Students’ Unions have been grilling their candidates around these issues, and otger key areas for student voters. Plus each fortnight we’ve been bringing together parliamentary candidates on Twitter to ask them the big questions in our MPsQs.

It’s undeniable that young people and students have felt disengaged from politics. It’s not empowering, political rhetoric is hard to cut through and we’ve been let down in the past. Which is why the hundreds of thousands of students who’ve been registered to vote through the #GenerationVote campaign online and on campuses means so much.

It can’t be said that students and young people are not engaged in politics - its politics that’s not engaging them.

We’ve seen Lancaster Students’ Union launch their 333 campaign, showing that students can really hold the power in elections and Huddersfield Students’ Union register an amazing 3000 students through their voter registration work. And let's not forget about the Goats for Votes campaign from UEA.

At NUS Conference 2014, students voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion to hold Liberal Democrat MPs to account for their broken tuition fees pledge. That’s why we launched the Liar Liar campaign in which thousands of students committed to not vote for pledge breakers, to make sure that NUS can speak up for students when the law tries to stop our unions from doing so.

Now, we’ve got one chance to make all of the hard work of hundreds of students’ unions worth it and cast our vote.

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