Thursday 24-09-2015 - 09:58
This is a guest article by Josh Goddard, President at UWL Students’ Union
At our institution, politics isn't the hottest topic. Many students switch off the second the ‘p’ word is mentioned. This means our union faces some challenges.
2015 was incredibly important for our country, the general elections were upon us in May and I knew it was my duty to get students involved.
We ran a campaign called ‘the elephant in the room’. This was a chance to address the fact that students within the UK aren’t heard when it comes to politics.
It was an incredible campaign that engaged many of our students, from getting them registered to vote, to a hustings evening that saw five major parties come to our campus to talk about real student issues and engage with students.
This is where I met local Labour MP Rupa Huq. A few months later I messaged Rupa for a catch up. She responded quickly, so we set up a meeting. In August we met for coffee to discuss student issues and #CutTheCosts.
I asked her if there was ever a time where we could have a question asked in PMQ’s and she said yes, absolutely. I think we are fortunate to have a great relationship with Rupa because we want the same thing, the best for our community and the people we represent.
#CutTheCosts is a fantastic campaign because so many students rely on the maintenance grant - it’s a lifeline. I wouldn't be where I am today without it - I was the first person in my family to go to University and came from a very low, socio-economic background. I genuinely wouldn't have been able to survive in London without it.
Getting to university, for people like myself, is a barrier already. The thought of the maintenance grant being taken away means that a whole generation of young working class people are being written off.
It’s incredible to have the support of such a fantastic MP and to be able to have a conversation with a community leader that actually cares about students. I know that if I ever need anything, as SU President for UWL, I can call Rupa.
As student leaders we represent the students at our Universities, but I think it’s also our duty to represent the students of tomorrow. It’s our job to make sure everyone has the opportunity to higher education. I believe that’s why we should all be supporting #CutTheCosts.
How is your students’ union supporting the #CutTheCosts campaign to save maintenance grants? We’d love to promote your work to the membership on NUS Connect - simply get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us what you’re doing on campus!