Monday 09-05-2016 - 12:22
Liverpool Hope SU president Kira Cox tell us how they got their students to the ballot box.
On the week commencing 11 April, here at Liverpool Hope Students’ Union we kicked off our Voter Registration Week. With the success of our #GenerationVote work last year, leading up to the general election, we know how important it is to not only get our students registered, but also to inform them why it’s so important that they do.
Many students look at political parties and think they’re all the same, that their one vote won’t make a difference to the outcome, but if they don’t register and don’t vote they don’t count in anything – whether that’s a focus group or a policy forum. The government doesn't want students to vote. In the 2010 general election only 4 per cent of voters were students. The government likes things as they are, they don’t want students at the ballot box mixing things up.
We, along with many other students’ unions, are going to change this. (Sorry Cameron!)
We kicked off our week by focusing on the students that live in our halls, as we figured that these students would be the group that would be least likely to already be registered. Myself and Ayo Akinrele (our VP Welfare & Community) initiated a “Registration Race,” working closely with our residential life team we pitted the halls against each other, all in the race for some free pizza - it seemed to do the trick!
We used social media a lot to make students aware of how important it was to get registered to vote, as well as using it to promote the events we held through the week. All leading up to my favourite event of the week “DemocraTEA” – we plastered some cups with #GenerationVote stickers and gave out free tea and biscuits to every person who came to see us and register – the lesson here is freebies work!
In the lead up to the EU referendum we’re going to be making sure we provide students with a balanced view – arguments for in and arguments for out. Our History and Politics Society have already held an EU Referendum Debate, as well as us holding our own Question Time event where we talked about Britain's role within the EU and the wider world with academics from the university, Angela Samata (Merseyside Woman Of The Year 2015) and local MP Luciana Berger. We can't wait to have more events like this over the coming month, while again pushing the importance of students registering and casting their vote on 23 June. (And maybe giving out some more free pizza and tea!)