Thursday night saw an unlikely coalition congregate in our student union. Students from Trent sided with our neighbours (and rivals as varsity looms) from University of Nottingham and New College Nottingham in a ground-breaking event which aimed to put student issues on the agenda for 2015 general election.
Following consultation with students across the board four key aspects of student life were pinpointed as crucial areas to improve after the election; finance, safety, transport and housing.
Raechel Mattey, from the National Union of Students, kicked the evening off with a rousing speech slamming politician’s decisions to ignore students.
She said: “It’s about getting our issues on the agenda and that’s why it’s so great to see three student unions turning out here tonight.
“Students are going to be a real force in the next election. In over 190 seats across the country the proportion of students is high enough to swing the vote.”
A crowd of 250 then heard stories from fellow students about why changes are needed and issues that face students on a frequent basis. Dodgy landlords, expensive rates for transportation, theft (which is up 22% compared with 2013) and sexual assaults were all bought up here.
The lack of street lighting between Southwell and the Brackenhurst campus is a real concern for Trent students. In the winter students are forced to walk or cycle along a busy road in complete darkness. Kia Roberts, from Trent said: “The location of lighting at Brackenhurst results in safety hazards for students. Cars cannot see people crossing the road and accidents have occurred but nothing’s been done.”
Students are really feeling the pinch now that the Coalition’s £9,000 a year tuition fees are in full swing. From a survey from students across Nottingham 75% of us rely on parent’s money to fund our education. International students don’t have it any easier. Alarmingly fees for international students can increase yearly putting more pressure on students who already have to battle with a new country.
Nottingham has, arguably, a very good public transport system. However travelling from Clifton to the City or vice-versa isn’t cheap and isn’t part of the £1 student fare other buses operate. The manifesto has outlined all transport providers in the city implement a student rate. We’re students; we’re not made of money.
As part of the evening potential MP’s and party representatives attended and were quizzed by students about the issues raised. Representatives from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green Party then took to the front of the audience and then publically signed pre-election pledges that were outlined in the manifesto.
Nottingham has a combined student population of over 60,000. We can really make a difference if we, as students, turn out and vote in numbers.
Remember, to vote you need to make sure you’re registered before April 20.
If you have any queries about registering please visit: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq
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