Thursday 12th December is election day for the UK parliament and the day a new government will be formed. For some of you this will be the first time of voting in a general election and whatever party you choose to vote, it is really important that you do so.
But no doubt you have heard that already many times…why is it important and does it matter? Perhaps considering how your voice counts at University can show how every vote is important.
Consider for a moment that the Union of Students at Derby is a bit like parliament, but thankfully without all the shouting and blustering. It is made up of elected officers, many of whom you are likely to have voted for, from our President through to the academic representatives on your programme (find out more including who yours is). It works to address the concerns that matter to you, whether that is facilities, issues relating to your studies or things that the University is doing well and which could be even better.
Your perspective provides the insight for raising awareness of issues and making change happens.
You may be aware of some of the changes that the Union has brought about, such as anonymous marking, free busses, the extended library opening hours or lengthened opening at One Friar Gate Square Blends. None of that would have happened without students raising the need for it and then supporting the idea via the Union Ideas forum – which is a bit like a petition to government. And just like one of those petitions, once enough students have voted for the idea your elected officials take it forward formally. The University listens to these ideas as they are aware it represents the student voice – your voice.
Change based on the student voice would not happen without your votes for the Union officials and the Ideas that students raise
And it is the same for a general election.
YOUR VOTE COUNTS - as the BBC describes "close attention is being paid to the student vote - which is likely to influence the outcome of a number of parliamentary seats with a university population", "in the 2017 general election some seats appeared to have been swung by students".
The date of the general election is potentially challenging for students as they may be "taking their votes back to their home constituencies, where they may or may not be registered to vote" or if they are "travelling home on the day of an election, they might not vote at all".
If you vote you can directly influence who makes the decisions that matter to you and the nature of those decisions. Just like at University, your voice matters. Not sure how it works? Here is a really simple guide to the elections and details of how you register can be found online.
By Chris Winson, Part Time Officer (Education Chair) 2019/20