We won't win free education overnight; it will take long years of debate, proving the public value of higher education to the public and we will need to tackle the issue of access to education, so a mature student from Tower Hamlets has the same chance of getting into UCL as their 18 year-old counterpart from Richmond.
What is the most damaging and pernicious phenomenon currently infiltrating British higher education? For many, it is 'lad culture' - the pervasive 'scourge' of university bars across the country. For others, it is sexism - widespread, deplorable, and often blamed on the aforementioned 'lads'. For me, it is the illiberalism of students' unions.
Volunteering is something I have been heavily involved in whilst at University and now in my final year, I am on the Student Executive Committee for Warwick Volunteers. Throughout the year we do plenty of volunteering and offer students many different opportunities, but we use Student Volunteering Week as a celebration of all the volunteering that goes on at Warwick.
In my two years as a sabbatical officer I've spent lots of time debating issues and ideas. One that keeps arising time and time again (particularly around election time I might add) is that of the Students' Union being 'Political' - for some this makes sense, for others taking stances this is divisive or unrepresentative. I think that either way your Union is political and I'd like to say why.
Several things have happened in my students' union at Swansea University within the last few weeks, leading up to the Full Time Officer Elections, which are starting this week (24th March). It's been an interesting past few weeks, with student participation, awareness and involvement in the students' union at an all time high...
As long as the debate on immigration is hijacked by the most self-righteous on the left and those pursuing a divisive, xenophobic, anti-welfare agenda on the right, a sensible discussion remains out of the question. If such extremism and infighting among the political classes continue to dominate the debate, the concerns of ordinary people will doubtless go ignored for the sake of political point-scoring.
In my third year as a student at the University of Surrey, I am currently on placement working in London. Having experienced two USSU elections as a student in Surrey, I have now gained the perspective of a student residing outside the Guildford bubble; using social media as my sole form of staying updated during the elections.
We have a problem in the UK with engaging young people to vote. In the last three General Elections, the turnout for young people aged 18 to 24 has been less than half; the lowest of all age groups. This needs to be addressed and I have a solution. We need to modernise our democracy and introduce an online voting option for all UK elections.