I, for one, cannot wait for this debate to be over in September. Once, we finally get over this issue, we can finally focus on the real issues - housing, social security, schooling, the NHS, pensions etc. Only when the referendum has concluded we will turn back to these issues and deal with them as a united nation.
With candidates making promises to have a pay-as-you-go gym, a free annual music event or free printer credits, it seems a shame that the elections still fail to capture the attention of the majority of the student population. Students should try to engage more with Guild politics to get the most out of their university experience and ensure that they are fully represented by the best possible candidate.
This Bill is the first step in tackling our youth democracy crisis. We need to equip electoral registration officers with the right tools to make our democracy as strong as possible. This Bill, I suggest, is a leap in the right direction and I very much hope that the Government give it a fair hearing in this Parliamentary Session.
We hope to see, over these next few days, some of these campaigns have an impact on the number of young people across Europe going to cast their vote. However, catchy campaigns are not enough to make the difference. Educating young people in political life, how to vote and what political parties offer them on the issues that they care about, is also vital.
As the NUS's structure is so fundamentally flawed, and the NUS establishment benefits from the current system whereby they can make sure that serial hacks always gain the cosiest positions, we are unlikely to see serious reform any time soon... Let's leave the NUS, and lead fellow student organisations in designing a union that truly represents the interests of all students.
I have just returned from Strasbourg, where for three days the European Youth Forum ran its annual YO!Fest as part of the European Youth Event, which took place at the European Parliament. I have come back to Brussels truly heartened and inspired by the ideas and motivation of the 5,300 young people that came together for this event...
The danger of the hashtag is the accompanying sense that the hashtagger has 'done their bit' in a humanitarian crisis. No need to submit a monetary donation, volunteer for a charity or arrange a fundraiser like the good old days; the beauty of social media means that you just have to press a key and you've made somebody's life that little bit better. But have you?
Politics is a rare aspect of British life that people under 18 are not allowed to be part of, which merely underlines how outdated the existing voting age has become. Young people are perfectly capable of making choices, so it's time for the Westminster classes to lower the drawbridge for a democratic election to everyone bound by its result.
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.