The logical conclusion to reach when faced with students who are politicised is, of course, to accuse them of showing off. That's what Jack Rivlin did when he heard of the King's College London Think Tank and its enthusiasm for social reform- for his rather slimline article click here.
Let me give you a run-down of the highlights: Jack has found some unknown, unidentified PPE students offering to tweet about their local green grocers' parsnips and a Think Tank that boasts over 2,000 members who are teaming together to devise lasting solutions to societal problems. (Hold your horses, don't be too harsh on him- he has to get scoops from somewhere, doesn't he?)
He seems to hold a grudge against these students because... well, because they are behaving like students. That's right- acting like adults, apparently, with a keen interest in the world around them. Teaming together to invite experts in all fields to come to King's and educate them on topics such as Law, Education, Business, Defence and Diplomacy and Healthcare. And then writing down policy recommendations to be published in an annual journal, The Spectrum. Goodness me, anyone would guess that these young talents are to be the next generation of lawyers, doctors and members of Parliament. Calm down dear, I am as outraged as you are.
Yes, it is easy to assume that everyone who has something interesting to say is 'pompous' and 'know-it-all' when you have nothing to say of any consequence yourself. Especially if the online journal you edit spouts stories such as this. So, just for Jack Rivlin, a few words from the King's Think Tank President, Sebastiaan Debrouwere, about what these 2,000 people get up to (and funnily enough it doesn't involve lessons on how to boost a CV):
"Actually, we don't claim to "know-it-all". Our philosophy is, and has been since 2010, that letting students think about the world around them in a rigorous, constructive way before they graduate equips them to positively contribute to it afterwards. Do we hope some of our members will write policy recommendations of sufficient quality and inventiveness to offer solutions to today's most complex problems? Absolutely. Do we provide them the guidance for that? Absolutely. Does that mean we claim to have absolute knowledge? All but that.
"We're not doing this for our CV. It would be very transparent and cheap, and frankly there are far less intense commitments one could make to get a CV boost. I put several tens of hours a week in, and I know many others at the think tank do too. If it was all only to put 'President' on my business card, and 'wear a suit and read my name on a shiny pdf report', I would've probably been the founder and President-for-Life of the King's Sleeping Club."
And next time Jack- do your research. 'Furthermore, as we are an independent think tank there is no political colour or stigma attached to our recommendations'- it's on the homepage.
Groups like the King's College London Think Tank are created through minds that are hungry for a wider and deeper understanding of the world around them. Students are encouraged to attend events, ask questions and write up policy recommendations - writing that surely trumps articles about who the latest snobs in society are.
So in an age of economic downturn and severe youth unemployment, what is the harm in students doing what they do best- taking the initiative to hold events, gather students together and learn from the top people in whatever field. This country is built on the back of an entrepreneurial spirit- a get-up-and-go attitude, a mentality that if there is something out there that you want to create and pioneer, then you should damn well go and do it.
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