THE BLOG
17/02/2015 12:32 GMT | Updated 19/04/2015 06:59 BST

Students Surging for Green

The impending fate of the student movement now lies on the shoulders of Miliband and Cameron. They need to start bringing student policies to the foreground, or risk losing key constituencies to the swing student vote.

The 'Green Surge' has landed. The growth of the party now boasts a lead over the Liberal Democrats. The growth of the Young Greens this year has been particularly interesting, doubling in size since March alone to over 11,000 members (Green Party). This large increase now makes the Young Greens the fastest growing youth party in the country.

So why are students swinging for the Greens? Well despite the fears of climate change and the scrapping of tuition fees there's also the Green's social welfare policies, high representation of women, the decline of the Liberal Democrats and the unpopularity of Ukip (Data from the British Election Study reveals that students are twice as likely to vote for the Greens than UKIP (25% versus 11%).

Students have had a huge role in this surge and it's easy to see why. I spoke to James Shipley, President of the University of Westminster's Green Party Society, asking him what influence he thought Students were having on the Green surge, he commented:

"I think they're popular amongst students because they are the only party standing up for what students and young people believe in; free education, affordable housing, protection of the environment, free healthcare and a reliable public transport system."

I went on to ask him about on the rise of powerful student activism and why he became a part of the Green Surge, he said: "I became a member of the Green Party just after the European Elections out of anger towards the rise of UKIP. I had been a supporter of the Green Party for a few months before this due to finding out their policies regarding the education system, nuclear disarmament and also their opposition to the captivity of dolphins in Europe."

In comparison with the apathetic aftermath of student activism after the broken tuition fees promise in 2010, it's now an overwhelmingly exciting time for Student activists. A recent study by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found that Students could swing up to ten constituencies in next year's general election. This information is vital for the drive of student activism; it's also imperative for the Greens in continuing their rise.

Leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, spoke to me about the Young influence on the Green Surge and said:

"An exciting part of the 'Green surge', which has seen membership grow by nearly 90% since January 1 this year, is that the proportion of Young Greens (under 30s) has grown from 10% of the membership to 20%. The Young Greens are helping change the face of the Green Party, and what politics looks like - which is important not just for the Green Party but for the overall state of politics".

Bennett not only has the student-based policies to back up the rise, but also has been leading talks at several Universities, spending hours campaigning on student issues and always tries to answer Students questions personally.

The impending fate of the student movement now lies on the shoulders of Miliband and Cameron. They need to start bringing student policies to the foreground, or risk losing key constituencies to the swing student vote. In 2010, students were lining the streets to vote for the Lib Dems with promises of no tuition fees, a phenomenon that we could easily see be repeated for the Greens.