Published by Impact Magazine (Online) February 07, 2014.
The Notts Student’s Manifesto was launched on Thursday evening at Nottingham Trent’s Students’ Union. Students testified in support of the policies proposed in the manifesto, which has created jointly by the Students’ Unions at University of Nottingham (UoN), Nottingham Trent and New College Nottingham.
The Manifesto’s purpose is to highlight key issues affecting students in the Nottingham area. Four main areas were identified through student consultation as the biggest concerns; safety, finance, transport and housing.
The Manifesto’s purpose is to address key issues affecting students in the Nottingham area
Organisers claimed it was an historic event, being the first time that they knew of that students have co-operated to coordinate such a document. They pledged to ‘‘work tirelessly to ensure [voter] registration, engagement with politics and to ensure those that win the election keep their commitments’’.
The event opened with introductions from SU officers including the UoN’s Community Officer Mike Abiodun Olatokun who told the crowd of 250 that their ‘‘combined strength [was] too powerful to be ignored’’.
150 UoN students in total were consulted
Emma Lawton, a third year student at the UoN, involved in the creation of the manifesto explained to Impact how it was developed:
“Over a two-month period we found four main things to put in the manifesto. [The UoN] G15 team was comprised of 15 students, who each spoke to ten people, so 150 UoN students in total were consulted. I really hope people don’t just [falsely] give commitment but I do think it will actually put pressure on them to make changes’’.
The key areas addressed at the launch included concerns over the financial burden faced by home and international students; the lack of late night public transport available in the city; unsatisfactory housing conditions and finally the lack of compulsory sexual consent classes.
“I think its really impressive the work that the Students Unions have done here. It’s really important that politicians listen to the views of young people.”
Following a short consultation period with the prospective local councilor and candidates in the General Election, each came forward to sign pledges concerning the Student Manifesto points in each theme.
Lilian Greenwood, Labour MP for Nottingham South, told Impact:
“I think its really impressive the work that the Students Unions have done here. It’s really important that politicians listen to the views of young people. Anything that makes us more responsive to the needs of young people in our city has got to be a good thing”.
She went on to say that ‘‘some of these [issues] are really familiar, particularly issues around housing and personal safety. I am a Shadow Transport Minister so I am very conscious of the high cost of transport on young people… I am happy to be committed to working alongside them’’.
Jane Hunt, candidate for the Conservative Party, also praised the event to Impact:
‘‘It’s been a fantastic evening. There is some amazing enthusiasm in the room. The manifesto is very important; it is a powerful thing across the city. The safety issues [in particular] were shocking to me’’.
UoN’s Community Officer Mike Abiodun Olatokun told Impact:
“I think the launch was very successful in getting candidates aware of what the headline issues for students in Nottingham are. This is the start of a public relationship where over the next council and parliament terms they should be working with students’ unions officers, and also in the interests of students”.
Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
Image: Caroline Chan