I am Ewan, I am 17 an activist from Brighton. I stood with some friends who share similar political beliefs to me for positions in the college student union. I am ran for vice-president and was elected, another was elected as chairman and the one running for president lost by only 5 votes out of over 200, this shows that the students want people who will fight there cause in these hard times.
I stood because I feel that in these times of austerity and when the government are making such drastic education cuts and reforms, effecting people who were lied to and betrayed by the Lib-Dems, and those who weren’t/aren’t old enough to vote. I wanted to be in a position to fight these cuts and reforms affecting the college and the people in it. I also wanted to make sure after the cutting of EMA that anyone who was still entitled to bursaries would have all the advice and help on getting them. The student movement is quiet and people seem to have lost hope. The students are very reluctant to take action after the supposed failure of 2010 protests against the rise in tuition fees. As vice-president of the union I will be hoping to reignite the student movement and show the students that the fight is far from over. Just being on the streets in protest, even if we don’t get what we want, still shows the government and the nation that the students are united and will do whatever we can to stop this attack on a vulnerable group of people. When David Cameron got into power he said ‘this government will not cut the deficit in a way that hurts those we most need to help’. Who needs more help than students who are just starting their lives as independent adults?
The NUS called a national walkout and day of action for the 14th march yet they did nothing to publicise it. No one knew about it, not even the student unions in the colleges knew about it. Me and some friends set up an anti-cuts group in November, VCAC (Varndean College Against the Cuts), and we tried to publicise the walkout and even organised a demo. But without the students unions support this was very hard as people didn’t want to take part and walk out as they had not heard from the union that this was the case. How is anyone supposed to act on things like this called by the union? What is the point of the NUS calling for action when they keep it hidden and don’t tell anyone about it? I get emails all the time about free burgers and 10% of in topshop but I never receive any emails but the action they call for. This frustration with the NUS was one of the reasons I ran for election because I hope that by being in the union can make sure people know what’s going on and organise these things. And if these things are coming from the union people are far more inclined to stand up for their rights and take part in action.
Next year I will hope to organise campaigns to help fight the cuts which directly affect the college and this that affect the people in the college. I will be hoping to get the college involved in these campaigns. As vice president I am now a governor at varndean so in that role I will have a say in changed made to the college and I will make sure these changes are beneficial to the students and those I feel aren’t I will fight them and let the students know about these proposed changes, as well as trying to get changes which the students are calling for.