The Itchen Student Union (ISU) at Itchen Sixth Form College in Southampton is giving students a taste of voting and being candidates in an election. This idea was thought of by me after my experiences in local politics throughout 2013 and 2014. Last year the ISU was led by two teachers – a rather odd idea considering it is the students’ union. This year however, the students have taken back control of what they do and how they wish to operate. Last year, the Chair was chosen by way of an interview – something that is undemocratic and unfair to the students that attend the college. This year, we have used our power to make sure that we choose what is on our agendas, we choose what we want to do.
2015 is the year of the General Election for the United Kingdom, times are changing and the government may well be too. So the ISU has given students a chance to get a taste of voting (even those who are unable to vote) and stand for election to become the next Chair. The ISU has been so hard at work, booking a polling station, working out what voting method we will use to decide who becomes the chair, creating the system to nominate candidates and regulate their expenses. We have worked with Fareham Borough Council to give us an idea how to run the election and also lend some support and materials to use to make sure the day runs smoothly.
A bit much for a college you may say? Definitely not. This gives students the chance to experience what happens outside their college life, what affects not just their outside life but what happens in college to. One thing I often hear from people who run businesses is the people who have just left education who, yes have the education, but are lacking in real life experience – this is part of the solution.
So today, March the 23rd, we have closed nominations. We have four candidates that students have nominated to run, now we just have to wait and see who wins the election.
Well done to Itchen College for working with the ISU to make this happen and thanks to Fareham Borough Council (and Elaine!) for their support.
Thanks for reading,