NUS Scotland has been working in partnership with student unions across the country to raise student awareness about the local elections on 3 May. The campaign is part of the wider ‘Voice Your Vote’ campaign.
For the past few months the students’ associations across the four Edinburgh universities have been gearing up for the Local Authority Elections. In a massive campaign to try to mobilise students and get them to vote, the student unions have been holding special events with councillors, training students from the various universities to raise awareness of the elections among their peers and encouraging everyone who is able to register to vote.
Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland said: “Students' associations across Scotland have been mobilising for months for this May's Local Authority Elections, and for good reason.
“While our impact in shaping policy on a national level can't be disputed, whether on the issue of tuition fees, bursary support, tenancy deposit schemes or childcare, the decisions local councils make have a huge impact on students as well.”
In order to bring important student issues to the attention of councillors the Edinburgh Student Forum also created a Student Manifesto, which highlights issues that are especially relevant to students. The manifesto deals with issues such as housing, student safety, and council tax exemptions. The various students’ associations have also been holding diverse events to bring these issues to councillors' attention.
Mr Parker explained: “In the lead-up to the May election, students are meeting with candidates from all parties, and holding hustings, to make clear that crime, housing, transport, jobs and council tax are issues for their local council to address,” Parker said. “Candidates ignore students at their own peril. If they want the student vote on May 3, candidates will need to provide support for the ideas outlined in our manifestos, and provide solutions to the issues students care most about.”
The students’ associations are also urging all students who are able to vote in the local elections on 3 May. While national elections may gain more publicity, local elections are widely seen as determining who will be making decisions crucial to student well-being.
Students looking for more information about issues relevant to their authority — and the various councillors’ stances on those issues — are advised to visit www.voiceyourvote.co.uk.