And so it begins!
My aim of visiting each of our 47 societies started with attending, along with the President and VP Education, the University of Chester Labour Society with special guest Councillor Sam Dixon.
Conveniently, the labour society had picked a very contemporary guest, only recently has the council proposed splitting the Garden Quarter ward in half and merging each half with the Blacon and City wards. This sparked a healthy debate as to why the Garden Quarter, home to the only major University in Cheshire, is vital in providing a clear voice for our huge diversity of Students on issues that are different to any other ward in the County.
Sam spoke very passionately about politics and her campaigning in and around Chester. Topics from the importance of the younger generation’s voice in the recent general election to student/private accommodation issues were discussed. I was listening with great interest as to what Sam's experience in local and national politics has been like, from which I felt my job had a lot of similarities just on a much smaller scale.
After Sam spoke fantastically about her life in local politics the floor was opened up to questions from the audience. Again an array of subjects were brought up. What's your thoughts Brexit? How do you see the Labour party doing in the next election? Even I chipped in and asked Sam "what's your view on the newly proposed fracking research centre?"
All questions were answered honestly and with great conviction which in my opinion is rare in the world of politics. Cleverly, Sam remained neutral on the last question, this was so she didn't ruin her chances of sitting on the judgement panel and ensuring that a decision was made within the county and not outside of it. The audience and Sam were intrigued as to what the Universities stance on the Fracking research centre was and what level of involvement the University would actually have.
After having a meeting with the University Vice Chancellor Tim Wheeler just a few days earlier, I felt confident that I could answer these questions. The University has not agreed to let scientists from the BGS to use equipment over at the Thornton Science Park until they find out a lot more information and specify what is happening. The University's stance is very much Safety and Sustainability and that's why it's put a huge amount into alternative energy. I was then invited by the Vice Chancellor to visit the Thornton Science Park and witness for myself some of the brilliant work the University is doing.
One stand out piece of advice from Sam was that young people need to start turning up and talking to each other face to face as opposed to using social media, if you want to start getting involved in campaigning, politics and making a difference then turn up.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first society visit and thought it would be very motivational for any budding politicians to listen to Sam. It was great to hear that the labour Society has already got other guest speakers like Chris Matheson and Ed Miliband added to the calendar for the year.
Discussions then continued at the local watering hole. Keep up the great work UoC Labour Society.