On Wednesday 6th March Julie Walkling and I took 5 students to the House of Commons for a Million+ reception and the launch of Breaking with Tradition – Universities @ 21.
It was a great opportunity for our students to meet students from other million+ universities and hear from key individuals within the education sector. With an introduction from the Minister for Universities and Science, the Rt Hon David Willetts, it contained fascinating and humorous insights from colleagues past and present on the politics and outcomes of the legislation.
Prior to the event, students as Students' Union Officers wrote letters to their local MP's to invite them to also attend the event to discuss their thinking about the future role and funding of universities in view of the Government’s spending review. Julian Huppert (Cambridge MP) came to the event and met with our students despite a very busy schedule, Julian made sure he kept to his word when Gabbi and I met with him the week beforehand.
Why was this important ?
The Government will be conducting a spending review from April-June 2013. This will inform government spending plans for 2015-16. It seems a long way off but there is always a risk that funding for higher education, research or student support will be cut. If your MP is a member of the Opposition e.g. Labour, it is still worth meeting them and asking about their plans if they were elected to Government (the next general election is also in 2015).
Staff and students have an opportunity to advise MPs how important your University is and ask whether MPs will promote the value of higher education and lobby Ministers and others to maintain and improve funding.
If you have any questions about the event, please get in touch.
Photo below left to right: Nicola Geoghan, Aly Caldwell-Rutter, Francesca Rust, Julie Walkling, Ben Fraser, Sophie May, Dean Bowyer.
Below: Students with Julian Huppert MP for Cambridge