Why Are Students So Politically Engaged?
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Photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash

Why Are Students So Politically Engaged?

Alex Fletcher February 20, 2022

It is no secret that students up and down the country are heavily engaged with politics. Whether it be involvement in a political party, activism, union membership or simply engaging with politics on social media, students take pride in being politically active. As a follow on from my article exploring student activism, I was curious to understand why politics in general is so appealing to students. 

I have always been politically engaged. I study politics for a degree and also spend much of my spare time engaging in political matters. Usually in the pub! For me politics at university has always been something that I could get my teeth into. I always thought this was the case because I was as a young, single student with less responsibility than my parents have on their shoulders. I was therefore able to spend more time engaging in my concerns about the wider political world; something my parents simply wouldn’t have the time to do. I have always thought this was true of all students. The time not spent worrying about family and responsibilities was instead used for thinking about how politics affects our lives. I was curious to hear the opinions of other students on this matter. 

Student voice

I am lucky to know many students who are actively politically engaged and were willing to share their opinions on why that is. So I sat down with Ellen to find out more about it.

‘This generation has grown up in a volatile era of politics,’ she said. ‘The past five or six years have been very dramatic politically and the rise of social media means we will be in contact with it a lot’.

For Ellen, the engagement of students and young people in general with politics is all down to the nature of our political world. The rise of social media and the controversial figures that have emerged have galvanised students to fight for a better future. 

Bigger picture

Another part of why I always felt students were so interested in political matters is that they have concerns for the wider world. They think internationally and want to make the world a better place for everyone. This can often be to the detriment of local politics, as Sonny was keen to highlight when I spoke to him.

‘Usually it’s the young people who don’t turn out and vote, local politics doesn’t matter to younger people,’ he said. ‘Big issues appeal to students’.

After speaking to these students, I concluded that actually there is no one reason why students are so keen to embrace politics in their lives.

Whether it be the nature of the issues of the day, or the circumstances that surround their lives, politics was always close to the hearts of those individuals studying at university. However, if students continue to be actively invested, politicians will always be challenged to make the world a better place. And I for one think that is wonderful. 

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Hi, my name is Alex Fletcher. I’m a second year history and politics student at the University of Birmingham, originally from Portsmouth. My main passion is sport and I am a big supporter of Portsmouth football club and the McLaren F1 team. I also take an avid interest in music, theatre, politics and current affairs and I have a strong passion for writing and presenting.