While Britain debates the benefits of offering people a referendum on Europe, students at Walsall College were able to join the discussions when they welcomed three Members of the European Parliament for the West Midlands region.
The pluses and minuses of the UK’s relationship with the European Union were debated during the College’s ‘Europe Day’ on Friday 4th April. Up to 100 students joined in with discussions with Anthea McIntyre MEP (Conservative), Phil Bennion MEP (Liberal Democrat) and Nikki Sinclaire MEP (Independent) in the atrium at Wisemore Campus.
At the end of the political ‘speed dating’ activity, students were asked to vote using electronic keypads – whether Britain should be ‘in’ or ‘out’ of Europe. The students which took part gave the European Union their backing, with 66% voting to say that we should stay in.
They also took part in some fun and challenging activities where they tested some well-known European myths, considered human rights legislation and attempted to name all the countries in Europe.
The aim of Europe Day was to increase student awareness and interest in politics by engaging with experienced politicians as well as giving them a platform to discuss their opinions.
June Morrow, Walsall College’s Director of Student Journey, said: “This was great way to help young people see the relevance of the European issue to their own lives and to recognise the power of their own vote.
“By the end of the day only a handful of students felt they wouldn’t be bothered to vote (7%) which indicates that Europe Day did a lot to challenge political apathy amongst our young people.”