Suffolk New College student president: Young people are unfairly criticised for political apathy

Jordan Barry, president of the Student Union at Suffolk New College. Picture: SUFFOLK NEW COLLEGE

Jordan Barry, president of the Student Union at Suffolk New College. Picture: SUFFOLK NEW COLLEGE - Credit: Archant

In his first column, Jordan Barry, of Debenham, the new Suffolk New College student president, reflects on a new era for youth political engagement.

I became the student president of Suffolk New College in October last year and won this honour by a single vote. I was really chuffed to be given this role and I’m determined to make the college proud.

Of course the last eighteen months or so has been defined by votes and elections.

In June 2016, Britain voted Brexit. At the time, no one seemed to be entirely sure of what Brexit meant. Now of course, the debate rages on and Brexit talk is inescapable.

Then towards the end of 2016, Donald Trump surprised most people by securing enough votes to make him president of the United States.

We went to the polls again in 2017 when Theresa May called a ‘snap’ election that crackled for a while before gradually fizzing towards a gentle pop.

And then of course we had my election campaign.

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I think lots of young people are criticised for not caring enough about politics but that is very unfair.

I know lots of young people who are politically engaged and they want to make a positive difference.

I ran my campaign by listening to people and encouraged everyone to not necessarily vote for me – but to get involved and have their say.

The whole thrust of my year as president will be based around helping people.

I also want to make fellow students become more interested in the environment. These are my two passions.

The biggest achievement to date for me in my new role was creating fundraising activities for Children in Need.

Charity is a big part of the role and I’m also in talks to work with St Elizabeth Hospice and hope to support their Christmas ‘Wooly Pully’ campaign. And if any other charities want to get in touch with me then I’d love to hear from them.

Finally, I think it’s very easy to get disheartened and sit around with your arms crossed getting annoyed with the world.

But that’s not going to help anyone. I’m determined to leave a positive legacy during my time as student president of Suffolk New College.

The best way to make a difference is to get involved.