Pints and Politics: Candidly Chat with Politicians
Western University makes up a large part of the North London community, but it is easy to forget that every single student inside the confines of campus and beyond is also a member of the municipality of London.
The University Students Council at Western holds a regular event at the Wave dubbed “Pints and Politics” to remind students of the world beyond the gates. “Free food free beer and free fantastic civic conversation for students to get engaged and actually see their local London politicians in a setting they’re gonna feel comfortable to really raise concerns and raise issues they want to see solved within the city,” said outgoing Student Council President, Mitch Pratt.
The common consensus from everyone at Wednesday evenings P&P event was that the students don’t truly understand how much power they possess: “You see in the news a lot of these stories about students good and bad but I think a lot of students don’t really recognize how important they are to the municipality...students make up almost 50% of the ridership for the [LTC]...students inject so much money into the economy...we drive tourism and I don’t think a lot of people realize the power that we have,” explained outgoing Student Vice-President Danny Chang.
London is home to Western University and Fanshawe College, both of which are home to over 20,000 students each, not counting the supplementary staff and other services that are required for educational institutions. Furthermore, the schools directly work with politicians of the city on a committee that exclusively deals with student-related issues.
Ward 6 councillor Phil Squire, whose ward covers Western University, realizes the importance of the young people: “students are a huge part of my constituency. There’s thousands that are here every year and they have a point of view that’s important and it’s also helpful to me to know what their thoughts are on what’s going on in London because sometimes they come to issues with a completely different point of view and it’s unique and I want to hear that.”
Pints and Politics is held a couple of times every year by the Students Council and is open to anyone 19+. All are invited to engage in political discussions about issues that impact them and they can engage in a candid conversation with those who are responsible for fighting for them.