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While University politics tends to be on the left wing of the political spectrum, I spoke to SUCA President Matthew Cowley about why right wing students, particularly shy Conservatives, should get involved in student politics.
What exactly does your society do and what is your role as President?
Our society is primarily engaged with supporting the actions of the local party. We campaign to aid the conservative party at both the national and local level. Alongside assisting the Southampton Conservative future branch, this year we helped to run the campaign for Harmeev Brah for the Swaythling Ward in the 2016 Southampton City Council Election. The society also attends national gathering of conservative associations, and we are currently organising an event with other university Conservative Association groups, including Oxford and Durham.
My role as President is to coordinate society events and facilitate campaigning on the local and national level. I work with the local party to arrange the best experiences and opportunities for members of the Southampton University Conservative Association and other young people with local candidates.
How often does the society meet?
While our meetings themselves are fairly flexible, we hold socials on a weekly basis. We also try to organise campaigning events once a week, but these tend to vary depending on the campaign.
Do you need to be politically educated to join?
Absolutely anyone can join, provided they are willing to consider the values of the Conservative Party. You don’t have to be politically educated at all, and anyone is welcome to come along and we can try to convince you to appreciate the merits of Conservatism. Similarly you don’t have to be political active, and we’re particularly looking to give shy Conservatives a voice and an opportunity to get involved.
Does the society have any major events planned for this term? What sort of socials does the society offer?
We are currently working on arranging the largest ever gathering of Conservative students in London in December. The aim is to beat the current official record of 60 odd members together in any single location. We offer a variety of socials. These range from casual get togethers in the afternoons and evenings at sprinkles and Tapas Barcelona, to more formal dinners.
What made you join the society, and what would you say has been your favourite moment with the society so far?
I joined the society because I wanted to get more involved with local Conservative politics and meet like-minded individuals. My work with the society has granted me the opportunity to attend the count during the election night for the City Council Elections last year, as a result of all the campaigning undertaken during the Swaythling City Council campaign.
What relationship does the society have with the official party?
We are in an association with the local Conservative future branch. We collaborate with a variety of joint events with them, and work very closely with the local association and local party.
Where can people get more info?
Feel free to email me at Matthewcowley97@gmail.com with any questions about how the society runs. Alternatively you can email or sign up on the Union Southampton website, and we also have a Facebook Group (Southampton University Conservative Association) where we discuss salient issues and inform members of any campaign events, meetings, and socials.