The Tab caught up with Chris Wemyss, Southampton University Labour Club president.
So what exactly does your society do? Give us a quick summary.
We’re the largest political society on campus and to maintain this presence we organise events such as talks from local MPs, discussions and debates with other societies and of course socials! We have very close ties with the local Labour party, which has a real presence in Southampton. A lot of time that isn’t on campus is spent alongside them, campaigning on local issues or elections in the surrounding regions. Thanks, at least in part, to us last year’s local council elections saw Labour take control of the local council. Actually effecting real change like that is particularly rewarding.
Why did you set up the society?
Obviously it was already set up before our arrival but we continue it to support members and provide the option for those new students who are also seeking to enhance their political experience as a student to have a society to join that may align with their views. This means the society contributes to campaigns on many issues, not solely Labour.
What’s the best thing about your society?
Many things of course! But actually being able to make a real difference to a community by assisting with a campaign, getting to meet likeminded people both within and outside of university. Stepping outside of the student bubble can be quite rewarding and you get to meet loads of new people.
What’s the most fun you’ve had and why?
The anti-cuts march last November was a really good day. It’s always great to get up to London and taking part in large protests like that is a great way to see just how many people share the same views as you.
Does your society have any weird traditions or stories?
No real traditions (as of yet), although going to the pub after any event is a near certainty. We are planning a trip to Westminster next year; it would be good if that became a tradition.
What are you doing at the moment?
We’re hot off the back of the Eastleigh by-election and have a couple of events coming up this semester, including a Question Time event, a talk about working-class representation in politics and campaigning sessions in neighbouring areas. It would be good to organise something that gets all of the political societies together as well, it’s always good to hear some debate. We are also thinking about some new things to focus on next year, and welcome anyone who has any ideas on that!
Jesters or sobar?
It has to be Jesters for me.
Wessex Scene or Soton Tab?
I’ve got to say the Tab really don’t I?