DMU students and staff have completed a 24 hour event called Be the Change, dedicated to encouraging discussion and debate as the public prepares to vote in the General Election on June 8.
One of the sessions in front of the big screen of the new Vijay Patel Building
Be the Change, which was the idea of Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard, was planned as an opportunity for everyone at DMU to talk about issues that concern them most from 9am on Wednesday until 9am this morning.
The event was named after one of Gandhi’s most famous sayings: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
After the event was opened by DMU Chancellor Baroness Lawrence and Professor Shellard, each hour was dedicated to a different topic, from those that are perceived as key vote winners, such as Brexit, the NHS and education, to other subjects which are not hitting the headlines at the moment, such as living standards, defence and social care.
There were also discussions about the politics surrounding election campaigns, such as the fake news phenomenon.
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At the end of each discussion, students and staff were invited to put their own policy ideas and thoughts on placards with the best ideas and statements being summarised into a succinct ‘DMU Manifesto for the General Election’ which will be presented to leading policymakers.
Sign-up stations were also set up so people could register to vote.
Events went on through the night
The final hour of the event , from 8am to 9am this morning, gave academics a chance to summarise what they had learned from the event as well as touch on the final topic of Brexit.
And it was Chris Goldsmith, Acting Head of Politics at DMU, who had the last word when he talked about the need for people to engage in conversation with each other, discuss issues and listen to what each other thinks.
He added: “It is okay to disagree, but don’t be disagreeable.”
Following a discussion about Brexit Professor Shellard had also finished on a message of hope, saying that for all the negativity in politics at the moment there is a flipside of positivity. A number of people had said during the past 24 hours that things may be pretty grim at the moment but we must look at how we can all move forward
He added: “Yes, we must think about the things that frustrate us…but let's also think about how we bring together a country that is still very much split.”
Posted on Thursday 4th May 2017