Aber Political Groups

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If you are interested in politics or causes there are a large number of societies for you on campus. Maybe you are one for protest or you're a social media activist. There is something for everyone. I had the opportunity to speak to some of the political societies in the fresher's week tent to see what their offering to new students and those who have been in Aberystwyth for a couple of years. 


One of the new societies on the scene, or should I say returning to the scene, is Plaid Ifanc. Plaid Ifanc is a group of students who are members or supporters of Plaid Cymru, a nationalist party in Wales. Plaid Ifanc is ready to resume its work in Aberystwyth after an extended period of not being active in a strong area for the Party. "We are looking forward to holding activities such as socials, campaigns and canvassing. There might be an opportunity to invite Ben Lake our Member of Parliament in Ceredigion, or Elin Jones our Member of the Senedd in Ceredigion or maybe even Adam Price the leader of our Party for a chat." 

I asked what kind of campaigns they have at the moment, "we are focusing at Party conference this year on 'banning conversion therapy', the environment and expanding the remit of the NHS to include all dental and optometric treatments." 

Plaid Ifanc Aberystwyth: HTTPS://WWW.ABERSU.CO.UK/SOCIETY/10927/

Membership: Free 


There is also the Aberystwyth University Liberals. Historically the liberals have been one of the main parties in the Ceredigion area with support in some pockets of the rural county. Is the support as strong in the University, this is what I asked Josh Rutty who is the president of the group. “We see a lot of support, but because of the diverse nature of our University, there are a lot of political opinions.” Josh emphasises that the Liberals are a society not just for people who support Lib Dems, but also for people who support their causes. What are their causes? “We stand for a lot of things that many uni students would be interested in that are actually critical to uni life” Josh said. He listed the three causes that they are campaigning on this year “continuing the anti-spiking campaign, campaigning for the legalisation of certain drugs and making sure that transgender rights are entrenched in law.”

They have a few events coming up, on Wednesday during Freshers week they had former Lib Dem MP Mark Williams coming along to speak to the students in an event creatively named ‘Confessions of a Recovering MP’. Josh also said that they are planning an event with Member of the Senedd Jane Dodds who is the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, and the only remaining elected representative of the party on a national level here in Wales.


Membership: Free 


Centre is a society that started a year ago. The national Centre is a pressure group/think tank run by the engaged couple Jasneet Samrai and Torrin Wilkins. These are two former members of the Liberal Democrats and Torrin has been a student at Aber and Jasneet is still a student. She is also the President of Centre Aberystwyth.  

I asked William (the treasurer of Aberystwyth Centre) what is Centre? “We are a campaigning society working to make the university a better place for students”. For campaigns this year, William explained that they have three main campaigns: “we want better student accommodation, make sure that the university is supporting students through easier access to food banks and mental health support and we want to bring an end to NDA’S (non-disclosure agreements that can be used in University to silence victims of sexual assault).” 

I finally asked if Centre is a purposeless layer of democracy and student voice when there are so many different ways of getting involved in student politics, “Of course it’s purposeful” William answered. “It’s an easy way of getting on the ladder [of politics], many politicians have started off at a campaigning University society.” 


Membership: Free 


The Vegan Society is a society that campaigns for Veganism and is the place for vegetarians and vegans. I saw a chalk drawing of a cow in one of their street protests on the concourse with the words "Not Your Mum, Not Your Milk" last semester.  They say on their Instagram that the society is a social group for people that have the same  beliefs as them and they give tips about vegan life in Aber but there is also an activism element with them trying to persuade people who love meat and animal products. What can you expect if you join this society?  

I messaged Karoline, the president of the society, to learn more. You can expect “mostly cozy events” with a chance to eat vegan food together. 

But what about the activism side, Karoline explained that the society did some more public peaceful protests last year. These were Cube of Truth protests where activists wear a mask and show a screen of images to try to convince the public of the vegan lifestyle. These were "very intimidating" for members and they will focus more on "Documentary nights, making stickers to put around the town and writing in chalk" this year. 

I finally asked, is this society alienating as Aberystwyth is an agricultural rural area and with a big department in the university. Karolina said "We never seek to exclude or alienate anyone from the society specifically, but as veganism is inherently opposed to the practices in animal agriculture, it's understandable that it can feel this way." 

"But just as Aber is a rural town, it's also a university town, with many young people and ideas on how to improve the world, and it's that aspect we would like to focus on more", Karoline added.  


Membership: £3.00 

So if you are looking for a bit of party politics or campaigning on issues or a single issue important to you, I hope this list has helped you. I hope you have a lot of fun with these societies and you will be politically active on campus!