AEGEE-Canterbury is very busy these days. The new branch of the network is supporting the campaign “Britain stronger in Europe”, which will be launched in a few days. The future of the UK in the EU has also been a dominant topic for the British local in the past months. Marlene Rene, Communication Officer and Social Secretary of AEGEE-Canterbury: “Many students are misinformed. We have little time to inform them and underline the importance of EU and encourage youth to register to vote.”

Marlene Rene
Marlene Rene

GT: Your antenna is active in the campaign “Britain stronger in Europe” to keep Britain in the EU. You think that a negative vote in a referendum is a real threat?
Marlene Rene: Unfortunately yes. According to the last poll, only 51 percent of the UK want to stay in the EU. Moreover, our county Kent, is one of the most eurosceptic, this is why we need to be very active in this campaign to change the mindset quick and fight against the misinformation people have on the EU.

Canterbury debate
AEGEE-Canterbury organised a debate about the EU in December.

GT: When you see your fellow students at the university, what do they think about the EU and Britain’s role in it?
Marlene Rene: As the mock referendum we have organised shows, most of the students are pro Europe. However, a large part of those students are foreigners and will not be able to vote. Moreover, lot of students are informed or misinformed on the EU subject. They don’t realise all the advantages the EU brings to the UK because they are born with them. The campaign is just starting, and we have little time to inform them and underline the importance of EU and encourage youth to register to vote.

Canterbury debate2
60 people participated in the debate.

GT: Can you tell us more about the campaign “Britain stronger in Europe”? What is it about?
Marlene Rene: “Britain stronger in Europe” movement tries to inform people before the referendum and show them that the UK is stronger, better off and safer in Europe than on its own. It underlines how thanks to Europe there is a stronger economy and better job prospects, better leadership on the world stage and a stronger security for instance.

GT: What are you doing exactly in the campaign?
Marlene Rene: The campaign is just starting, we are launching it officially in two weeks. We will have a meeting with them on the 20th in London to reunite all the university students that want to volunteer in the campaign. However, we have organised events such as student-led debates and street stalls to bring people to get interested in the subject.

AEGEE-Canterbury supports the campaign “Britain stronger in Europe”

GT: In December you organised a debate about the future of Britain in the UK. How many people were there? What was the programme?
Marlene Rene: There was around 60 people in the public, it was filmed by KTV and there was also all the societies representing political parties that were leading the debate. Each society had elected a speaker and the Kent Debating society was making sure every speaker had the same amount of time to speak.

GT: What is KTV?
Marlene Rene: KTV is our university “TV” channel, it is available through the YouTube.

Canterbury Fresher Stall2
AEGEE-Canterbury at the Refresher Stall, promoting the new AEGEE branch.

GT: What are the most memorable quotes from the debate?
Marlene Rene: The Labour representative was rightly saying simply: “I am pro-EU because UK’s successful future lays in the EU”. The Green representative underlined the fact that he disagreed with some EU policy and added: “The problems of the EU can only be reformed from within”.

GT: What kind of activities are you planning next?
Marlene Rene: Now, we are organising future debates with experts and academics, fun activities to encourage volunteering where people can tell us why they love Europe, question-answer sessions where students can ask about the EU and the role that the UK plays in it. There’s a lot to do but we are really motivated!

Canterbury Fresher Stall
AEGEE-Canterbury is getting more and more popular.

GT: What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?
Marlene Rene: We have more and more of volunteers joining us, it is extremely rewarding to see people getting involved and wanting to help, students start understanding how the EU should be protected, how we are lucky to be European.

GT: How is AEGEE-Canterbury doing in general? How many members do you have and how active is your branch in general?
Marlene Rene: Our branch has around 15 members, and we are like family now. A few of us are eager to be in Leiden for EPM. We are organising a European Night when coming back from London on the 20th before launching the campaign in a more formal manner the next day, we are very excited!

Campaign Britain Stronger in Europe: