Students strive to be heard for youth policies
Apart from promoting voting itself, some students are focusing more on raising awareness of youth policies and developing their ideas into actual ones. Seoul Youth Network (SYN) is such organization which strives to have their say in youth policies. Funded by Youth Hub and Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), SYN consists of 12 teams with different subject issues such as housing and culture, and comes up with ideas for new youth policies through research, monitoring, debates and campaigns. Then, students contact SMG and suggest these ideas so that actual youth policies can come to life.
“The current problems the youth face right now cannot be solved with existing policies, which is why we feel that it’s important to find out problems from youths’ perspective and develop those ideas into policies,” said Lee Jung-min, a manager from Cooperation Division of SYN. “Also, being able to participate in social problems as members of society carries great meaning to young people.”
Another organization that provides a chance for students to participate in making youth policies is 2016 Election Youth Network. All students and student groups interested in politics and youth policies can become part of this network. In order to help the twenties become aware of the election pledges of political parties in Korea, the network aims to provide information which analyzes the position of each party on youth policies. Also, the network initiates campaigns to collect the opinions of the twenties and come up with the criteria for choosing the right candidates.
Although many students respect and thank these organizations for allowing the student body to have a say in youth policies, some are doubtful regarding the long term effect of these organizations.
“Although it is important that students who are interested in politics continuously try to participate in politics, limitations exist,” Oh said. “These organizations are only effective in keeping specific groups of students interested rather than the general university population.”
Reporters: Jang Min-jeong, Lim Ye-ju