Half-term roundup

With February almost upon us and only six weeks until the end of term, it seems fitting to go through what we’ve been up to in the early days of 2015.

As always, we’ve had weekly policy labs; presentations followed by free-form discussion. It’s been nice to see the same returning faces, but even nicer to see new members coming along. We hope this continues, and we hope you first-timers will blossom into regular members.

Our first policy lab, led by Siobhan Lyons and Richard Crawshaw, focused on British and European nationals fighting alongside non-state actors. We had a brilliant turn-out, which in turn led to some fruitful and insightful policy suggestions. It seems like this issue is going to take on even more importance in coming months, and we’re happy to know the York student body is happy and willing to engage with the important issues facing Britain.

Think Tank’s second policy lab, headed by Ciarán Morrissey, concerned immigration. We’d like to blame reduced turnout on the appalling weather and awkward location of the room for this one! Nevertheless, we had a fantastic turnout, and our international members were crucial in establishing a level-headed and open dialogue. Again, it’s likely that this issue will flare up even more as the pre-election campaigning begins heating up.

Finally, Ellis Byrne chaired our discussion on cyber-warfare. Though this is a little-known and emergent field of international relations, it is nevertheless extremely significant. Regulation of the Internet is a contentious issue, and there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding just how much damage can be caused via computer hacks and viruses. Despite this, we once again had a large turnout and were able to critically examine the points and suggest realistic policy recommendations.

If you’re a regular attendee or simply interested in the work Think Tank does, please come along to more of our events, held every Thursday at 7pm. Events will be made public and advertised extensively on our Facebook and Twitter. You can also become a member of Think Tank for the small sum of £4, which will enable you to take part in more extensive events, such as our upcoming collaboration on drug policy with the Buchanan Institute at the University of Edinburgh. You can sign up to be a member here: https://www.yusu.org/activities/societies/join/online

In addition, those interested in or studying history may wish to check out History & Policy, a student-led think tank collaboration between King’s College London and the University of Cambridge: http://www.historyandpolicy.org/

Finally, we’re still running our project on regionalism and political participation. If you haven’t done so, please complete the following survey. It’ll take ten minutes of your time and you’ve got the option of putting yourself in the running to receive a £10 Amazon voucher: http://goo.gl/forms/1RnhNtEqfN

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you at future events!