Tonight I'm very proud to be presenting an award to the University of Bristol's most collaborative students.
Read my thoughts about student life in Bristol:
On May 7th I was delighted to be elected MP for Bristol West. It's going to be a genuine pleasure to represent such a vibrant and diverse community, stretching from the Harbourside to Easton, from Brunel's Suspension Bridge to the Gloucester Road.
Bristol West is home to thousands of students, and very proudly so. Both the University of Bristol and UWE produce world-class research, as well as filling our city with bright, enthusiastic and ambitious young people. Students volunteer in our community groups, support our independent businesses, pack out our festivals, and very often stay in the city after graduation making Bristol an excellent place for innovative businesses to set up shop.
Working with Bristol students and taking on the issues they face is not new to me. Not only was I a student here myself, I have been a trustee at the Student Union for a long time. It's of the utmost importance to me that students have their voices heard.
But there's no point in working to improve the lives of students without thinking about Bristol as a whole. Collaboration between students, the University, the Student Union and local groups and initiatives is the only way we can work together to benefit everyone in our city. Students aren't just people who study for three years and then leave - they're an important part of our city who need to be integrated into the communities we all share.
I am therefore very proud to be presenting an award for collaboration.
I hope that through my own work I can also bring students together with other groups in the city. I will be campaigning to make renting in Bristol safer and more affordable - an issue which affects students and the general population alike. Students have come up with an innovative solution to renting problems: UBU Housing is a student-only lettings agency which doesn't charge fees. Perhaps it's time for a letting agency like this for the population as a whole, to house everyone fairly - students or otherwise.
Thank you to all the students who voted for me - and please do remember that even if you didn't vote for me or didn't vote at all, I'm here to support you and listen to your views and ideas. I look forward to working with you to build a better Bristol.