In the latest issue of yu magazine, we spoke to three successful young entrepreneurs who all started out at the University of York. Here we ask Sam Bright (History, 2015) of Backbench the questions that wouldn’t fit in to the feature.
Tell us more about what sparked your interest in politics.
I was a typically unengaged teenager before I studied Politics for A level. I chose it along with Economics as the obvious complement to my main interest of history. I had no idea how much it would interest me and it was actually this interest that led to starting Backbench.
I went looking for a site where I could engage in political debate or just talk about current affairs with my peers. There really wasn’t anything that was working very well.
So I decided to do it myself.
Why do you think it’s important to get young people more engaged in politics?
The reality is that most people’s main views are set in stone from around the age of 18. It seems to me that the lack of political education is contributing to the lack of interest and then the lack of engagement in later life.
Although at university I find most of my peers, particularly in my friendship group and societies I’m in, are pretty engaged with politics. It’s when I go home that the difference is really obvious. My mates from home just aren’t that interested, they don’t really see it as anything they can have an impact on. This is what I want to change.
Has it been difficult to run the site while studying?
It has been pretty challenging – it was tough to juggle everything during my second year. As it’s now my finals, I’ve recruited a group of editorial volunteers so that I can concentrate on my studies. When I graduate I fully intend to put all my time into it and turn it into a viable source of income.