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Student Mitchell takes part in water council elections: 'Young people don't know how important their vote is'

History student Mitchell Wiegand Bruss is taking part in the water council elections. Whereas until recently he had no idea what the governing body stands for, he now wants to create awareness among other students about the political body. 

Mitchell Wiegand Bruss
Mitchell Wiegand Bruss

Some people may know Mitchell as the leader of the Students for Leiden student party, which won two seats in the last municipal elections. The victory turned out to be the beginning of his involvement in the water authority. 'I noticed in the city council that issues about climate are often blamed on the water council. But what is that really? I thought the water council was an incredibly vague governing body,' Mitchell admits.  

Important governing body

He decided to find out more about the water council. 'I started talking to several parties to find out exactly what the water authority does. It actually turned out to be a very important governing body but one that you hardly ever hear about,' Mitchell says. As its name suggests, the water authority deals with everything to do with water: water levels in canals and on farmland, as well as sewage management. The moment it is decided to raise or lower the water level in some areas, it has a huge impact on how CO2 reduction is implemented. This means the water authority plays an important role in the transition to a CO2-neutral future.'  

Inspiring young people

At the same time, Mitchell noticed that he was not the only one in his circle who did not understand exactly what the water authority does. 'Although climate is generally one of the key issues for young people, they don't realise just how much the water authority is involved. I believe the water authority should think about what message it wants to convey to young people. It’s important that young people also have a say in future-oriented decisions. In any event, I try to motivate them to do something about it.'

Step up to the council

Still, Mitchell will probably not be able to join the council any time soon. After all, he is number seven on the list. 'The chances are pretty slim that the party will reach that number of seats, but maybe I can move up the list in the future. In the coming years, I want to focus on the key issues and learn more about the water authority so that I am well prepared to make that step to the general board when the opportunity arises.'

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