In late November the National Union of Students held the first Student Activist training event for many years. After several decades largely on the sidelines of British politics, the student movement has re-emerged from its rather stagnant cocoon to once again become a voice against what many see as ideological and flawed ‘reforms’ to education in this country.
2010 saw the largest demonstration by students in many years, and unlike the protests during the Labour government’s introduction of top—up fees, the ball has not stopped rolling. Protests have continued and spread to other sectors of society affected, both by the cuts and the current system of how the world is run.
NUS has launched a new campaign to help train and support a new generation of student activists. Until recently, NUS has concentrated on working and supporting officers in students unions – but these small groups of people can only do so much to promote and run campaigns. The student movement has always relied on students to lead the way and take control of these things, and this campaign aims to help students do exactly that.
The first event was held a few weeks ago, and a date for a second one has yet to be announced, but there is a wealth of material and advice available from NUS and your own student union officers. The debate over what’s happening to higher education and indeed across all sectors of society is something that will continue to happen, but if you think that things could be better, that the world around you needs to change (whether its big political issues or small, grassroots campaigns) there has never been a better time to get involved and help make a change.
This year could be the start of something major – something world changing. People standing up and saying “No” has produced more change around the world this year than has happened in decades. If you think you have a contribution to make, now is the time to take that opportunity.