Student activism can make a difference

Another academic year, another Societies Fair, and another opportunity to pledge your free time to plenty of world-changing organisations that you’re really passionate about. Whatever year you’re in, I’ve no doubt you’re guilty. It’s ok, we all do it. You wake up two weeks later
with absolutely no idea why Save the Bumble Bee have your email address, or why your name’s down for a protest march in favour of extraditing Carol Vorderman.

I don’t think I speak solely for myself when I say I came to uni with great intentions – a vision of the substantial changes I’d make to this Not So Great World. Admittedly this was a vision that largely consisted of me, covered in war paint, pelting flowers at the door of Number 10, or having a minor skirmish with a policeman (probably an arm wrestle, which,
for the sake of the fantasy, I obviously won). However, I came with a sense of responsibility to protest in favour of the Good and the Right, and a sense of tingling anticipation at doing so. And, although I was busy in my first year, I wasn’t active. And there is a difference.

> **Active:** _adjective._ Participating
or engaged in a particular sphere
or activity

> **Activism: ** _noun._ The policy
or action of using vigorous campaigning
to bring about political
or social change

The romantic ideal of a university student is one where active means activism: it was students
who demonstrated in Tiananmen Square in China, students who protested everything they possibly
could in the 60s. “Young enough to be pissed off, but old enough to be jaded”, we students have the passion necessary to fight for political change, without being too disillusioned and bogged down in the world to stop trying. In the current economic climate we are, in many ways, the only hope.

If we can sit round Rootes kitchen tables and shout our beliefs at each other in a passioned
frenzy, why can’t we stand outside Parliament and do the same? We are young and full of life and energy – not to mention anger. We have enough anger to start a revolution when the U1 is full; we should channel this positively in the way students for decades have been doing. I spent far too much time in my first year drinking red wine and getting shouty about
things I had issues with, and not enough time actually out there showing other people I had these issues.

We must take our cue from the recent London protests. Not from what they stood for or what they
did but for what they represented: students, back on the streets, back at the frontline of politics.

Here at Warwick, presented before you are a multitude of brilliant activism and volunteering
societies, representing everything from backing the Labour Party to litter picking in Leam. There is nothing too big or too small, and no excuse not to get involved. We’re only students for three years of our lives, and we’re only this young, energetic, and opinionated once. We should not let it go to waste.


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