Aim for something slightly less generic this year with Sophie's suggestions photo: flickr/dawn_ritchie

New Year, New Me

With 2014 newly upon us, many will be taking up their pens to jot down the usual nuggets of self-

advice to sustain the good old ‘new year, new me’ pipe dream. Statistically, getting fit and cutting

down on alcohol will top New Year’s Resolutions lists all over the country, but a worthwhile new

direction for the coming year might be to get involved in the dynamic ethical activity on Warwick



University is a formative time for our social and political awareness. It’s where far-flung (and

homespun) injustices come to light, and where shared passions for social action leads to the

mobilisation of whole movements. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, students are an incredibly

socially conscious demographic. University campuses teem with charity and campaign groups and

well-attended conferences, addressing all manner of issues, from international development to

climate activism. This is also a rare stage in life where 9 to 5 commitments are largely a thing of

the future, meaning that many of us will have more spare time during our degree to act on those

issues that motivate us, than we ever will again.


Maybe something a bit less physically exhausting  for the new year photo: flickr/healthgauge

Maybe something a bit less physically exhausting for the new year
photo: flickr/healthgauge

Joining the gym and watching the Purple intake are the kind of sensible, if easier said than

done, resolutions that will no doubt rear their heads to test our willpower in 2014. Recent studies

suggest that only 8% of us will succeed in sticking to our new year’s resolutions this year (http:// But ethical living is all about finding sustainable and practical ways to have

tangible, positive impact on the world around us, and with the solidarity, support and gold-mine of

opportunities afforded us by our campus, there is no reason why this year should not be an ethical

one. Here are some tips on how to make it so:



There is such a wealth of different ways to get involved with charity or campaigning groups on

campus that it can be a bit disorienting when it comes to finding a place to start. Fortunately, much

of the ethical activity on campus is orchestrated by exceedingly friendly and welcoming people who

WANT your participation. Organisations like Warwick Hub (

act as a focal point for all the groups, societies, events and opportunities related to social action,

and distribute all this information in a weekly email newsletter, completely free when you sign up to

the mailing list (



With the third sector offering more and more attractive job prospects, volunteering is not only

a useful way of getting valuable work experience, but also a fantastic gateway to a career

that enables you to do what you’re passionate about. At Warwick, we are fortunate enough to

have Warwick Volunteers, ( a society which specifically pairs students to

volunteering projects in the local community. The Student Hubs Social Impact Internship Scheme

( also offers Warwick students opportunities to

intern at NGOs, charities and social enterprises for those who dream of turning voluntary work into

a career.


The Piazza is useful both  for relaxing and campaigning  Photo: Warwick Media Library

The Piazza is useful both for relaxing and campaigning
Photo: Warwick Media Library


Warwick campus accommodates an exciting programme of speaker events and conferences

throughout the academic year. 2013 featured hugely successful conference events such as

Beyond the Bottom Line: The Warwick Emerge Forum and Warwick International Aid Forum, and

2014 promises to be no less eventful with a Climate Forum and Gender & Development Forum on

the near horizon. Term 2 is also set to feature Warwick Hub’s annual ‘Series’ a platform for weekly

debate on key social, developmental and environmental issues, hosted by a different charity/

campaign group on campus per week.



Ethical consumption has classically been associated with a budget not necessarily fit for a student,

but this needn’t be the case. Not only are we blessed, in Leamington Spa, with a wonderful

assortment of charity shops all along the Parade, but social enterprises such as the Warwick Food

Coop, a not-for-profit, student-run project, are living proof that buying ethically doesn’t have to cost

more. The Food Coop runs a stall from 12 until 5pm in the Atrium every Tuesday, selling organic

and locally sourced produce at wholesale price for members.



The piazza is regularly brought to life by student-run campaigns toting colourful poster art and

donation buckets. Term 1 has already seen food-bank collections, live music performances and

photo petitions for a range of different causes, so whether your passions lie in human rights

advocacy, environmental activism or protesting the cuts, chances are, there is a society on

campus that shares those views and is intent on representing them in a very public capacity. And if

there isn’t already, there is nothing to stop you starting one. Find a list of existing groups on the SU

website (


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