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What have students ever done for society?

Tuesday 31-03-2015 - 14:26

Students have a perception problem... 

Perceived as ‘privileged’ in the face of enormous debt and poor employment prospects; considered ‘carefree’ as we struggle to cope with academic pressure and a cost of living crisis; side-lined as ‘a nuisance’ despite the positive impact we make - giving our skills, time and energy to volunteer, contribute and take action, shaping the world around us.

As part of SU34 we have been looking in particular at this last point - how UK student action has a history of being vilified and, in the last 20 years, even actively suppressed. For the next 20 years, how do we work to make sure students and our beliefs are seen as socially valuable? How do we promote that student activism can stir debate around important issues which others choose to ignore?

For 20 days in April 2015, the student movement will be tweeting stories, on the hashtag #SU2034, about the successes and milestones in our recent history – each day representing a different year.

  • Wednesday 1 April – 1994
  • Thursday 2 April - 1995
  • Friday 3 April - 1996

And so on until Tuesday 21 April – the first day of National Conference – representing last year, 2014.

Alongside NUS your students’ union is invited to join in and celebrate your powerful work in the last 20 years. Nationally NUS will be including examples of when students championed the common good in society, working through their unions to effect educational or social change.

More than a vanity project, this will be an opportunity for us to reflect on the ways we transform lives and shape society. I want us all to be proud of our work on the frontlines of global progressive change.

So as we approach the flagship event of the UK student movement, National Conference, let’s share our stories and showcase the value of student-led action.

Let’s show how ours were some of the first voices for Equal Marriage. Let’s show how students advanced the fight against domestic violence. Let’s show the multitude of ways we challenge educational inequality every day of every month of every year.

20 years, 20 days, 20 tweets will dispel any notion that students are self-interested, powerless consumers of education and promote just some of the ways we have behaved as active citizens and early advocates for some of the most powerful ideas our society enjoys today.

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