Here at NUS we throw the term activist around an awful lot. Activist Training, I’m an Activist, Come to Student Activism. It can become one of those words that gets used so much we forget where it came from and what it means.
Most people reading this are unlikely to need me to tell you that our rights as people and as students are regularly being attacked. We are still being beaten up for being LGBT, we’re still fighting for the basic right to an educated society and piece by piece we’re having our right to protest taken away!
My journey of activism began when I came out to my friends and family. The support I received from a gay friend of my brothers and his action in getting me to find the LGBT society and Students’ Union when I went to university lead me to a number of opportunities that energised and politicised me.
I became active in the LGBT and the women’s campaign mostly because many of the injustices I felt were personal to me or those around me. I then became interested in the wider context of Students’ Unions and how we could better the lives and experiences of our current and future students. I’m proud to have been a student officer at Leeds Met and now an NEC member at NUS, because each and every day I get to live out my passion and strive for the changes we believe are needed to make a better world.
This week I’m on the road at our LGBT Activist Training Days. Where we have 100’s of students coming together to share experiences and learn from each other. What these people may not know is that by being here they are on their journey, some have been on it for a while and others are just starting out. Each and everyone will have an impact on the world around them. They may educate someone on their way home, change the attitudes and actions of students on their campus or win a campaign on getting gender neutral toilets. No matter how big or small that change it is important and its impact truly does ripple much further than intended.
So to answer the question what makes you an activist is seeing the changes that need to happen and making it so!