As a group of friends with growing disdain towards the government’s treatment of students and the wider population, we noticed the need for a group, such as the Student Assembly Against Austerity, within our college. A forum by which student voices are encouraged, empowered and form a basis for political action, is what we were eager to establish.
Through the keen encouragement by our Students' Union President, Charlie, along with team spirit we were able to announce our first Student Assembly meeting just 1 week after proposing the idea.
It is through establishing a democratic system in which each group member is given an action point at the end of each meeting, and allocating roles and sub-teams, that we aim to achieve pro-active participation outside of group meeting times. We regard this as extremely valuable in maintaining effectiveness and productivity as a whole group.
Within our 1st and 2nd meetings we discussed matters such as: group democracy, The Autumn Statement, The Extremism Bill, role distribution, the National Week of Action, the treatment of LGBT+ students within the education system, and our first campaign. Our 3rd meeting was solely dedicated to discussing our response to the vote for airstrikes on Syria. From these meetings, we are able to announce our first focus/campaign as a group: to address local MPs who voted for airstrikes on Syria, in the form of education and spreading awareness of the real consequences of our MPs' decisions.
Alongside this action, we aim to run a smaller-scale campaign to offer our help within organisations that support the homeless community, during the winter months. As of now, we have set a group goal to raise £500 for a supporting charity, and further individual aims to offer help where we can.
With full steam ahead; attending 4 political events as representatives of the group, and hosting 3 meetings, over 2 weeks we have seen the Derby College Student Assembly more than double in size and passion. Each student involved in the group is equally valuable in creating an increasingly motivated political voice within our college.