Student Activism

There’s a big world out there. Leaving home for the first time opens many doors – doors that previously you might not have even thought to look for.

Some of the opportunities that await you as you enter university are obligatory and expectations lay somewhere between the chance to drink more and clean less than you ever thought possible. These are pretty inevitable and should not be taken for granted.

But the most care free time of life also allows you to care more for things – and indeed to care about more things – than you ever have before.

You may be coming to university with ardent beliefs and chosen causes, a vague inkling for some, or none whatsoever. Either way Nottingham – the student body and wider city – holds all the opportunities you could need.

It’s not just the sheer number of opportunities on offer that makes it so easy to find something you can be passionate about during your time at university and living in Nottingham – it is how far-ranging they are. Getting involved in activism can mean putting your effort into anything from social and community work to student politicization, environmental campaigns to partisan politics.

To give you an insight into each of these key categories, below is a spotlight of an organisation from each – Student Community Action, National Union of Students, Environment and Social Justice Standing Committee, and Labour Students – and a selection of eight of the many other activist organisations available.

University is the time and Nottingham is the place to have a look around to see what’s out there for you to get inspired by. You might just find something that you love.

Name: Isabel Currie

Organisation: Student Community Action

Position: Social Officer on the Student Board

They say: “I originally signed up to SCA as an opportunity to help others whilst adding something more original to my CV. I ended up finding it so rewarding that I became a member of the SCA board in 2007. Student Community Action can place you in a school classroom or on the sports field, help you to befriend those with dementia or allow you to promote recycling. Your options are endless. We even have frequent socials to ensure our volunteers can network with one another and SCA is a well rounded, affable and gratifying organisation.”

More info on: www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/~sca/

Name: Be Pringle

Organisation: National Union of Students

Position: National Executive Committee member

They say: “The aim of NUS is to promote, defend and extend the rights and views of students and to help build strong, active and representative students’ unions. The students’ union has NUS conference delegate elections in the first term where the students at the university vote to decide who gets to represent them at a national level. The best way to get involved in NUS is to stand for this election. Other than that liberation campaigns (lgbt, black, international, mature, women’s, disabled) are a great way to get involved in NUS, though again the gateway is to get involved in the liberation movements on campus.”

More info on: www.nusonline.co.uk

Name: Chloe Cheeseman

Organisation: Environment and Social Justice Standing Committee

Position: Student’s Union Environment & Social Justice Officer and subsequent Chair of the E&SJ standing committee

They say: “This is the standing committee of the union’s E&SJ officer. Together, they direct the union’s ethical and environmental campaigns and organise events like One World Week, Fairtrade Fortnight and, this year, Eco-Action Week. There are 9 positions on the committee, elected at students’ union council, but we also act as a link for the wide campaigning network at the university and collaborate with as many societies as we can like People&Planet, Amnesty, and the Peace Movement. We are always keen to hear from students who have found a cause worth fighting for – email [email protected] if you want to get involved.”

More info on: www.su.nottingham.ac.uk/~environ

Name: Rob Newman

Organisation: Labour Students

Position: National Secretary

They say: “I became involved with Labour Students by joining at my freshers fair and I wasn’t really sure what to expect — but signing up was the best decision I made while at university. Over the last few years I’ve had the chance to meet some fantastic people — fellow students who shared my values and wanted to change the world. I’ve also had some amazing opportunities —campaigning in elections all over the country to going to national events and now being involved in running Labour Students nationally. University is a place where people discover their values and begin to shape their future. For those who believe in equality for all and challenging poverty and oppression wherever we find it, they can do no better than to start shaping it with Labour Students.”

More info on: www.labourstudents.co.uk

8 of the best of the rest…


A student body affiliated to the national charity – best of both worlds for those interested in human rights.


African Prisons Project

A project from an ex-Nottingham student aiming to alleviate the suffering of imprisoned Africans.



Home to the second oldest base for the 24-hour helpline, Childline Nottingham is always looking for volunteers to help children in need.

Greenpeace (Nottingham)
A Greenpeace group situated in Nottingham that lets you get involved with the wide scale movement on a local level – notably in your new favourite city.

Nottingham Liberal Youth
Liberal students of the university meet up and discuss current issues and get involved with the local Lib Dem Party.
Nottingham Student Peace Movement

Campaigning for peace and social justice, at the individual, local, national, and global levels.

STAR (Student Action for Refugees)
The Nottingham part of the STAR network gives you a chance to promote awareness and support the needs of asylum seekers and refugees in the Nottingham community.

UNICEF society
A society that allows Nottingham students to raises money and awareness for the national developmental organisation UNICEF. Local efforts for a national cause.



Leave a Reply