My Journey Into Student Activism
During my first year at Coventry University, I knew I wanted to start campaigning. After a chat with Sophie, Youth Organiser for Oxfam GB, my journey into student activism began!
Our first campaign: Yemen
The first campaign I got involved in was on rights in crisis for Yemen. I wasn't aware of what was going on before, which really unsettled me and made me realise how little people know about what's happening in countries like Yemen across the world. I read the news every day, and thought why had I not come across this before? There are articles available but not on the ‘Top Stories’ section, which is what most people read. But what makes a worthy ‘Top Story’? Is war, famine, or a humanitarian crisis not ‘newsworthy’? With Covid still ongoing, we decided to start campaigning digitally to raise awareness of what was going on and to encourage people to take action.
I knew we needed to take action.”
Sara Quinton, President of Coventry Oxfam Society
Museum Without a Home
With the UK recently passing the Nationality and Borders Bill, it felt more important than ever for us to stand in solidarity with refugees. As well as campaigning on Yemen, I virtually hosted Museum without a Home on the Coventry Uni Oxfam Instagram account. Demonstrating solidarity, this museum displays ordinary, everyday items.
Without the stories to go alongside these objects, they seem to be unimportant. During a time of humanitarian crisis, with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing for safety, Greek people showed compassion and helped refugees in their time of need. Each object, whether it be a toy, a hairbrush or a pair of shoes had such a lovely story to tell. I think that making a change is often misunderstood. It does not always have to be some big, unachievable act. A small act of solidarity and kindness is all it takes sometimes to make a big difference – and is something that everyone can do. And this is why I love a Museum without a Home. It shows how little things people do can make such a big difference and that everyone can help. By promoting this museum virtually, it has made such a wonderful exhibit accessible to all.
With our campaigning, we also had the opportunity to go to Parliament to hand in Oxfam GB's Refugee Rights petition directly to the Home Office - which was an amazing thing for our group to be a part of!
SOAS University Society
The Climate Justice Campaigner Fellowship
Alongside campaigning on Yemen and Refugee Rights, I knew I wanted to take action on Climate Change. So when Oxfam provided me with the opportunity to take part in the Climate Justice Campaigner Fellowship, I jumped at the chance! It helped me build my skills to improve my campaigning. I am now focusing on Climate Justice as our main campaign. Using the skills and knowledge I learned from this fellowship I am campaigning for my university to commit to total divestment from fossil fuels. With the progress we have made during the past year or so, I am very hopeful that our campaigning will have made a difference.
I am so thankful that I found this opportunity to be a student activist with Oxfam. It has taught me so much, provided me with opportunities and resources to learn and grow as a student activist – and most importantly, a supportive network that I hope will continue post-university. It can sometimes be hard-work, but it is so rewarding.