From societies to campaigns, there are so many ways to get involved in the university and global voice. What are you interested in and how can you make yourself heard?

At Sussex there are more than 100 different societies that you can take part in, ranging from Doctor Who to Fem-Soc, as well as student-led campaigns, such as the ‘Late Again’ campaign that we feature within this edition. But how does it actually feel to be an activist here? What does it mean to take part in some kind of project that your time here can offer? How might it affect your identity? I spoke with two students within the International Development, Anthropology and International relations departments.

“The best thing with being here in Sussex is that for the first time in my life I´m feeling that it is OK to be different. It feels great to be in an engaging environment with lots of opportunities,” says Phoebe, a first year International development and Anthropology student.   

Phoebe has a history of activist involvement. In the past she has been heavily active within animal rights protests, and now, she participates within the UN role-model-project, Corbis, Femsoc and campaigning locally for sex-workers rights in Brighton.

To elaborate, the Corbis project is a research-based project led by both staff and students in order to work within the global health and development sectors.

Phoebe says that it is important that understandings of development and anthropology are respected and incorporated within health practices globally. Ultimately she hopes that the UN-project will give her inspiration and tools for the future, allowing her to realise her career potentials.

The UN module-project offers amazing opportunities as Phoebe details, ”The paper you write about for your resolution in the UN-model has the potential of being shown to the real UN. I hope it will be implemented and not just left within the pages of the written document.”

The project is highly competitive and comes with a lot of commitment. 25 students got selected for the UN Module-project, and training needs to be attended every week during autumn and spring term before a simulated modeled UN- negotiation in New York. There are participants from all over the world, discussing real world issues, it is amazing! 

But don’t think that you can only make change on a larger, international scale. You can also start right where you are and inspire others around you. You can get training in self-awareness and societal skills. Wejdane is one among many other students that are active within the role model, Sussex-led project.

Earlier she was active within UN-Women but now she´s here within the Role model-project, for which she wants to promote awareness. The project stands on two pillars, internal education and capacity-training, as well as mentoring of youths in the society, especially those with additional support needs. What Wejdane specifically liked about the training and project was:

“…That it was a space for reflection. Among other things we reflected over the impacts of words, such as the impact of what we say to other people. I´m now in the start of the project with six weeks training then I will go out to the community and guide one youth in a high school for three to five sessions. I think I will do five. It is so important to create linkages and bonds with others to create an impact.”

Wejdane also said that the most important thing with being an activist is to relate to others in your surroundings, and to make everyone feel at ease and comfortable in society. Similar to Phoebe she also highlighted the unique environment here at Sussex. ”People are so interested and open here about how we want to make a change”, Wejdane says.

There are so many opportunities out there to get involved and so, I hope you will find your networks and follow your dreams and aspirations within areas close to your heart.

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