University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Sussex’s student-led campaigns making a difference right now

Chris Ahjem

ByChris Ahjem

Oct 21, 2019

With over 20,000 students enrolled at the University of Sussex, it’s not surprising that many of them take an interest in changing the world around us – in fact, all of us should! Thus, Sussex is the home of many student campaigns which are accredited and recognised by the Students’ Union who exist to represent the students, the university and our wider community and aim to help us change our local and global communities.

On October 22, the Students’ Union is hosting the Change Sussex Forum. This forum provides students, both new and old, the chance to meet other students who hope to create change whilst at Sussex as well as the opportunity to learn more about the pre existing campaigns. This forum takes place in the Global Studies’ Resource Centre and starts at 5pm!

Ahead of this Change Sussex forum, The Badger wants to provide our readers a breakdown of all the Students’ Union recognised student-led campaigns that you could be involved with so we’ve created this quick guide to the following 8 of them.

 

Access Sussex

Relaunched in February 2019, Access Sussex aims to enable all Sussex students the appropriate access they need to campus. Their main goal is to ensure that all those with visible or invisible disabilities won’t face discrimination as well as raising awareness of access requirements and disabilities as a whole.

The campaign has created an important and incredibly useful resource for students with disabilities to find information, community, support and events relevant to them in their Facebook group, the ‘Access Sussex Network’. It is also used to promote the relevant work of university staff and services to create a wider student reach.

Callum Chapman, one of Access’ key campaigners, has gone on to be elected as the new students with disabilities part-time officer, allowing him to contribute to increased visibility and impact of the Access Sussex campaign.

If you would like to get involved then follow them on Instagram @access_sussex or ‘Access Sussex’ on Facebook.

 

Ecosia on Campus (formerly Ecosia at Sussex)

In January 2018, some anthropology students started a campaign to make Ecosia the default search engine on campus over sites like Google or Yahoo. Ecosia is a site that uses its profits to aide worldwide reforestation by planting a tree after approximately each 45 searches.

By September 2018, the University accepted the notion and Ecosia was made the default search engine for the Microsoft Edge app throughout campus resulting in over 10,000 trees being planted due to Sussex searches in the following year.

With their Ecosia across Sussex via Microsoft Edge plan achieved, they now work on expanding nationally to other universities and beyond as well as promoting Ecosia in Sussex and campaigning to get it as the default on other services like Chrome.

Follow them on Facebook at ‘Ecosia on Campus’ or on Twitter at @SussexOnEcosia. Or download Ecosia at ecosia.co/universityofsussex

 

Decolonise Sussex

This campaign is borne out of the need to raise awareness of and challenge the legacies of racism, imperialism and colonialism within all spheres of the University of Sussex. Their main aim is to lobby and ensure that the University is aware of and actively dismantling structural inequalities rather than perpetuating them.

To achieve their goals, Decolonise host events and actions and produce informative and creative content whilst trying to change Sussex’s internal power structures by challenging eurocentrism across curricula and disciplines. 

This Black History Month, they are hosting an interactive Privilege Bingo demonstration followed by a discussion and a film screening. If interested, members meet every Monday from 6-8pm in the Fulton building.

To follow this campaign find them on Facebook as ‘Decolonise Sussex’ or on Instagram at @decolonisesussex.

 

Late Again B&H

Borne in October 2018 out of the student annoyance towards unreliable bus services to and from campus, Late Again B&H has already been making major changes to campus life and Brighton as a whole.

Set up by Frida, SU President 2018-19, Late Again work on lobbying the Brighton & Hove Bus Company to help change and improve timetables, increase the number of buses travelling via campus and ensuring there is enough space for students on these buses.

Their hard graft has resulted in meetings with the bus company in which they committed to improving the buses specifically the 23 and 50U bus timetables. These improvements allow students an easier and more timely commute to campus.

Follow their effort and get involved on Twitter at @LateAgainBH, ‘Late Again B&H’ on Facebook and on Instagram at @lateagainbh.

 

Plastic-Free Sussex

Created in March this year, this campaign aims to have the Union and the University reflect the environmentally aware student population at Sussex. A key way to do this globally is to properly manage waste and a lesser use of plastic.

Plastic-Free Sussex are thus attempting to make Sussex a greener campus and are working to encourage students to be more socially conscious consumers and the SU to reduce its negative environmental impact.

As a student community, we should all be working on reducing our use of everyday plastic from plastic pint glasses to takeaway containers, bottles of water to excessive product packaging. This needs to be massively reduced as often plastics can’t be recycled and ultimately end up contributing to landfill and thus climate change.

They’ve already begun making huge changes to campus life with their campaign successfully getting the SU to implement a plastic-free policy during the Spring Referenda period.

If you want to find out more or get involved then find them on Facebook at ‘Plastic-Free Sussex’.

 

Sweatshop Free Sussex

A campaign created to combat the poor conditions of the sweatshop workers who are used to build and make the electronics that we all use daily especially in our university studies on and off campus. These electronic sweatshops are notorious for long hours, low page, unsafe working conditions, violence and a high risk of modern slavery.

Globally many workers attempt to organize against these conditions and Sweatshop Free Sussex stands with these workers and supports their demands whilst trying to educate Sussex students so they’re more consciously ethical consumers.

Sweatshop Free Sussex works to get the University of Sussex to join the Electronics Watch – an organisation that’d provide the University with information on where our electronics are sourced and the working conditions in which they are made.

If you want to join this campaign or to learn more, follow them on Twitter at @SxSweatshopFree or find them on Facebook as ‘Sweatshop Free Sussex’.

 

Under The Sheets

Created in March 2019, Under The Sheets is a campaign which recognises the nationwide lack of sexual and emotional education. They aim to have Sussex be one of the leaders in the movement for healthier conversations about sexual education and emotionally healthy relationships whilst building a more sex positive society.

The sexual education they aim to provide isn’t just limited to anatomy and safe sex. It spans wildly important topics from sex work to red flags in potentially emotionally or physically abusive relationships. They also consider and educate on the importance of abstinence for some due to their sexuality, health or faith.

If you want to get involved with this campaign find them on Instagram at @sussexunderthesheets or on Facebook as ‘Sussex Under The Sheets’.

 

Youth Strike for Climate Brighton

Brighton’s Youth Strike for Climate aims to locally, and globally, raise awareness of the current climate crisis and the urgency around it. Especially amongst students who are disproportionately impacted by its definite effect on our futures.

By informing everyday young people and students on this worldwide dilemma and it’s knock on effect to their lives then global environmental change can be achieved. Whilst locally, they focus on helping in Sussex by pushing for a more sustainable and aware campus community. They’ve already begun mobilising with Brighton, Britain’s third largest climate strike city, seeing over 10,000 people striking in the streets for climate.

If you want to get involved or find out more then follow them on Instagram at @youthstrike4climatebrighton, on Twitter at @Strike4YouthBH and on Facebook at ‘YouthStrike4Climate Brighton’.

 

If any of these interest you then go to the Change Sussex Forum or learn how to contact each and join in at sussexstudent.com/campaigns.

Follow Sussex Campaigns on Instagram for an overview: @sussex_campaigns

Alternatively, create your own campaign to target a local or global issue that you feel has been ignored!

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