Feeling overwhelmed by the world’s crises? You are not alone. From economic turmoil to global conflicts, the world is full of hardships and injustices. This is why activism matters more than ever. But for many students it can feel daunting. How do you join the fight for change? How do you navigate the flood of information on social media? What platforms or organisations have the right intentions? To help bridge the gap for students wanting to use their voice more, I interviewed experienced student activists – Riko, Sofia, Aaron, Rose, Amelia, Milly, Elena and Phoebe – for guidance and tips on getting involved. 

The Importance of Quiet and Loud Activism 

Activism can feel daunting when we picture only the loud, frontline activists who tend to organise protests. However, it encompasses a spectrum of approaches, including quieter but equally impactful methods. Educating yourself on social issues, having conversations with others, and making ethical lifestyle choices all contribute to positive change. For instance, boycotting unethical brands such as McDonalds and Amazon, as Rose noted, “a minor task that en masse makes a big difference”.

Throughout all the interviews it was echoed that activism comes in different forms and needs to be aligned with individual strengths and comfort levels. For Riko, being an international student who is on a visa means the potential risks with loud activism are too high. But being an international officer allows her to be the platform for the voices of international students and fight for their rights at university. As Phoebe said, “our collective strength is magnified because we all have unique, varied strengths to offer”; every act adds to the broader movement for social change.

Navigating Social Media Activism

In an era dominated by social media, activism has found a new frontier online. Sofia harnesses the power of digital platforms to advocate for change. By sharing posts, “not only can you help educate others, and also learn more yourself, but interacting with the algorithm helps posts reach more people, fights censorship and exposes more people to the truth”.  

However, caution needs to be taken in trusting social media sources. All the students advocate for verifying sources, cross-referencing, scrutinising the information and being sceptical of mainstream Western media coverage of global issues. When you are sharing posts prioritising personal connections and first-hand experiences, it is fundamental to ensure that the most reliable source of information is platformed. Amelia also emphasised that “you shouldn’t be politically engaged purely through media or social media”. Ground your activism in real-life experiences and authentic connections.

Below is a curated list of some reliable Instagram pages:

For climate change: @climateincolour, @earthlyeducation and @climatereality 

For Palestine: @wizard_bisan1, @motaz_azaiza, @saleh_alijfarawi, @anat.international and @iampalipina @bdsnationalcommitee @brightonhoveactionforpalestine @palestine.solidarity

For Sudan: @womenofsudan, @red_maat and @sudan.updates and @bsonblast

For Congo: @freecongodrc, @congofriends and @foreverjuicebae

Lgbtq+: @reclaimpridebrighton

Feminism: @fatfabfeminist

Good activist accounts: @decolonizd, @disorientalizing, @decolonising_health, @humantiproject, @lovediarist @mariamtheugandan, @wearthpeace and @thepeoplepsychology @democracynow @novaramedia @aljazeeraenglish @amnesty @impact @ukisnotinnocent

Community and Networking

From all of the interviews, it was evident that “having a good community of people is so powerful”. Last year Elena’s struggle with eco-anxiety shifted when she found support among fellow activists, underscoring the importance of a strong network. In activism, community offers not only support, but also inspiration and shared purpose.

Rose also mentioned, “fostering a culture of care among your friends…[especially] if you’re someone that doesn’t fit the coloniser stereotype is a radical act and is an act of activism”. Additionally, networks of activists share the workload and accountability, ensuring that no one takes on too much.

It can be time-consuming to build networks so here are some recommendations from  the students:

On campus-

  • The Friends of Palestine Society holds protests in the library square, every Monday at noon during term time
  • The Decolonise Sussex campaign meet on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • The Sussex Anti-Racist Action, comprising of staff, students and community leaders
  • The Sussex STAR (Student Action for Refugees) Society, part of a national charity focused on creating a safer environment for refugees
  • The Amnesty International Society, raising awareness on human rights
  • The Oxfam Society, which Elena is co-president of, which aims to spread awareness of global issues
  • Check out initiative like the Food Waste Café and the Roots allotment, both addressing biodiversity and food waste
  • Look forward to Climate Justice Week starting on 22 April, featuring multiple educational opportunities, a second-hand fashion show and a residential trip to Knepp Estate, a biodiversity centre, for selected students

Off campus-

  • Stay updated with the Green Door Store’s social media and mailing list for events and solidarity fundraisers
  • Explore events at The Queery and the Ledward Centre in Brighton
  • Join Unite Hospitality to support a campaign focused on workers’ rights in the hospitality sector
  • Volunteer with the Whitehawk Community Food Project, contributing to year-round food production (volunteering gardening sessions are every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and in the summer sessions run from 12:30 pm to 4 pm and in the winter from 11 am to 3:30 pm).
  • Hummingbird Refugee Project
  • Survivors’ Network
  • Brighton and Hove Stop the War Coalition
  • Extinction Rebellion Brighton
  • Coldean Commons Restoration Community
  • Brighton Cop Watch
  • Leave No Trace Brighton

Specificity and Balance

All the student activists advocate for a targeted and focused approach and warn against vague activism and spreading yourself too thin by the overwhelming urge to tackle every problem. You cannot do everything. By concentrating your efforts on one or two issues is a more effective way of creating meaningful change. Rose shared the example of a volunteer running the weekly Free Wednesdays stall, a form of consistent engagement that provides a manageable yet impactful way to contribute regularly.

Finding balance is essential for sustainable activism and balance looks different for everyone. Setting boundaries and taking care of yourself is key; refrain from taking on too much, allocate specific time for activism, take “active and meaningful breaks” and remind yourself that no action is too small. It is also important to find a balance between addressing the negative aspects as well as the positive. Engaging with and celebrating the culture and community you are fighting for is equally vital. 

Being Critical

Critical thinking is paramount in activism. Activism is not merely about rallying crowds or posting on social media — it is about engaging in meaningful conversations, challenging perspectives, and nurturing critical thinking. Amelia emphasised the importance of questioning your norms and remaining open to change, stating that “people should always be questioning why they believe [and] what they believe”.  As students, we have the privilege of having access to a huge amount of scholarly resources. Amelia ensures that they get the most credible information, by reading scholars who are Palestinian and/or Arab as the fight for Palestinian liberation is one of the main things they use their voice for.

Amplifying Other Voices

Amplifying voices that are marginalised is another fundamental aspect of activism. Rose highlighted that it is imperative to know the difference between ‘I am not speaking for or over people, I am speaking with them‘. This is what Sofia’s activism encompasses: “Mostly, I stand in solidarity with people”. Phoebe reminded us that it is “crucial to consider your own positionality and privilege, particularly if you’re white, straight, cis, neurotypical, not disabled, wealthy, middle/upper class, of colonial heritage or any other privileged experience”. Elena recommended The Feminist Bookshop and Afrori, “a bookshop dedicated to celebrating black voices and stories”. Milly suggested ‘Feminism Is For Everybody’ by bell hooks as an “accessible introduction to feminism”. Reading a book that shines a light on a new perspective is an easy way to diversify the voices within your space. 

​​However, Aaron highlighted the importance of being aware that amplifying voices that have been marginalised is too big of a problem to put into bullet points. White supremacy is “deeply embedded and normalised” within societal structures as well as campaigns and organisations. Although EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) approaches are used, “it only merely puts them in that space without redressing any of the underlying failings or oppressive structures of an institution”. It is only diminishing the scale of the problem and pretending everyone is included. Being aware of this is fundamental, Aaron recommended the following literature as a starting point: ‘On Being Included’ by Sara Ahmed, ‘Race to the Bottom: Reclaiming Antiracism’ by Azfar Shafi and Ilyas Nagdee and ‘Radical Care’ edited by Hi’ilei Julia Hobart and Tamara Kneese. When discussing topics that do not personally affect you, you have to be “willing to sit and be uncomfortable”; “it is the first step to being anti-racist and anti-discriminatory”.


Having confidence in your ability to effect change is crucial, believe that you can do it, that you belong within the activism world. Elena did not even consider organising a protest as a possibility and now she has a multitude of events, protests and campaigns under her belt. Societies are open spaces, welcoming participation from all at any level of engagement. Embrace the courage to attend meetings and events, knowing that every act of involvement contributes to collective progress.

Lastly, Sofia reminded us not to lose hope. “It can be scary and daunting and demoralising when you look at the state of the world, but losing hope will never get us anywhere.” Hope is not merely a sentiment; it is a catalyst for change. 

Making a difference does not have to be daunting; it can be empowering, enlightening, and life-changing for people worldwide. Let us make some noise together.

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