Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/503/3162
University freshers fairs
IF YOU were a student at Northumbria University's freshers fair, and were interested in socialist ideas, our Socialist Student stall was the only stall for you!
Students flocked to our stall, many wanting to discuss the Campaign to Defeat Fees or what we mean by socialism and even the effect of the Northern Rock crisis on the economy in Newcastle.
People often bemoan student apathy, but at Northumbria University we are confident we can build a vibrant Socialist Student society.
We sold 25 Student Socialist magazines (we could have sold more, but sold out), and 38 copies of the socialist. Over 100 students said they were interested in the Campaign to Defeat Fees, and three were interested in joining the Socialist Party. Keep your eyes peeled for more about our activities at Northumbria University!
Paul Phillips, Northumbria Socialist Students
"WHY ISN'T everyone signing this?" "How can I help out?" These were some of the positive remarks as new students at Brunel signed the petition for the Campaign to Defeat Fees at the freshers fair.
The initial interest in this particular campaign paved the way for us to discuss wider issues such as 'what is socialism?'
The most serious political discussions were held with students from Greece, who had partaken in and understood the effectiveness of mass demonstrations.
Initially another left-wing party claiming to be Socialist Students (obviously trying to succeed off our reputation) commandeered our stall but after swift action from the students' union, it was all plain sailing.
With many new potential members, and some signed up on the spot, Brunel Socialist Students is set to increase its presence on campus, showing students that grassroots activism with a clear strategy and organisation is the only way to defeat fees.
Sean Williams, Brunel Socialist Students
University of Central England
AFTER LAUNCHING the first ever Socialist Students society at the University of Central England (UCE) earlier this year, on 19 September, UCE Socialist Students participated in its first freshers fair.
Socialist Party youth members from across Birmingham helped out on the successful, day long stall, with 148 people adding their names to the Campaign to Defeat Fees petition, of which 108 said they wanted to become active in the campaign. 20 students decided to join the society.
Credit must also go to the students' union, whose sabbatical officers were extremely co-operative and helpful, printing many leaflets and posters, and booking a room on-campus for our meeting later that day on 'What is socialism?' introduced by International Socialist Resistance national co-ordinator, Ben Robinson.
We are planning freshers fair stalls at other Birmingham universities where local Socialist Party members are already students, in the coming weeks.
Dave Allen, Regional Socialist Party youth organiser, Birmingham
John Moores University & Liverpool University
STUDENTS AT Liverpool John Moores spoke of the increasing worries of debt, even in the first week, and were compelled to channel their anger into something but wondered what good would come of it. Others saw a need for action. On the back of this, a number of students joined Socialist Students and saw that an alternative must be fought for.
The same situation existed at Liverpool University's fair but with our stall outside we could speak easily without the noise of the other stalls. Students spoke on issues such as world poverty and were eager to sign up to Socialist Students not comprehending why other students wouldn't!
Along with our anti-tuition fees campaign we pushed a meeting on the Middle East on 27 September
SOCIALIST STUDENTS and Socialist Party members gathered at Lincoln University's freshers fair. The day was a success with a constant stream of students visiting the stall, taking information, and supporting campaigns.
Our petitions against the war in Iraq and to defend public services met with an enthusiastic response. The best response, though, was for our new campaign to boycott Nestlé. Dozens of people are appalled by the behaviour of this giant, capitalist multi-national.
We sold many copies of the socialist, Student Socialist magazines and books, as well as getting financial donations. Altogether nearly £50 was raised on the stall.
Many of the new students we met attended the evening introductory meeting where we had a lively discussion on 'What is socialism?' Overall a positive and promising start to the semester and we now intend to build our strength in Lincoln and campaign on the issues that really matter to students.
Jane Land, Lincoln University Socialist Students
Manchester University & Manchester MetropolitanUniversity
MANCHESTER SOCIALIST Students held a successful intervention into both Manchester University and Manchester Metropolitan University fresher fairs. Many freshers are paying £3,070 in tuition fees and some are paying even more.
Second year students who were the first to experience the high tuition fees are already feeling the financial strain. The anger meant that many students are attracted by the Campaign to Defeat Fees.
Despite not being allowed into the main hall of the fair, we were able to sign up 58 people from both universities. We sold 30 Student Socialist magazines and 13 copies of the socialist. On Thursday we held a successful Socialist Students meeting and we are on the way to organising groups on both campuses.
Students of Manchester University are facing problems with cuts and having to pay £1,000 of their tuition fees before they have even registered. Socialist Students are demanding a change to this system and circulated an open letter to management which struck a chord with students. We are going to hold a demonstration to make a big deal of handing all the signed letters in next Wednesday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details of the demo.
Jess Hodson, Manchester Met Socialist Students
In The Socialist 27 September 2007:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news