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A New Deal


In 2014, citizens will be able to vote in local and European elections. Students deserve to have their voices heard. Communities must be listened to.

It will soon be time for communities to decide who they want to be their representatives in Parliament in 2015 and to decide who they want to lead our nation; it will soon be time to put a cross in that ballot box.

NUS is committed to supporting students’ unions to campaign on issues that are important to them and our new Community Organising project will develop a General Election strategy that all students’ unions can have ownership of.

Priorities this year are focused on delivering a new deal for the next generation –and central to this is the theme of community - and this project.

So what is community organising, and what does it mean for students?

At its heart, it’s about supporting people to recognise and use the power they have.  It’s aligned with the very values the student movement was built on and enhances the work that students’ unions already do.

It’s not a new thing – many organisations do it already, and where they do they win campaigns and have more active members and supporters.

Students’ unions are brilliant at bringing people together, bridging social groups, providing opportunities, broadening opinions, giving people a voice, helping them find and articulate their politics, and ultimately changing their lives.

They already do this day in, day out, and community organising won’t change that. However, it will give this work renewed purpose - the power we hold as a student movement is so full of potential and this work will give us the strength to use that power.

Our community organising project aims to support the creation of a base of activists able to organise around issues in their communities and to mobilise students to register to vote, to have their say.

By championing students, unlocking our huge potential, and using our individual and collective power, we have a golden opportunity now to come together and to act on our own initiative to create a fairer, more prosperous society.

Working across eleven regions this project will see different activities, events and techniques used to encourage students in their communities to register to vote.

In each of the 11 areas across the UK, from Brighton to Sheffield, Belfast to Swansea, locally based Community Organisers will deliver on this work locally, working with the different students’ unions and external organisations in the region.  

Each pilot project will approach this differently; have different issues and different ideas as to how to tackle them. There will be many reasons why students are and are not on the voting register and we want to get out to your areas and work with you to find out why and how we can empower them to be registered in preparation for 2015, campaigning on issues important to them.

But voter registration isn’t the only goal that will be served by our community organising work; all the campaigning and representation we do as students’ unions will be strengthened by adopting community organising techniques.

In fact, one of the key principles here is that it is not purely for mobilising around one specific issue or with one date in mind, but that it builds sustainability into our groups and campaigns.

Community organising will challenge students’ unions to think about leadership in a different way. Being an organiser is different from the models of leadership often see in the student movement.

It’s about so much more than standing at the front of a room delivering speeches to the converted, and talking to ourselves about ourselves. It’s about meeting people on their terms, in their space and actually listening to them.

It’s not about seeking the individual meetings with those in power to debate our way to change on behalf of others. It’s about bringing people together with a shared interest and common goal and letting them win for themselves using their collective power.

Nor is it about winning people over to your cause. Rather, it’s about giving them a platform to articulate theirs. Students’ unions often talk about ‘grassroots’ campaigning - well this is exactly that.

So together we’ll organise, we’ll campaign, and we’ll win. Because #WeAreTheChange.

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Hello, I'm NUS National President Toni Pearce and welcome to our national campaigns' page.

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