Sunday, 4 August 2013

Week 3 - The (Liberation) Caucus Race and a Long Tale


We Kicked off our first day of ULU Training with a bang, well with mostly Britney Spears - Break the Ice. Yes, some how at this year's officer training event I got put in charge of the huge Ice breaker. Which in the end turned out really well I think. In groups, officers and activists has a fun time drawing their perfect student's union. I don't think they has much of a nice time having to deal with the surprise student situations I gave to them afterwards. I told them they had to deal with a international student who didn't like the local student night life, a single student parent who wanted to get involved with student politics and a student with a dodgy landlord. This was done to see if the perfect unions that they'd built was accessible to different types of students and more than just a hang out space. Weldone group 5 who had a fairground ride SU with a bumper car section where you could deal with your landlords. That fabulous Icebreaker was then  followed by many great workshops, where I hope many new friendships were made and networks were built.

On the second day of ULU Officer training, London officers and activists got together to discuss building a pan-London union. Me and Singh (SURHUL President) facilitated the liberation session where a group of us discussed what a pan-London student liberation network would look like. We also facilitated one of the sessions on structure and funding. I burnt out towards the end of the day so I'd like to thank Singh for covering for me :)                                                                                            In the end the name which was voted upon for this new union was (LUS) London Union of Students. Thank you to all those that elected me to be on the new founding committee and congratulations to everyone else who was elected. I'd also like to thank the IOE Sabb team for allowing us to have our evening social in their bar :)

This was the final day of training and I got to present two workshops. One was a preview of the Hollaback! ULU report and the other was on Women's Liberation on campuses. I'm going to talk about Hollaback! ULU later on this post so I'll talk about the women's liberation here.
With the Women's liberation session, I was aware that I only had an hour in a half to talk about such a huge subject so I went through some of the key issues women face in education and on campuses and the benefits of intersectional women's and feminist groups on campus. Next, officers and activists talked about what the situations on their campuses where like. After that I made everyone take part in an exercise where I split them into groups and made them step in the shoes of Women's Officers. As well as representing at least half the campuses at times, Women's Officers have to deal with a variety of issues, while studying (in most cases), as well as receiving allot of sexism on campus and online for just existing. I hope my session really communicated the importance of women's officers and why unions should be in favour of them.
Also on this day ULU was again featured in the Independent in regards to the the University of London decision to ban protesting in the Senate House area.

Between June 3rd and June 20th 2013, research was conducted across University of London institutions on the subject of sexual harassment on campuses. On Thursday I finally published the Hollaback! ULU Report online :) After doing a bit of online awareness work, I was interviewed by three lovely people from Catch 21 about the report.  Later in the day I was interviewed by a woman who who was doing research in to tackling sexual harassment on London transport. It really looks like this maybe the year (if only for London) that we may see some active campaigning on sexual harassment in our communities.

My Friday with meeting up with a Goldsmiths student feminist artist called Ren about changing the cafe space of ULU into somewhere student artists can display their work. Admittedly the rest of the day was spent catching up on bureaucratic things that I had put aside because of ULU Training. Later in the evening, I also attended Skirt - Education 4 Choice's fund raiser party at the resistance galley in Bethnal Green. Me and my friends had a great time and I hope Education for Choice raised allot of money. If you would like to know more about Education 4 choice you can visit their website here :)

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