The Black Students Campaign is a liberation campaign within NUS UK’s democracy structure. This campaign is run for us and by us, the Black Students. According to our definition of Black, the inclusivity of the term incorporates those students who are African, African-Caribbean, Asian and those who self-define as Black. Black is not solely used as a descriptive term; we acknowledge that the Black communities around the world vary – hence the inclusion of the ability of self-definition and the use of the political term.
This year sees a new step for the campaign. At last year’s NUS National Annual Conference in Blackpool, the creation of a full-time officer position was ratified by the student union members of the National Union. After a long struggle, starting as long as ten years ago, the dream of the pioneers of Black representation for Black students was achieved. Through the work of the then Black students officer, Black students and our allies, a positive step was made to increase Black representation at all levels of the student movement. By acknowledging the national need for a Black students officer, students unions are now empowered to create positions and ensure the representation of their Black students on campuses.
Black students at college and university tend to only have contact with their students unions through being part of a club or society. One of the campaign’s aims is to encourage Black students to get further involved through standing for election to councils, committees and conferences. By getting further involved in the running of their students unions, Black students are able to actively contribute to democracy as well as taking advantage of the training and development gained from the experience. The campaign can help here by advising students on how to run successful elections, supporting elected Black sabbaticals and advising SUs on how to encourage Black students. At the regional conferences in February, workshops will be run on these same issues.
This year the Black Students Campaign is working hard to ensure that Black students are able to keep up to date with both the work the campaign is doing and what is happening on their own campuses. Through the Black Students E-mail Network and a regularly updated web area, Black students are able to contact both the full-time officer and members of the committee at any time.