I forgot no.5. (which is crazy since I’ve been hatching this plan since the Summer and before I even knew I was running for WO but anyway…):
MYGENERATION: The Community Action Officer (Leander Jones – lovely guy by the way, you should all participate in his Listening Campaign) and myself are hoping to start up a campaign aimed at increasing access to University to students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. This is important in light of proposed changes to the HE system under the Browne Review and White Paper, as well as Birmingham having some of the poorest areas in the country.
Many studies have shown that students from families on the lower end of the income scale tend to be far more debt-averse and thus, much less likely to enter HE, a disparity in opportunity that will only increase with rising fees and decreasing quality of institutions. They also tend to attend less successful schools and may suffer from feelings of disempowerment, lack of confidence and so on. (By the way, I want to stress this is not a rule, just tends to be the patterns emerging).
Thus, we have come up with the idea (maybe stolen from Oxford… ;P) of running open-days for students from local schools, involving workshops and mini-lectures showcasing UoB’s societies and departments so that the next generation of young people 1. realise that University is absolutely cracking and is possibly worth considering. 2. can be informed about the pros and cons of University education and associated debt from the people that know – the students. 3. can be offered support from the generation before them.
On point (3.) – the open-days will hopefully be followed up by an e-mentoring scheme where students are on hand (after a few clicks) to give advice, offer encouragement and provide a kind ear when teachers or parents may just not be best.
Anyway, this is something Leander and myself will be working on over Christmas – more info. to follow. Just FYI, both of us are involved in the Defend Education group on campus and actively support and often participate in direct action and awareness raising that takes place here and elsewhere – but this is a hopefully complemetary route to take to help access to HE. It’s us being proactive!
Anyway, watch this space for exciting updates.
Muchos love xx