Student representation is an incredibly important part of the university experience. This week voting is taking place to elect new sabbatical officers, liberation officers, society representation, and school representatives. I highly encourage you to vote if you’re an existing student – these positions do make a difference!
Some of these positions are really important to certain groups within the university. I want to talk about some of the communities we have, which support all students at Edinburgh.
Liberation groups exist so that communities that have been historically underrepresented in academia have strong representation. These groups continue to experience disadvantages and oppression in wider society. By forming these communities within the university, we can foster support and campaign for all individuals and identities.
I belong to multiple liberation groups within our university. Finding the acceptance and encouragement from these groups is important. It’s great to see the steps we can make over time.
The Liberation Groups include:
- LGBT+ Liberation Group
As well as support and campaigning for the lgbt+ community of Edinburgh university, the liberation group provides a safe space for members of the community. The group is open to all students identifying as lgbt+. We are involved in active campaigning on campus, and beyond.
- BME Liberation Group
Despite being a university with a strong international representation minority, BME groups are still severely underrepresented. This group provides a safe space and a platform for members of its community. Their current goals include building ties between BME students, diversifying the curriculum, and giving students a voice, to be treated with respect.
- Disability and Mental Wellbeing Liberation Group
Students self-defining as having a disability can include those with physical disabilities, chronic illness, invisible illness, and mental illness. This is a great community where students experiencing disability can find support, discuss their experiences, and share the issues and challenges they face as students.
- Women’s Liberation Group
The Women’s Liberation Group has been involved in many campaigns fighting for our rights. All self-identifying women are allowed to join this group to share their struggles and challenges, and seek support and change within the university, and beyond.
These communities tend to experience a lack of representation within the context of the university. Often these groups are overlooked in representation efforts at universities and these teams exist to work against this.
The Student Groups include:
- International Student Group
There are a huge number of international students at our university. This group provides a community to share experiences and challenges and they organize lots of events to bring the international community together.
- Mature and Part-time Student Group
The views of these students are often underrepresented at the university. This group seeks to foster a community to change that.
- Postgraduate Student Group
The postgraduate group holds regular meetings to improve the student experience of Edinburgh postgrads. There are plenty of ways to get involved and share your experiences as a student with this group.
- Student Parents and Carers Group
This is a more recently established group to support and represent parents and carers. This group brings these students together and promotes the sharing of difficulties this community may face in their studies.
These groups are amazing initiatives at the university, led by amazing people. They make our university communities much stronger and work hard to make sure all students voices are heard and respected. Supported by a number of individuals and societies, the change these groups are able to make is wonderful. It’s so important that no one ever feels the university doesn’t care. These groups seek to highlight the issues and change them.
If you’re a member of one of these groups consider joining your community, and finding an amazing safe space for support.
Don’t forget to vote for your group leaders this week either!