The university semester is in full swing and our Oxfam groups are at full pelt campaigning, studying, partying and general uni shenanigans. Over the last six months we have expanded into 12 campuses across Australia and we’ve recently jumped the Tasman to Hobart.
During the drama that is Orientation week — the rain in Sydney, the hi-jinx in Melbourne and the Western Australian hangover —our University groups held their own, signing up the odd thousand students to Oxfam on campus. As soon as the Orientation week haze lifted, groups around Australia emerged, organising, recruiting and gearing up for the year.
First off the rank, Close the Gap. Working in partnership with a variety of groups across their campuses, groups organised a whole stack of different events for Close the Gap from the classic BBQ-and-petition combo through to hand painting and public lectures with the University health department.
In February, uni group leaders spent a week in Sydney training and planning campaigning strategies for their Universities around Grow. As the Fairtrade Fortnight looms closer, groups have started roll out some of their thinking and plan for the year, especially in regards to placing the issue of fair trade within the wider narrative of food insecurity and economic globalisation. The expected occasional conflict with various staff and university committees over Free Trade Agreements and the like only reaffirms the need for the telling of sustainable stories in Australian universities that support and enable the poor and marginalised. Stick it to ‘em kids!
On a different note, ten 3things leaders in Sydney and Melbourne will be juggling workshops with hundreds of high school students with their regular routines. As the trial period for a wider national network, we are waiting eagerly to hear the successes and equally, to see the photos (and the bruised egos) of the disasters.