I’ve always wanted to take part in an NUS rally, unfortunately when I first joined the National Union of Students I was too young to go. But on the 19th of November I – along with my friend Liane – was given the opportunity to join a group from the Student’s Union to march through the centre of London as part of the NUS’s campaign, United For Education.
It was an early start for us all – our coach left at 8am – which also included a brief warning on how to not be arrested (the paranoia seriously set in at this point).
Our group was small but that didn’t stop us from making an impact. In fact, one of the SU sabbatical officers ended the day completely covered in NUS campaign stickers – photographers loved him!
I have to say, it was amazing to see so many young people taking part. It can feel like we sometimes aren’t given a voice when it comes to politics – particularly after the EU Referendum where most young people voted in favour of remain – but this day was an exception.
Now, Liane and I had been tasked with carrying Solent’s banner through the London streets, and with storm Angus just on his way, it was a serious struggle keeping that banner from falling down! But we managed – even if after 45 minutes we swapped over with other members of our group!
After meandering our way through central London, passing famous sites on our way – the National Gallery and the Houses of Parliament being just two – we made it to our final rally point on Millbank.
Here we heard a variety of speakers, including the national president of the NUS, Malia Bouattia, an especially pre-recorded message from the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn and a rousing speech from outspoken journalist, Owen Jones (a personal Twitter favourite of mine) – we were spoilt for choice!
Once the rally was over, we all started to make our way back to our coaches to head home to our respective unis. Some as far as Orkney in north Scotland.
Overall the day was a success – we weren’t arrested and we made it to the end without feeling too much pain from all the walking.
I would definitely recommend anyone joining a demo for any cause which is important to them. It was the opportunity to speak to fellow students who shared my concerns and to feel as though I was truly contributing to our democracy. The experience also gave me the opportunity to continue the conversation once I was back home – I personally spoke to friends, family and shared my day with my various social media platforms.
For more information on any future events through the NUS visit https://www.nus.org.uk
Written by Isabelle Truscott
Photography by Liane Castle