THERE IS only a week to go to the national demonstration against student hardship, on Thursday 25 November. It is set to be a brilliant show of opposition to New Labour's tuition fees and for the return of student grants. There is stacks of enthusiasm for the demonstration, but not much time left to ensure there is the biggest turnout possible.
Students everywhere need to be selling tickets for coaches, leafleting halls of residence and bars, and addressing lectures. Five coaches are booked from Lancaster University and another two from St Martin's College nearby. It is set to be the biggest mobilisation from the college that anyone can remember for years.
Stewart Aitken, the general secretary of the student union at Lancaster, says, 'At Lancaster we fully support the march and we are going to send as many students as possible. We are all really looking forward to the day. Student hardship is a really huge issue. When you see that mature students' enrolment into college is declining rapidly then it forces the issue home to you.'
Andrew Pakes, the national president of NUS, spoke about the demonstration at Bristol University last week. The student union there has booked four coaches for the march. 'There were about 200 students milling about at lunchtime. It was billed as a 'beananza' because students are forced to live off baked beans. NUS were giving out beans free! It raised the profile of the demo.'
Five coaches are booked from Sheffield University. Nottingham University, Nottingham Trent University and Derby University have all booked four coaches each. Nottingham University student union also plans a day of action across the college on 18 November. 'We're organising tours of all the bars with leaflets,' says a student. Coaches are also booked from Manchester, Liverpool and Warwick.