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Winning Commitment for Improved Bus Travel in Leeds

student community organising

Student Community Organiser – Semester 2 Report

As a Student Community Organiser (SCO), I have had to engage, discuss, relate with fellow students to better appreciate their issues and concerns experienced as students of Leeds Beckett University studying and living in Leeds.

Over the course of this semester, responses from our listening activities were analysed and various themes derived from them. We saw emerging themes such as the cost of living, availability of part-time work for students (especially international students), bus transport and fares, time-tabling, employment and employmentability, inclusivity and sense of belonging, 20 hours work limit for international students, culture shock, etc.

The Journey

Through meetings and various engagement activities, a few of the collated issues were identified and prioritised for campaigns this semester. They include reliable buses and fares, time-tabling, cost of living and living conditions. SCOs, Student Officers and other student representatives teamed up into various action groups to champion the campaign for each of these issues identified. I, another SCO and the SU President championed the buses campaign.  

The intresting thing about the buses’ issues in Leeds was the fact that it was a city wide concern and not limited only to Leeds Beckett University students. This is because other communities and groups were also engaging in campaigns around bus issues such as their reliability, convinience and accessibility. A call for volunteers was set up on the Students' Union website for other students to come on-board and support the campaign. Students who had signed up at the various fairs were also reached out to via emails and calls and invited to come on-board. The responses were encouraging as some who were unavailable this semester registered their interests to be a part of the campaign in the coming semester.

The Outcome

I took part in an SCO bi-weekly meeting, and I also engaged with some of the volunteers who signed up during the summer and winter freshers’ fairs as part of our preparation for the the transport campaign. On the 25th of April, the first West Yorkshire Citizens Accountability Assembly was held, where over 130 of the inhabitants of the county including our campaign team, volunteers, and other students of LBU gathered at the Rosebowl at Leeds Beckett University to deliver incredibly powerful stories and asks to the mayoral candidates and local MPs/councillors around themes of Mental Health, Pathways to Work and Buses. 

Together, we won a commitment from power holders to work with us towards achieving our asks on access to more reliable, convenient, and accessible buses, inclusive part-time employment, and mental health, which is a great step in achieving results for students!