I work part time for a church in North Wales as a Student Worker. Most of the time I am paid to support our student group, offer pastoral care to students and explore ways we can engage with more students. I also go to meetings and am involved in things at church. In practice this means I am paid to drink a lot of tea in our uni coffee shop. When people ask me what it is I do, the first answer I give is that I am paid to be nice to students. That is the one line version that summarises all the stuff I do.
It also works well because it incorporates a lot of the motivation behind what I do. As a Christian I believe in a God of love, who limited themself to human form in order to demonstrate that love. Jesus’ life and ultimately his death demonstrates the nature of God as one who cares for other people, giving of himself out of his love for them.
It is because of the example of Jesus and because I am employed to be nice to students that I am joining our Student Union’s contingent going down to London on 21st November.
How can I say God, the Church, or I love students if I stand idly by when existing students are facing horrific debt and crippling cuts and other when university applications are falling? How can I hear students express their overwhelming fear of never repaying their loan, or that they will have “invested” all this money but be one of the growing number of under 25 year olds unable to find employment?
I can’t. It would destroy my integrity, it would make a mockery of the work I do and be a very poor representation of the God whom I follow with my life.
I care deeply about students. The ones I work with, the ones I will work with in the future, the people who have been put off being a student, and so I am called by the loving God to turn that love into action. To speak out against the fees and the cuts. They weren’t right two years ago and they still aren’t now. They are still hurting students. They still have to stop and so I am going to march to tell this to the government, the media and the country.