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Divest Borders Student Union Motion

Student Unions/Associations are a key democratic channel that students can use to bring about change at their university. We have written a Template Student Union Motion that you can use to build support for Divest Borders on your campus.

Customise our Template Motion to fit your university context, and use the guide below to get the motion passed.

Download Template Motion

How to Pass a Student Union Motion

A Student Union Motion is a type of policy that sets out the Student Union’s stance on, and commitment to a particular issue. For the Divest Borders campaign, we are proposing that Student Unions adopt a policy that states their support for the campaign, and commits themselves to helping out the campaign group.

  • First, you’ll need to work out how you can get a policy considered at the Student Union. Look for something like a ‘Student Council’ where students can bring policies for debate and vote. There might be a ‘Student Voice’/’Democracy’ section on your SU website with more info on this. To bring a motion to council, it will probably need to be sponsored by a number of Student Union/Council members, or a (larger) number of students. Think about which of these options is best for you.
  • Once you have worked out how to get a policy considered, it’s time to start converting the template motion into the correct format. Different Student Unions/Councils might have different styles. Make sure to check the style used in recent successful motions, and make edits where required to ensure the motion is specific to your university context. If you need help, please feel free to get in touch.
  • At this point, it’s probably a good idea to reach out to Student Officers/Councillors. They will have a lot of say over what happens in the meeting. Think about which ones you have relationships with, and who tends to work on social justice, equality and diversity and international students issues. Welcome input from them about how to get the motion passed.
  • Now, we can start to think about how to get the motion passed. It’s important to build support for the motion. In the meeting, you’ll want to show that there’s a broad coalition of groups behind you where possible, and that you have deep and diverse support. And if the policy goes out to all students to vote, you’ll want to gather as much support as possible. Start reaching out to allied groups and let them know what’s going on, to build that base of support.
  • It’s a good idea to prepare properly. Have a think about who is going to say what when you’re debating the motion, and think about any questions that might come up and how you will respond. It’s probably a good idea to tip off the student press and your allied societies that you’re trying to pass the motion too.
  • If the motion does get passed, this means you have a commitment on paper from your Student Union/Council to support you. Make sure you follow through on it! Start looping relevant officers into your campaign, and make sure you make full use of their support and institutional access. Alert the student press to build momentum from this win.
  • If the motion doesn’t pass, don’t be disheartened. You can still work with the Union/Council to amend the motion into something that will pass. Make a note of any Officers who were supportive of the motion, and reach out to them to start involving them in the campaign.
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