When the news is filled with stories that can depress even the most optimistic person, Impact Features writers are searching for the stories that will make you smile.

When you think of a stereotypical university student, what comes to mind? A pair of eyes peering over a mountain of books in Hallward library? Unsteady feet after one too many vodka tequilas at Ocean Friday?

Googling ‘university student’ brings up image after image of bright young faces, their arms clutching textbooks. But for many of us, university is so much more than studying or qualifications, as it should be. University is about meeting people from all over the world, finding out what you love and creating change. It is refreshing to see that the University of Nottingham (UoN) houses students who look beyond the graduation gowns and social scene. It is inspirational to see students speaking out against injustice; students with the initiative to go and seek the reform they desire.

“University is about meeting people from all over the world, finding out what you love and creating change”

As Impact has previously reported, students at UoN are campaigning to raise awareness about the current deferral period which stops men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood. The current system discriminates on the basis of sexuality rather than on risk of contaminated blood. Many wish to see an end to this ban: a chance for MSM to enjoy equal status here and increased donations to desperately low stocked blood banks.

VoiceYourRights (VYR) is a student run society which works to fight discrimination and give people an awareness of their own rights. Law students came together to start this particular project, Bloody Homophobia, in the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to give blood.

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The students are building a legal case and have created a petition to raise support for their cause. One of the most striking things about the campaign is the level of support it has already attracted. VYR have taken pictures with a range of societies who have voiced their support, and the numbers are growing.

“One of the most striking things about the campaign is the level of support it has already attracted”

These steps pursue ultimate change and government recognition. But regardless of the outcome, Bloody Homophobia represents something truly extraordinary. This campaign represents the difference we can all make. It demonstrates how the power of belief in justice can bring so many young minds together.

What is truly uplifting about this story is the motivation and promise of students to make the world we live in a better place.

Beth Webb-Strong

Embedded image: Howard Lake via Flickr. Featured image: Beth’s own

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