fringe room 2

Over 180 people attended the UJS Fringe event

The Union of Jewish Students’ (UJS) fringe event took centre stage at day one of the National Union of Students (NUS) conference.

The NUS conference is taking place in Liverpool this year between 21-23 April. In addition to being an policy and leadership conference for over 1000 students each year, it also offers a platform for different groups to engage with topical issues. 

The UJS annual fringe event is one of the most popular events, regularly attracting 200 students. For the 2015 event, the theme was ‘Faith not Fear: Fighting for LGBT and Religious Freedom’, and attracted 180 people, and engaged students in issues relating to identity.

Benjamin Cohen, Naith Payton & Robbie Young - fringe panel

Benjamin Cohen, Naith Payton & Robbie Young – fringe panel

Speaking at the event, which was chaired by Robbie Young, the NUS LGBT Officer, was Pink News founder and CEO Benjamin Cohen, alongside Naith Payton, a trans journalist and fiction writer.

The event focused on the representations of LGBT, faith and ethnic minorities within the press and the potential for different minority groups to work separately and together to combat discrimination and prejudice.

“Everyone is different, everyone falls into different brackets and we live in a very diverse society” said Benjamin Cohen of Pink News.

He added that with all the different groups in society “Democracy is enhanced by hearing all sides of the argument”.

The event helped to engage students in the issue of identity politics and the role of education with regard to LGBT, safe space, no platform policies on campus.

Other activities on day one of the conference, included Jewish and non Jewish students volunteering  in partnership with Anthony Nolan.

UJS volunteers encouraged students to register as potential life savers to donate bone marrow, which follows students’ involvement with the Jewish community’s mobilisation during #Spit4Mum.

This is the second consecutive year UJS and Anthony Nolan have engaged hundreds of students with this life saving cause, and efforts have seen over 100 registered as potential life savers.

Anthony Nolan stall

Anthony Nolan stall

Jewish students also brought a taste of kosher life, including Jewish food, and showcasing the Jewish Experience Week [J.E.W.] and Save a Child’s Heart [SACH] campaigns.

Jewish student delegates at the Conference were also informed about Jewish customs and introduced to the contributions of Jews and Israel to global health and development.

UJS team on stall

SACH and J.E.W. stall members at the UJS stall