SDM (Studenti Demokristjani Maltin) held a conference, yesterday, to discuss the results of the surveys and research which was conducted over the past weeks through their ‘Leave Your Mark’ campaign. Over 40 student organisations have supported this campaign and a number of representatives from these organisations attended the conference to explore the issues raised during the workshops.
SDM’s Secretary General Neil Smart Costantino introduced the conference and highlighted a number of successful activities the organisation has conducted in the past years such as the bullying campaign ‘Draw the Line’. Neil concluded his speech by emphasising that “even though we are students, we can still make a change.”
Martina Dimech, SDM’s current Gozo Coordinator, presented the 720 responses from the collected surveys and highlighted the top responses for each section of the survey. When asked about what encourages and stops students from being active, participants responded with ‘nothing encourages them’ and ‘they are not interested’. Participants have also been asked for their opinions on ways to increase student activism, to which they suggested to make activism more fun, make more surveys, get the work done by students to be recognised and being granted the opportunity to have an impact on society.
Attendants of the conference were divided into groups and participated in 5 workshops discussing different aspect of activism including; education, student activism, sports and leisure, opportunities and the environment. The groups discussed different issues regarding these aspects, and came up with ideas as well as potential solutions to encourage students to be more active in different aspects of life.
At the end of the conference, Neil Smart Costantino gave Insite his comment on the whole campaign “We can’t really say that the campaign has been successful or not, however, so far we can say it was. Because many students have approached us to see what they can do.” When asked about his personal thoughts on how to solve the issue of activism Costantino said “Personally, I think that students need to be recognised for what they are doing first. If students are accredited on their transcript when they graduate, it will definitely encourage them to participate in the work that is being done. The fact that student activism is not recognised by the university, pushes students away from getting involved in such activities. That is why a lot of students come to lectures and leave and this goes against our vision of creating a stronger community amongst university students.”
SDM will be analysing the survey responses as well as the ideas that came out during the workshops in the coming weeks, following which they will draft a vision with respect to student activism which will then be included in their electoral program.