Stalls and leafletting give you a chance to show a visible presence on campus and meet new people. Print a ton of flyers (get some from your SU, or UCU branch, or watch this space for student specific ones. Some PhD students get free printing, or your UCU branch or SU may do this for you).
Choose a time and place that will be relatively busy. Either get hold a table you can use – decorate it with a banner, an open letter/petition sheet, and sign-up sheet for contact details. Or stand with/next to your banner as you leaflet people.
Stop people as they pass and talk to them about why academic staff are striking, why they should support it, and what they can do. Collect contact details from people who are keen so you can add them to your WhatsApp group/Signal chat/fb group. You could collect signatures for an open letter in support of the strike/petition to the Vice Chancellor to come out in support of the strike demands.
Vice Chancellor pay day party
Hold a pay day party for your VC to highlight huge pay inequality on our campuses. At most universities, by some time in February, VCs will have already earned the same amount that the lowest paid workers on campus earn in en entire year. Throw your Vice Chancellor a big party outside their office to congratulate them on their record of cutting everyone’s wages but their own. You could make a cake, play music and deliver a giant cheque or card. You could use this as a creative way of delivering a petition.
You could stage a sit-in outside or occupy the offices of senior management to protest the fact that casual contracts mean graduate teaching assistants are paid less than minimum wage for the hours worked; or that cleaners and caterers aren’t paid a living wage.
Banner drops, stencils, flyposting, chalking
Plaster your campus with messages in support of the strike and its demands. For banner drops, choose a location with lots of foot traffic to display your banner, where lots of people will be able to read your message clearly. More advice in this zine.
Flyposting is illegal- so if you do it, cover up, be quick, and make sure ‘not to be flyposted’ is printed on your posters. Chalking washes off in the rain, so is less risky.
Demos and flashmobs
Hold a static or moving demo, or do a stunt or creative action as a flashmob. Borrow a megaphone from your SU or UCU branch, prepare some chants and songs, get some people lined-up to do speeches (or have an open-mic), and bring some placards and a banner.
Choose somewhere lots of students will pass, and make sure everyone who does can easily see what you’re about, and can sign up to get involved too. You don’t need many people to pull this off- so don’t worry if you’re a small group at this point in the term.
Find the online timetable for the biggest lecture theatres at your uni. Turn up a bit early and ask the lecturer if you can do a quick shout-out about the UCU strike and why students should support it. Write down some bullet points on your hand, and speak for 1-2 minutes about the strike, its demands, why students should support it and what, when and where your next student solidarity next action or meeting is. Some lecture theatres hold hundreds – so this is a good way to quickly get the message across to a large group of people.
Occupations and sit-ins
Occupations can be about leverage and pressure on uni management, where you stay put and cause real disruption until they surrender, or more about getting attention and claiming space on campus to talk about your demands. They can be long-term things that last for days, weeks or even months, or flash occupations that last for a day or two, or even just a few hours. See here for a guide on how to do them!
Blockades, noise demos
Bring a banner and some pals and blockade the entrance to management offices early in the morning, before they arrive. Greet them with a lot of noise and tell them your demands. Alternatively, head down when you know they have an important meeting, and make as much noise as you can near the windows- bring pots and pans to bang on, vuvuzelas, alarms…
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want any advice or help, or activists from another uni to join you on the day of your action!