On 27/02/2017, students passed a policy called ‘Erasmus Post Brexit’, mandating AberSU’s Academic Affairs Officer to actively lobby at all levels for Aberystwyth Universities continued participation in the ERASMUS+ scheme after the UK’s wthdrawal from the EU. As a result, this year we are launching the ‘Purple Postbox Project’, a student-led movement encouraging members of Aberystwyth university to take direct action and lobby to their MP’s for the protection of ERASMUS+ post brexit.
The Purple Postbox Project is an AberSU initiative aimed at encouraging students to raise issues they care about to external influencers, so that they may have a loud and coherent voice roaring for change. The project will encourage staff and students across campus to sign and send pre-written postcards to MP’s across the UK, highlighting the importance and need to stay full members of ERASMUS+ post-brexit.
There will be frequent pop-up postbox stalls at various social and academic locations throughout the collection period, all you need to do is rock up and sign your name!
A purple postbox will also be perminantly situated at SU reception, where you will be able to sign a postcard at any time!
Our message to MP's
Our message states "ERASMUS+ is widely valued by Aberystwyth University students, with many concerned what the future may hold should we lose it." The postcard will also feature a link to this very page, encouraging the MP’s that receive them to view our open letter to UK parliament and your student and staff testimonies of how ERASMUS+ has impacted you.
Our goal is to send a minimum of 500 postcards to at least 50 different constituencies across the UK; with hopes to receive a positive response or conversation with at least one receiver of a postcard.
A full breakdown of our progress, including the number of postcards sent to each constituency and party, can be found here
ERASMUS+ AND BREXIT – THE FACTS
ERASMUS+ (EuRopean Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students+) is the European Unions current mobility scheme for teaching and learning abroad. Established in 2014, ERASMUS+ is an integrated programme combining all available schemes for teaching, learning, training, youth and sport within the EU, including the original ERASMUS program, established in 1987.
The programme is available for participation within school, further, higher, youth, adult and sporting educational institutions, by students, teachers, coaches, apprentices, lecturers, youth workers and volunteers.
ERASMUS+ ultimately allows students, teachers and institutions to access learning opportunities and build relationships across 34 programme countries, 22 partner countries, and elsewhere internationally to broaden prospects, gain high quality experience, and drive innovation across educational and working sectors.
What is the Problem?
The UK is due to leave the European Union on the extended deadline of 31st January, 2020. As of present, it is extremely unclear as to what impact this may have on UK exchanges within ERASMUS+, both incoming and outgoing, with many changes and interruptions expected to occur as a result of the withdrawal. The UK government have assured that they wish to remain full state members of the ERASMUS+ programme, allowing for continued and uninterrupted access to international study for UK students post-brexit. However, without negotiating an agreement with the European Commission, the UK’s membership within ERASMUS+ is under threat, and it is unknown whether UK students, staff and volunteers will be able to study or work abroad with such fluidity and low financial costs as of right now. With this, those that are abroad as part of the scheme on the withdrawal deadline may face severe complications with their right of residence, study and financial aids.
What could happen?
The UK is now set to leave the EU on yet another extended deadline of January 31st. On the original deadline of October 31st, a bill received Royal Assent calling for a general election on the 12th December. This means that it is entirely possible that between now and the time we Brexit, the UK will have a new Prime Minister, and as such, new perspective. The honest answer to: What could happen come January? is ‘almost anything’. Dependent on these elections, the possibilities of our EU membership range from a no-deal departure, to a second referendum or even a cancellation of this whole ordeal. There is no true way to tell. Whatever happens, though, AberSU believe it is vital to Aberystwyth students, and others across the UK, that access to ERASMUS+ and Horizon 2020 remains a national priority, which is why the Purple Postbox Project will remain strong no matter the outcome come December 12th.
I WANT TO GET INVOLVED
Whether it's sending a postcard, filling in our online form or even volunteering on one of our Purple Postbox Stalls, there are loads of ways you can help try and save ERASMUS+!
Send a Postcard
Postcards and the Purple Postbox will be available from the SU Reception or on one of our pop-up stalls.
Tell us why you care
Show your passion for ERASMUS+ and international study schemes like it by telling us about your love and experiences using the form below! Whether you had the time of your life while studying, volunteering or teaching abroad, or you met someone close to you thanks to them coming to Aber on exchange, tell us! The best way to show the UK government what international teaching and learning means to us is to give them an idea of the bigger picture and what it truly means to real people.
You can submit your testimonial anonymously or openly, and all submissions will be published right here on our website for MP’s to view when recieving their postacard.
The campaign will also provide volunteering opportunities for any student wanting to get more involved in the cause by helping with pop-up stalls across campus or taking part in future events. Any hours committed to the campaign will be eligible to be logged as hours toward the aberaward, detailed here.
If ERASMUS+ is a subject you care about, come and find us at a stall, or get in touch with your academic affairs officer firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can get involved.