Editor's Note: Student leader Bennett Collins spearheaded the St Andrews University chapter of Raise Hope for Congo's Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. In this guest post he reflects on the past year of action.
As 2012 comes to a close, it is difficult to believe that one year ago, the conflict-free movement had yet to make its debut in the United Kingdom, let alone Europe. When I started the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative at the University of St Andrews in December 2011, I never thought that the Coalition for a Conflict-free St Andrews would mobilize Great Britain's first university to be the first to pass a conflict-free resolution. Since then, the conflict-free movement has reached the cities of Exeter, Glasgow, and London, and now, a year later, we have gained enough momentum to start a petition calling on European Parliament to pass conflict mineral legislation.
As said perfectly by Congolese activist Bandi Mbubi, the founder of Congo Calling and someone who has helped to launch the Conflict-free Campus Initiative in the U.K: The conflict-free movement in Great Britain "all came together at just the right time." Simply put, the student movement owes its success to support from Congolese diaspora organizations, non-profit organizations, and the passionate activism of students.
This October, students from Conflict-Free Exeter raised the bar for the student movement here by planning and executing the most successful campaign launch yet, whereby hundreds of attendees were able to buy ...[view whole blog post ]