What does it mean to 'take action'?

Having made a decision to support an issue that students are passionate about, what next? What sort of action is possible and appropriate? This article via Connect (#211) breaks it down.

Take action

Let’s assume you’ve done the ground work:  you’ve defined the issue, investigated it and developed a vision of what the issue could or should be like1. What next?

This will depend on what the issue is, what you want to achieve and what your resources (time, energy, funding) are. In the Student Action Teams materials2, it is suggested that you don’t have to only focus on making big changes (like building things or restructuring things). It suggests there are four types of action that you could take - the 4Es:


  • Engineering: eg Building things: changing structures like timetables
  • Enforcement: eg Stopping/punishing negative behaviour: public rebukes, telling off, restraining etc
  • Encouragement: eg Rewarding positive behaviour: public praise, providing funding, good examples
  • Education: eg Providing information: telling or training people, supporting others to investigate


But you still might be faced with a general or undefined decision that you should ‘do something’ about an issue; perhaps other students have asked for an SRC to take action on it, or you have a decision that the issue is important to students. It might be a big issue or a small one; you might have lots of time to devote to it, or not much time at all.

So we’ve put together a table to sort out some possible types of actions you could do to respond to the need to ‘do something’.

These actions range from simply making a statement about the issue or idea, to developing a big campaign. Each of these options has implications - for the amount of time and resources you will need to allocate, for the support you can get. These implications will help you determine what is possible, as well as what is needed.

There are also lots of ideas and resources available to help you take action. Amnesty had put together a free resource on their website on how to use social media, engage with the media, organise an event, advocate for an issue and develop your group: www.amnesty.org.au/activist/skill-up

Another great site for developing your own petition and other forms of action is: www.change.org

The table aims to help you think further about what you could do.

Tacking Action Table - Resources for Student Councils


Good luck with your own action developments!

This is just a first set of ideas. By hearing about what others are trying and doing, we can learn and improve the ways we work.  Let us know what you are doing, and how it is going.


1    This uses the DIVAE planning approach that is outlined in the Represent! Kit, pages 104-105, and the template on page 157.  Represent! is available at: www.vicsrc.org.au/resources/represent
2    See: www.asprinworld.com/student_action_teams and the Student Action Teams book (available from Connect)

eNews Subscribe

Membership & Partnership 

Join us!