More than 50 university student bodies will push political reform and the Occupy Central movement for universal suffrage at upcoming orientation camps.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students wants to send a message: this year the camps will be more than just fun and games. First-year students will be encouraged to use them as a place for discussion and even to create momentum for reform, it said.
The student unions hope to involve at least 8,000 students in the discussions, federation secretary general Eddie Chan Shu-fai said.
"Orientation camps are not just about having fun," Chan said. "We want to bring some changes by encouraging first-year students to get to know their society and to care about it."
More than 50 student unions and societies from 12 tertiary institutions have heeded the call of the federation, a coalition of eight university student unions.
They plan to either arrange discussion sessions of 10 to 30 minutes at their camps, or hand out publicity pamphlets produced by the federation.
Earlier this month, Chinese University's student union invited one of the organisers of Occupy Central, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, to share his views with new students. Union president Eason Chung Yiu-wa said some people had raised concerns about the plan, but none of the student bodies involved had been put under any pressure from their university management.
Chan said: "The crux of this is not about our stances, but the discussion and deliberation.
"We hope the first-year students will try to convince others, and also be convinced."
It will be the first time the student bodies have held any sort of political discussion on such a large scale, Chan said.