Union Affairs Officer, Jamie Cross, discusses the recent NUS referendum and why you should stand to be an NUS delegate.
Before this year, the first thing I’d have wanted to stress to you about the National Union of Students (NUS) is that it is more than just a discount card. But in light of the recent referendum on NUS affiliation, which promoted a huge dialogue around what the NUS does (and what they stand for), I’m going to assume you know that.
Indeed the referendum has shown us that Bristol students really care about the NUS, with one of the highest voter turnouts for a referendum in Bristol SU history. And it makes sense that you should care, after all the NUS is a voluntary membership organisation in which 600 students’ unions are members, and therefore looks to support and represent the lives of more than 7 million students. You should feel represented within it.
Over the course of the referendum we had the opportunity to discuss the benefits of our membership, to pay attention to disagreements and acknowledge potential shortcomings. However with ⅔ of us opting for Bristol SU to remain affiliated, we are now left with an opportunity to change the way NUS works. So whether you voted to remain, or to leave, for whatever reasons and with whatever reservations, it is important now to step up to ensure that your NUS representatives are there to promote your view. You could do this either by standing as a representative or making sure to vote in one that stands for you.
NUS runs a variety of conferences throughout the year to share ideas, hold workshops, set policy and elect new representatives. There are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, but the biggest by far is National Conference.
This year’s National Conference will take place in April 2017. This is a pivotal point in addressing NUS’ democracy reforms. It is where the next NUS president and vice-presidents will be voted in, and where your representatives will vote on the policies we want NUS to champion.
We send six students to this conference every year, so why not step up, have your say, be that change, and nominate yourself today?!