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Every year, the NUS (National Union of Students), of which Lancaster is a part, hosts a Conference geared towards passing motions that will impact students across the UK. But in case you’re like me and have a membership card (or didn’t even know they existed) but have no idea what the NUS actually is or does, don’t worry – I’ve got your back!
The NUS is composed of nearly 600 students’ unions and represents around seven million students. Their goal is to ‘promote, defend and extend student rights’ as well as ‘fight discrimination, isolation and injustive through campaigning and targeted action.’ Our LUSU representatives act as our voice at this annual conference, making sure that they vote on issues which most impact our students, in order to effect positive change which will make our university experience collectively better.
Delegates in attendance have three main roles; voting on policy, voting in elections, and voting on reports. These are all equally important in their own way, as together, they shape the future for the NUS and thus the students at every university. First, policy-making is key in setting the direction of the NUS. Delegates will have to review motions that have been put to vote on issues such as education, union development, welfare, society and citizenship, and liberation.
The Conference also hosts ‘fringe’ slots, where other issues can be addressed in more detail. Some of these issues include Further Education, Mental health and suicide, Renter activism, Education in Crisis (on educational cuts and reforms), A Shared Economy (building co-operative campuses), Liberate My Education (Talking Access, Attainment, and Curriculum), TTIP and other Toxic Trade Deals, and Refugees Welcome Here (combatting racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and fascism), just to name a few of the more hot-topic issues.
Whether you’re an undergrad, a Masters student, or a PhD hopeful, this conference is something that you’ll want to follow, and LUSU have made this as easy as possible! If you’re interested in knowing how your LUSU representatives vote on issues important to you, you’ll be able to follow live updates on Twitter by checking in with @LUSUatNUS, or by checking LUSU’s webpage (lusu.co.uk) for daily reports on the issues. You can also read the conference agenda on the NUS website (nusconnect.org.uk and find the ‘NUS Conference 2016 Order Paper’), where you can see all of the fringe sessions on offer over the course of the conference. Feel quite strongly about a particular fringe session issue? Tweet to @LUSUatNUS or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest – after all, it’s your voice being represented at NUS and your opinions matter!
For more information on the conference, have a browse of the NUS website and read through the papers posted in order to better understand how LUSU are representing you at the conference!