How we represent you nationally – NUS National Conference!

So what is NUS National Conference, I hear you ask?

Well, we are affiliated with the National Union of Students! You may recognise them from your NUS Extra Card but they do so much more than that, they campaign nationally on issues that matter to you, the students! How do they decide what matters to us? Well, they hold a big Conference in April and ask us! 8 delegates form Northumbria Students’ Union attended this year who were all elected by you guys and I’m hear to tell you (briefly) what happened!

They were:

  • Jo Rhodes
  • Rachel Breen
  • Cameron Giles
  • Hannah Horne
  • Tim Patchett
  • Mike Potter
  • Sarah Price
  • Hamish Yewdall

This year, we put a lot of ideas to NUS National Conference on what they should be trying to change to make your time at University the best it possibly can be. We submitted 4 motions and you can find more details of them in the Student Council Papers http://mynsu.northumbria.ac.uk/contentstore/pdfs/Student_Council_Papers-_21st_January_2013.pdf

1) Accommodation and helping Students’ Unions set up their own independent Letting Agency. We currently do this and students receive it really well, we wanted NUS to support other Students’ Unions do it too – you can see the speech we did here http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31150157/highlight/344927 and it passed – great news!

2) Placements. This was to help students get better placements, introduce more guidance on placements and help you find out more about the quality of your placement before you apply. Again it passed and the speech is here http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31186051/highlight/344945

3) Confirmation and Clearing. Ever been through clearing? Awful isn’t it! Well it can be more awful as currently Universities can leave students waiting around before they find out if they are accepted or not, this isn’t fair and mean that students can miss out on their place. Again this passed so we can do something about it nationally and you can see Northumbria’s speech here http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31189981/highlight/344959

4) Local Authority Cuts. Lots of Local Authorities have seen budget cuts and those in the North have been disproportionately cut. As you may have seen Newcastle City Council has received huge budget cuts that will really impact us. There wasn’t enough time at Conference so this was not discussed but we hope that it will still move forward and be campaigned on.

So as you can see, these issues would not have been taken forward nationally without Northumbria Students’ Union so it is great that we are having a national impact!

The final (and controversial motion) was on Gender Balancing, which basically means that elections will be counted in such a way that those elected will include at least 50% self-defining women, regardless of who stands. This means that even if our students voted for a man above a woman, the woman would be elected. As a Students’ Union we were asked to opposed this motion as we do not believe this is the right approach and that instead, we should be encouraging women to run in elections.

There was a secret ballot so that everyone could vote anonymously, but we want to be open about how we voted, 7 of your delegation voted against this ‘Gender Balancing’ and 1 abstained (i.e. did not vote either way) this is because that is how students asked us to vote and we did go there to represent you after all.

You can see the speech that we did here http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/31195665/highlight/345415 and watch the whole debate online too. I’m happy to say this motion did not pass and has now fallen, it is fair to say that Northumbria was instrumental in ensuring that there was a robust debate on this matter.

Overall, Northumbria Students’ Union had a huge impact on prioritising the issues that NUS will work on and we are sure this will benefit students on our campus. You can read the full report here http://mynsu.northumbria.ac.uk/adviceandrepresentation/council/meetindates/ and if you have any questions feel free to email jo.rhodes@northumbria.ac.uk