After four days of motion after motion, speech after speech and amendment after amendment, conference finally comes to an end. It’s safe to say it exceeded any & all expectations of my own and of the other delegates and our observer.
However, whilst I may not agree entirely with the NUS’s views, I do believe one candidate ignited the debate around key issues the NUS has, essentially acting as a Catalyst for many debates in the coming years. That candidate was Tom Harwood, whilst I may have not have wanted him to be our National President, I believe he has brought forward the concerns to the President Elect Shakira Martin, and I am confident that under her leadership, it will enable NUS to become a more inclusive organisation, where students who share opposing views to the majority will be enabled to speak more freely without being shunned down by the few hard left members of the organisation. Tom had guts to go up against such established characters within the student movement, and for that, kudos to Tom!
I must congratulate Shakira Martin for her hard fought campaign for presidency, for two years she has worked tirelessly to ensure Further Education is here to stay, voicing our views like never before, being loud & proud from where her journey started, enforcing the point of how important, how vital Further Education is for our nation.
Becoming NUS president felt like the only option for Shakira, it felt like a natural progression, and I truly couldn’t see any other way for her. Well done Shakira, I simply cannot wait to see where she will take the direction of NUS in the forthcoming year.
Commiserations to Malia, you did great work for some key issues within NUS that have never been brought to light anywhere near as much as they have been before, your legacy won’t be forgotten any time soon! I wish you the best of luck for your future endeavors.
On to one major motion (601), I think as a movement, we can be PROUD of, is that we have voted for democracy reform within the NUS, for too long the voices of the MAJORITY, have been unheard, and THIS MOTION aims to fix that. Through federalisation, NUS can become a more inclusive union, holding meetings on a more regional basis, not only reducing travel time, but the cost to FE unions, we need to hear the minjority (Minority & Majority), because after all, HE would have the foundations to exist like they do today WITHOUT FE. The core membership must be listened to and I am more than delighted that this motion has passed.
Besides holding rationalised meetings, another key fact about this motion (specifically 601 SC17) is that it shall allow unions to vote online, so for those unions that can’t make it to conference, they are now able to get their votes in! Essentially legitimising the elected officers even more so.
There are so many sections to 601 to talk about, but those are just a couple of points I am especially delighted about.
Conference was an eye opening experience, to feel the gravity of the student movement was amazing, it is truly something you don’t get to feel when you are back here in little old Dudley. I truly is a shame that more students can’t be involved in conference, as I feel it would truly ignite their passion for the movement, and as for NUS it would allow a wider spectrum of students to voice their views.
Whilst conference has shown me how unrepresentative it comes to students politically, as at times, the views can be a bit radical and contradictory, when it comes to student matters that actually are PURELY student matters, NUS nails this, but due to the unfocused agenda at times, it can distract from the core duty of the NUS and that I feel, is where the current criticisms are with the organisation are.
Before I conclude this blog of mine, I must last but not least, congratulate the newly elected;
Amatey Doku – Vice President Higher Education
Izzy Lenga – Vice President Welfare
Emily Chapman – Vice President Further Education
Ali Mani – Vice President Union Development
And the re-elected
Robbie Young – Vice President Society & Citizenship
I wish all the candidates the best of luck!
In the words of Robbie Young, “We are not supposed to leave conference like we have accomplished something, we are supposed to leave conference like we have STARTED SOMETHING” And that is exactly what has happened!
I urge you to whatever you do, get involved, make your voice heard, and even represent our Dudley on a national scale!
Thanks for reading.