3 Days 2 Nights 1 Great experience
NUS Conference this year in Sheffield’s City Hall was a fantastic experience, one that I would recommend to anyone with a genuine interest in current students and the future of Higher Education in the UK.
The journey to Sheffield started at 7am from the Students’ Union on Tuesday 24th May, with a view to getting to Sheffield for the start of Conference at 12noon, when we would join 1400 other delegates from Universities and colleges from across the UK.
The Conference sees all delegates get the chance to vote on the NUS’s policy for the year, basically deciding the issues that the NUS will prioritise in the Academic Year 2012/13 and the areas in which they will provide support to Students’ Unions, like ours here at Surrey. Additionally there are the elections for the 6 main sabbatical positions (the national versions of our 5 sabbs), including the President of the NUS. In both cases Surrey’s elected delegates are there to contribute to debate and vote on behalf of all Surrey students.
Aside from the Conference floor action, at the Conference there are many supplementary events known as “fringe events”, which are often themed around a particular issue important to all/ sections of the Student population. At any one “fringe” break there can be as many as 12 different events going on, so decisions were to be made.
Into the evening a variety of different entertainment was provided, which included the Presidential Question Time on the first evening, overlapping with election parties for some of the election candidates (last chances to influence (with alcohol) delegates’ votes). The second night saw University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union host an end of conference celebration, an opportunity to unwind and catch up with loads of different delegates and national representatives (past and present) in a very social environment.
This year’s conference (my 2nd) was a very engaging and tiring experience that inspired me to enter my 2nd year as VP Education full of enthusiasm; it also saw me sleep for 18 hours when my head finally hit the pillow after work on Friday. I will be shortly writing more blogs that look further into the details of 3 days, and what it means for the NUS and our Students’ Union for the next year.