The Norwich Radical was born in the student movement, and we continue to play an active role within it. We recognise that while official structures are not the sum total of the movement, they are undeniably important. After a momentous year for the National Union of Students, studying it is more important than ever for understanding the political consciousness of the student movement. As we move into election season for the new NUS President, Vice Presidents and National Executive Council, we contacted all candidates in those elections and offered them the space to write about their election campaigns, why they are standing and their vision for NUS.
Submissions are unedited, and are being published in the order we receive them. This candidate is standing for the NEC Block of 15.
I’m Emily Horsfall, the Union Development and Democracy Officer at KeeleSU and this year I am running to be on NUS Block of 15 at National Conference!
I first got engaged with my students’ union after a friend (and now fellow officer) was in the SU on a night out with a whiteboard asking students what they wanted out of their night time entertainments here at Keele. After several vague conversations with her, I started attending Union General Meetings and have fond memories of trying to persuade my friends that they could really make change there. I then ran to be Chair of Student Council, then for my full time officer position! I’ve been on a society committee since my first week at Keele, and was Club Captain of my Lacrosse team, but it was the student led forums that really drew me into the SU.
Currently, I think NUS is a bit lost, torn between who the key stakeholders are: SUs, SU officers, or students in general. There are big political battles to be fought, such as Brexit and the HE bill, but also some real on the ground issues that matter the most to students on our campuses, such as rent prices. We need to make sure we are covering all bases, so NUS does feel relevant and supportive to every student.
I believe NUS should be a clearly defined representative organisation, which students feel is getting their voices heard nationally. It should be as easy as possible to get involved, and it shouldn’t just be open to officers: conference details and papers need to be sent out well in advance, and there should be no assumption of knowledge to ensure first time delegates feel welcome everywhere.
NUS should also champion other methods of change making, encouraging lobbying at every opportunity and prioritising voter registration to give our 7 million members a voice.
If elected, I will:
- Prioritise the voter registration campaign; young people are continuously ignored in politics and we need to make sure no student voice is left unheard!
- Make it a priority of NEC to make getting involved in decision making as easy as possible, with more notice of deadlines. We need to make sure all the actions we take are accessible and affordable to our members, and making sure that impact is as high as possible.
- Make sure our zones and regional networks are supported and empowered to collect students’ views and send best practise to NUS. We should be linking up campuses that are facing similar challenges and facilitating conversations between them.
- Make sure we constructively engage with and lobby the government at any opportunity we get, and have the trust of our members to be prioritising their issues nationally.
It is vital that we have a strong NEC that listens to our unions to lead the student movement through such a turbulent time in education. It has never been so important to have a united voice to fight for the rights of students.
To find out more about my campaign, head to my facebook page or follow me on twitter @Emily_KeeleSU
If you’re a delegate and have any more questions, please get in touch! See you in Brighton!