Every year the NUS organises a National Conference to debate current student issues and elect the new leadership for the following year. Each university has the opportunity to send delegates to the conference to represent their university and participate in determining NUS decisions at a national level.
At the NUS national conference you are able to elect the new NUS leadership for the following year, participate in debates on key issues facing students today and most importantly, vote on motions proposed to NUS to make positive change for students. Events like these are crucial so that you can have a say in the campaigns that are created for you.
Attending the NUS national conference is an amazing opportunity for all students to influence the ideas circulating at NUS and thus influence key changes to come. It is also a chance to expand your contacts, develop new ideas and discuss them with likeminded people. I personally attended the NUS Women’s Conference in 2015 and found the experience both educating and exciting. Having the opportunity to personally participate in current debates and discussion on topics relevant to my interests was a unique experience and one I would definitely recommend.
This year, there is a continued strong emphasis on equal representation at National Conference, as for the last two years NUS have been encouraging equally balanced delegations made up of 50% self-defining women.
As said by Malala Yousafzai: "I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back." Half the human race. Put simply in these terms, she emphasizes the importance of women speaking out for what they believe in and getting involved in as many opportunities as possible to influence change. This is so important as women constitute half the human race yet, as seen in so many national debates of the day, do not have equality with men. Thus RUSU want to encourage as many women as possible to get involved at conference this year and pursue the path to equality.
I believe some of the key issues for female students and self-defining women on campus are the negative consequences of lad culture, lack of knowledge regarding consent and the key controversial topic of tampon tax. This is an issue that is key on both a student and national level. It represents an inequality in the law at the expense of women and emphasizes the need for change.
As Women’s Officer for RUSU, I am attempting to combat some of these issues on campus at Reading University but these issues are not just local, they are nationwide and cemented in society. By making motions for change on campuses we can extend these ideas and conjoin them with the country. Thus, in the words of Sheryl Sandberg, "we need women at all levels, including those at the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women's voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored." It is essential that women speak up and campaign for change.
The NUS National Conference takes place in April and elections are open now on the RUSU website. Nominate yourself now to make change!
For more information on the NUS national conference: http://conference.nusconnect.org.uk