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National Union of Students

11 Apr 2007 21:05

The National Union of Students (NUS) is the national representative body for students and student unions in the Higher and Further Education sectors across the UK. The vast majority of Higher Education Student Unions in the UK are affiliated to the NUS. The current National President is Gemma Tumulty.

The primary activities of the NUS involve running national campaigns and organising events to promote communication and best practice throughout the student movement. Most interaction between NUS and its members occurs through Constituent Members' Sabbatical Officers and activists, and the NUS runs many training and networking events specifically for these people. The also NUS provides electoral and legal services and in some cases will support students unions in legal difficulties.

The commerical arm of the organisation, NUS Services Limited (NUSSL), runs a trading consortium, administers the NUS Extra Discount Card and provides trading consultancy services to constituent member unions.

The activities of the NUS are organised into separate regions (London, Southern, Midlands and Northern), constituent nations of the UK (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and "liberartion campaigns" (Womens', LGBT, Disabled Students and Black Students), the latter enjoying a greater deal of autonomy than other NUS campaigns. The day to day operations of the organisation are governed by a National Executive Committee, which is in turn governed by a National Council and National Conference. All national policies must be approved by National Conference, which normally meets annually in the Winter Gardens at Blackpool and in the past has been attended up to 1000 delegates and observers.

Presently the NUS is focussing on resolving a long standing financial crisis that has led to the organisation recording a financial deficit in recent years. Long waited governance reforms, which are being championed by the current National President and are seen by some to be the solution to many of the organisation's problems, are being discussed and it is anticipated that an emergency conference will be called this autumn to vote on these reforms.

Last autumn Imperial College students voted in a referendum for their student union, ICU, to affiliate to the NUS for the first time in 30 years.