Monday, 19 November 2012

RUSU and the NUS

This Wednesday we will see the National Union of Students (NUS) Demonstration in London. This demonstration was voted on at the NUS Annual Conference in April 2012 and comes with the slogan of ‘Educate, Employ, Empower’

Reading students were asked if they would like to commit RUSU time and resources in attending this Demo. The result was a ‘no’ and RUSU listened. RUSU will therefore not be attending the Demo, although that is not to say, that Reading students cannot go themselves. We will provide you with all the information that you need on this.

Aside from our attendance at the Demo, I thought that it was fitting that I use my blog to affirm how NUS and RUSU have an excellent working partnership.

Firstly, let’s begin with the Demo. Student Officers asked students how they felt about attendance for a variety of reasons, including resource allocation and to gauge whether students at Reading want their Student Officers to engage in activity more locally. The NUS, by its name and nature, is national. However, it supports Students’ Unions around the UK to engage with their universities and local authorities to better the lives of students locally. It is invaluable for this and the resources and one-to-one assistance that it provides is second to none. Student Officers at Reading believe that students need to be empowered when it comes to their education and employment. They will continue, as they would have before the Demo, to campaign on these three ideals. The fact that we will not physically attend the Demo, does not mean that its message is not relevant to Reading students. Of course it is and RUSU will fight on your behalf tirelessly.

We are also in the midst of NUS Delegate Elections. The NUS delegates are representatives of Reading students at the NUS Annual Conference. These individuals will be able to vote on national policy and elect the national officers who will lead the NUS for the coming year. I encourage every Reading student to vote in these elections. It is imperative that our delegates know what you want from your student movement so let them know by voting for them! X Factor fans will know how important it is to vote for something that you believe in, after this weekend’s shocker!

You can vote here (you will need to log in first). We have four delegates at Reading (this is calculated by the NUS based on our student numbers). One is reserved for the RUSU President (me!) ex officio and three are up for grabs by every other RUSU member (student and Student Officer alike).

You may wonder how RUSU gets all of its stock for Mojo's Bar, CafĂ© Mondial, 3sixty and Campus Central. Well, surprise surprise, it’s by way of the NUS! Well, NUS Services Ltd (NUSSL) to be precise. Individually, students’ unions do not have the purchasing power to negotiate good deals for students. NUSSL is a group of 300 students’ unions (so about 3.5 million members, give or take) so together it creates a company with huge purchasing power. NUSSL then negotiates on behalf of those millions of students to get us all a good deal. It doesn’t end at the edge of campus though as NUSSL is responsible for the NUS Extra Card. For as little as £12, you can save £523 on average in many high street retailers! Bargain! Last year, RUSU was the second biggest seller of NUS Extra Cards, so collectively Reading students saved approximately £3.8million! If you want a slice of that, you can get your card from the RUSU Reception while you wait.

As you can see, RUSU’s relationship with the NUS is one of true partnership. I believe RUSU is better for its affiliation to the NUS and even though RUSU won’t be there on Wednesday, as a student body we are totally committed to making sure that our futures are secure. We remind universities, local authorities and national governments across the country that, as integral parts of society, we need to be invested in; not only financially but as a part of society that will secure the future for the UK. As part of the NUS we can achieve this much better than we would be able to achieve alone. Celebrate our relationship with the NUS, I know I do!

James Fletcher
RUSU President