Written by the Yes2NUS Team

The NUS…a faceless organisation trying to rob us of independence, or a national movement of unity? A mere price tag, or an unrivalled list of services and support? Is your vision clear, or are there myths and contradictions getting in the way of TRULY knowing what the NUS is really about?

One of the most important reasons we should join NUS is to have the chance to shape the national student movement. Students from all political persuasions come together alongside those who have no interest in politics in order to campaign on the issues that really affect them. Have you brought affordable insurance from Endsleigh, paid no council tax, or had your house deposit safely tucked away in a tenancy deposit scheme? All of these things were possible thanks to the NUS, and wouldn’t be achievable by a single, lone Union.

The NUS are dealing with a lot of issues that could directly impact you, such as employability. At Southampton we have the Graduate Passport scheme, a way of accrediting extracurricular activities, but the NUS has developed the Student Skills Award, which is recognised by employers nationally.

By staying out of the NUS we risk being left behind, stuck with a local scheme recognised by the few, while students from over 95% of UK universities will have the opportunity to engage in something much bigger, and better, for their job prospects.

The NUS provides expert training for Union staff, Sabbs and volunteers aimed at each specific area, unlike the more general training they currently get – meaning that however much or little you engage with SUSU, your experience will inevitably be better.

There is also specialised training for a variety of areas, such as political activists, empowering female leadership, and opportunities for budding entrepeneurs to attend a day’s workshop and bid for seed funding from a pot of £120,000 – something that SUSU couldn’t dream of doing!

NUS also have a broad range of liberation campaigns, from BME to LGBT, and students with disabilities to women’s rights, all of which seek to remove the barriers that unjustly hold people back. Not only do these campaigns fight for students’ rights, they also work with local unions on how to best make improvements for their members – advice and support from experts that we at Southampton are currently not getting.

Similarly, the Green Impact accreditation scheme is a nationally recognised model which allows much more effective monitoring of the environmental impact of the Union. It has fast become a national standard; one which we currently have no access to.

The benefits of a national voice are also evident through the range of international campaigns NUS run, which have gone from strength to strength in the last two years. Last year saw the first ever NUS International Officer, with this year already seeing huge victories such as the students of London Met’s year reprieve from deportation, and stopping international students being forced to queue for 12-18 hours to register their arrival in the country – if this had happened in Southampton, we wouldn’t have had the same support.

So how much is too much for our students’ liberation, or national representation? How much for our students’ employability, or expert training for volunteers? SUSU spent over £6.8m last year. From that perspective, £51,500 (the maximum cost to affiliate; it could be as low as £32k depending on whether we join NUSSL and NUS Extra Card sales) is not much. We spend comparable figures on activities such as joining BUCS for roughly a quarter of our sports teams, and recently spent £400,000 and £250,000 on the Bridge and Level 4 respectively.

We’re not a poor Union, and with so much to be gained by so many, we can’t afford not to join. If we really want to unlock the true potential of SUSU and go from being a great but isolated Union to becoming a truly fantastic AND engaged Union, all we have to do is say yes to NUS on December, 6.

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More articles in NUS Referendum 2012
  1. An Assault on Democracy? – a Response
  2. SUSU Announce Date For Forthcoming NUS Referendum
  3. An Assault On Democracy? – Sabbs & Their NUS Plans
  4. University of Surrey Students’ Union Keeps NUS Affiliation
  5. Q&A with NUS President Liam Burns at Campus This Evening
  6. Q&A With NUS President Liam Burns – Live Blog
  7. ‘No’ NUS Affiliation For St Andrews Students’ Association
  8. NUS Who?
  9. Debates, votes and results: An NUS Referendum Timetable
  10. Say No To NUS
  11. Say Yes To NUS
  12. The Cost of NUS affiliation – A Quick Glance at the Auditor’s Report
  13. The International Arguments About NUS
  14. Crunching the Numbers on the NUS
  15. NUS Apocalypse
  16. Students Vote To Keep SUSU Out Of NUS
  17. NUS Apocalypse Part 2: Referendageddon

3 Comments »

Leave your response!

  • no good points from Yes
    avatar

    “empowering female leadership” – haven’t we got Chloe Green who does this already?

    Reply

  • no good points from Yes
    avatar

    £51k is actually a lot of money when you think that it comes out of SUSU’s profits – which aren’t much. Yes SUSU spent £6.8million, they only made £148k from that.

    However, recent minutes from Trustee Board have said that commercial venues (Cube, bars, cafe, shop etc) are not doing well and are performing WORSE than planned.

    Therefore SUSU’s profts will have to be spent on making up these losses.

    How can you say that SUSU is not a poor Union?
    - Bar staff are being sent home early
    - Students cant get minibuses when they need them for society trips and away games for AU Clubs
    - Union Films need DCI to survive.
    - AU clubs are screaming out for better kit
    - Wideline pitches are in a dire state and matches cancelled regularly
    - Friday nights are getting barely any custom – there is no promo team to market events properly

    Reply

    Sam Ling
    avatar

    Thought I’d provide some responses to your list:

    - The Friday night club event definitely does need work, but its actually a small part of the overall entertainments program. Other events have picked up this year. As for staff being sent home early, that’s to match the scale of the event to the need for staff.

    - we actually brought 2 new mini bus’ last year, but the need is always being viewed. There is a reality that you can never have enough to meet all the demand, as you’ll find there are peak times where they’re all needed, and others where there is no use.

    - we’re actually working on a business plan to purchase upgrade union films to digital, and it will be a case if when not if. That will come out of our budget for capital spend, so the affiliation fee would have no impact on it either way.

    - the way that the 225k AU budget is spent is a matter for AUC. Last budget process there was no request for additional funding from the AU, there was however a request for additional funding from the Societies committee, and they saw a 60k increase.

    - wide lane is maintained by the University, and so is not linked at all to our budget.

    - we have had our two marketing staff move on to new opportunities this term, which has led to a drop in marketing. We’ve recently gotten in a consultant to tide us over until there are replacement, which is filling the gap well. It’s also worth noting that although there has been a drop in Friday nights, our catering has seen a huge surge in sales, in particular the bridge.

    We build contingency into the budget, which is rebalanced in January, it is because of this we can absorb the rather volatile first term without changing what we’re able to deliver.

    Reply