Tuesday 02-02-2016 - 17:45
Officers and staff from students’ unions across the nations came together today for the Project100 Festival, a key part of the development of NUS’ new six-year strategy. As part of this NUS delivered a two-part report to start off the conversations we hope will emerge over the next couple of days from Sheffield.
Here is just a handful of what we learnt from day one…
1. We are not starting with a blank sheet of paper
NUS chief executive Simon Blake opened the event outlining the initial themes emerging from the initial reporting, scoping and consultation, outlining the process so far and setting down the key themes for discussion. Project100 is about building a framework to guide NUS through the next six years, leading up to our centenary in 2022, and inviting students’ unions to explore how they want to be involved in the delivery of the strategy.
2. NUS must be an organisation that understands its members
“Whilst we may be the National Union of Students in name, I think we are the National Union of Students’ Unions in practice – and I am proud of it,” said national president Megan Dunn in an address to attendees. Student unionism is the collective action of students, and means NUS and students’ unions are stronger when we work together, ensuring a more accessible, powerful and progressive movement.
3. We should set down our goals together
Day one of the event has been all about setting goals for the movement around union development, education as a public good, diversity, affordability and accessibility sustainability and wellbeing. Staff and officers spent the afternoon discussing and challenging NUS and each other on these several key themes. The thoughts, questions and potential action points from these workshops will be fed into the strategy process moving forward.
4. Clear objectives and communication are key to strategy
Girlguiding CEO Julie Bentley emphasised the need to focus on and communication mission critical aims when developing a strategic framework on a national level. During her keynote speech, Julie discussed getting right the representation of voices in a movement, and then making judgements and decisions on priorities to bring a strategy to life for every member, respecting democracy and collectivism.
5. Our role in recognising the issues affecting students over the next six years
From devolution to austerity, the effect of government intervention on the cost of living crisis and the changing face of our education sector are already having a real and serious impact on the students we represent as a national union and on the ground through students’ unions on campus. This is a not an exhaustive list of the topics covered today, but are just some of the national and international issues our students deal with every day.
The Project100 Festival continues in Sheffield tomorrow, with leaders and senior staff from SUs reconvening to focus on how NUS can become an outstanding membership organisation.