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NUS Scotland: Successes of 2016

Wednesday 21-12-2016 - 10:11

What a year 2016 has been, we’ve seen dizzying highs of our Scottish Election asks being taken on board and the devastating lows of the EU referendum result. Let’s finish the year with a bang and celebrate our successes.

The first half of the year saw successes in our Scottish Election asks being taken on board by political parties, our involvement in the Scotland Stronger In campaign, our campaign to #SaveLord and the launch of our Bairn Necessities report looking at the experience of student parents.

On 1 July 2016 our new Scottish Executive Committee took office and with it the start of a new year of campaigning for NUS Scotland (don’t worry you can find out more about our successes from January – July here).

Our College Student Leadership event for college officers was a huge success and college officers left ready to campaign for change for students on campus.

We got stuck into planning for the year ahead, creating a plan of work and met with 30 students’ associations over the course of July and August to find out more about their priorities and to consult on our ideas for the year.

In August we held the Gathering, the first event for student officers across Scotland to come together and to share ideas about local and national campaigns.

At Freshers’ Weeks we launched our #SupportUs campaign by finding out about the problems that students face with the support system and how we can make it fairer. Check out our Facebook photos here.

In September NUS Scotland Women’s Committee launched the #InspireHerFuture campaign to share stories of women involved in areas where women are traditionally under-represented.

To mark the start of Hate Crime Awareness Week, we called on universities and colleges to do more to support students to report hate crimes on campuses.

As part of Self-Management Week in October we highlighted Think Positive’s Self-Management Resource.

NUS Scotland Black Students’ Committee launched an exhibit to reclaim the experience of Black People historically, and in the present, told through stories from Black students studying in Scotland. Check out #ReclaimBlackStories here and our Hallowe’en poster campaign here.

We also wrote to all colleges and universities asking them to stand up to xenophobia following the UK Government’s proposal for foreign workers. Principals from Edinburgh, Strathclyde, St Andrews, University of the West of Scotland and a number of other institutions replied to say they would not back these measures.

November was a busy month for us with hundreds of students from Scotland attending the United for Education demo on #Nov19.

Together with the Scottish Funding Council we helped Students’ Associations get involved in the roll out of Gender Action Plans. Read our briefing here.

We also organised and took part in Reclaim the Night marches across the country and sent out a toolkit supporting students’ associations to organise their own march.

As part of the 16 days of action we joined together with Scottish Women’s Aid to encourage students experiencing abuse to seek support.

To round off the month we held NUS Scotland Zone Conference which was followed by the biggest ever gathering of trans students in Scotland.

December might have come around but we weren’t wrapping up our activities yet! We were a vocal member of the pro-choice campaign and organised demos and supported Engender’s call for a Scottish approach to abortion.

Our voices were even louder at our #SupportUs carols outside the Scottish Parliament on the day the draft budget was being announced, making it onto the BBC news! Here’s what we had to say about the draft budget. 

Our work around student support continued when we were invited to sit on the Student Support Review Group which held it’s first meeting at the start of December.

We welcomed the new Commissioner for Widening Access, Professor Peter Scott into their post.

Following our continued pressure around postgraduate support and our involvement in the Taught Postgraduate Review we welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to increase the loan available for postgraduate students to £10,000.

To round off the year we've sent a Christmas card to all MSPs asking them to back our #SupportUs campaign for fairer funding for student support. 

 

So what’s in store for 2017…?

We’re taking our #SupportUs campaign to the next level and lobbying MSPs to ensure the Scottish draft budget delivers fairer funding for student support. Sign up to our MSP lobby here.

We’re working with NUS UK and students’ associations to bring together a Housing Summit in January 2017. Find out more here.

The strengthening NUS democracy project continues with proposals being taken to NUS UK Conference. Check out the latest blog in the series to find out what Angela thinks of some of the changes.

We’re holding an #InspireHerFuture event on 3 February 2017 for women students and sabbatical officers.

Nominations for positions elected at NUS Scotland Conference are open, including NUS Scotland President and Vice President Education. Find out more about our elections and how to submit policy to be discussed at NUS Scotland Conference on the Conference Hub here.

We’ll be holding NUS Scotland Conference, Liberation Conferences and Student Sections Conference in the spring. Find out all the dates on NUS Connect.

Keep up to date with all our news by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter @NUSScotland and visiting NUS Connect. Share your highlights of 2016 with us on Twitter by tagging @NUSScotland and using #NUSSCOT16.

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