Thursday 08-09-2016 - 10:24
Conor Marshall is NUS Scotland’s Vice President (Communities), a volunteer role that sits on the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC). Conor is also entering his second year as President at Abertay Students’ Association.
What’s your name and where do you come from?
My name is Conor Marshall and, although I live in the up and coming city of sunny Dundee at the moment, I am a Glasgow boy at heart, having been born and raised there.
What campaign has inspired you the most?
I would have to say that the work done by former VP Communities, Kirsty Haigh, on developing a Charter for Democratic and Ethical Institutions following the Don't Dither, Divest report into ethical investments by universities in Scotland In. It was one of the things that inspired me to get involved in student politics, and I’ve fought hard to try to implement as many of the suggestions in the Charter as possible at my institution.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
I would have to say that my biggest achievement was probably playing a big part in getting my home institution to divest from fossil fuels!
Who do you think is an inspirational leader?
I’d probably have to say Bernie Sanders, watching the grass roots movement he built during his campaign for the Democratic nomination really reaffirmed my belief in the power of people and doing things bottom-up.
What does being part of NUS mean to you?
I think of NUS as the potential for real, meaningful change that affects the lives of students across Scotland. That potential can only be harnessed by switched on, driven and progressive student officers and activists who want to be part of making that change. That could be you!
What are 3 things that you want to achieve this year?
I think if I was to boil it down, it would be these three;
- I want to make sure that Student Associations have the materials, skills and tools they need to develop their activists and volunteer officers.
- That student officers have local support networks by helping develop and supporting regional forums.
- That student officers and activists feel like they have more influence over their union, that it’s not something that happens to them, it’s something that happens with them.
What is your favourite song at the moment?
I can’t seem to get “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall and Oates out of my head!
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be lots of different things – I was a very fickle child. I think mostly I wanted to be a Starship Captain though, like my childhood hero Captain Kathryn Janeway.
What would you like to see Scotland be like in 10 years time?
In ten years time I'd like to see Scotland be a country where the circumstances of your birth or your relative privilege has no bearing on your ability to access higher education, where stigmas around mental health are challenged and I'd also love to see us as the most progressive nation in the world. I can dream, but as the cliché says, team work makes the dream work - get involved!
Can you give us one piece of advice for new sabbatical officers in Scotland?
Ask for help! It’s okay not to know things, but please don’t feel like you are alone. You are part of a much larger community of officers and activists across Scotland who know exactly how you feel, so reach out and make those crucial links now before the going gets rough.
You can get in touch with Conor on Conor.Marshall@nus-scotland.org.uk