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Toni Pearce notes importance of collectivism at Strategic Conversation

Wednesday 11-02-2015 - 17:00

NUS Strategic Conversation kicked off in style yesterday (Tuesday 10 February) as staff and student officers from across the country came together in Sheffield to discuss the future of students’ unions and the movement as a whole.

The event is an annual opportunity for the movement to reflect on its achievements, as well as consider the challenges that lay ahead. This year’s gathering began with NUS President Toni Pearce who, in her speech, reflected on the importance of the impending General Election by reminding delegates that there are now less than 100 days to go until polling day.

She said: ‘This election represents a huge threat to students and young people across the country now and for the future, but it also represents a huge opportunity. In amongst all of the party political posturing, there is an opportunity for young people to be heard like never before, on the issues that everyone in this room knows that they care about.’

Pearce also reminded delegates of the importance of collaboration within the student movement stressing ‘This is a confederation of students’ unions. Everything NUS does is with and for students’ unions. Everything we do together is for students.’ However Pearce also warned attendees of ‘falling into the trap of individualism and competition as a reaction.’ She added ‘To support students’ unions to thrive and make students’ lives better in this new environment I am clear that we cannot look back on an age gone by’, stressing the importance on focussing on the future.

Following Pearce’s speech, former Managing Director of Endsleigh Ian Passmore introduced ‘A Fair Settlement’ – the new independent report which investigated the costs and benefits of NUS affiliation. Passmore talked through the recommendations of the commission, which he headed up himself and posed some significant questions to attendees focussing on their ideas of a way forward. The report, in its entirety can be found on NUS Connect here.

Attendees were then treated to an entertaining plenary from Andrew Davis, a highly accomplished expert on social media, who talked delegates through how they can make the most of their online presence when communicating with their members. Davis emphasised the importance of creating audience-focussed content, and ensuring that adequate time was taken in considering how to promote key messages.

Day one concluded with presentations focussing on our work on campaigning and influencing and supporting students’ unions and delegates were given the opportunity to scrutinise these areas of work, and discuss opportunities for identifying new projects. The NUS annual report detailing this work can be found here.

Keep up with the latest goings on from Strategic Conversation by following the #NUSSC15 hash tag.    

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