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NUS Scotland Conference 2014: How it happened

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Delegates from students’ associations around the country came together in Dundee for NUS Scotland Conference 2014. The weekend was a celebration of the vibrant student movement in Scotland.

The Conference took place at the Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in Dundee on 22 to 23 of March 2014. 160 delegates from 28 Student Unions travelled to Dundee to vote in elections, debate motions and celebrate the past year of the student movement at the NUS Scotland Awards.

Elections attract high number of candidates

Elections, all of which were highly contested, ran throughout the weekend.

On Saturday, President Gordon Maloney and Vice-President (Education) Robert Foster were re-elected to continue in their current sabbatical roles for another year. They were contested by current NUS Scotland Women’s Officer Stacey Devine and Priority Campaign Convenor Xander McDade respectively.

Kirsty Haigh, current Vice President Services at Edinburgh University Students’ Association won the election for Vice-President (Communities) by defeating Robert Gordon University President Paul Greene. She will replace current VP (Communities) Sinead Wylie in the voluntary VP position on July 1.

Delegates also elected six campaign convenors and four members for the Scottish Procedures Committee. Full details of the elections can be found here.

Delegates vote on policy for coming year

Delegates voted on 34 motions and one emergency motion over the two-day conference. The passed motions will set the mandate for NUS Scotland’s work from June 2014.

There was an emphasis at this year’s Conference on supporting activities on colleges and university campuses, with three motions on sports and activities passed. These motions emphasised the importance of engaging students in sports and other activities, and mandated NUS Scotland to create better links with the activities work done on campuses around Scotland.

Education was also high on the Conference agenda. Passed motions ranged from strengthening research-teaching linkages in institutions to increasing student engagement in teaching methods and assessment.

Delegates also passed an emergency motion opposing changes to UK Government lobbying rules and a rule change which will create a new NUS Scotland post dedicated to working on issues of asylum seekers and refugees.

The final, amended text of all motions passed at conference can be accessed here.
 
Students recognised for their achievements

The NUS Scotland Awards ceremony took place on Saturday evening. Now in its fourth year, the annual gala event celebrates the achievements of students, students’ associations, student media and clubs and societies.

The evening event, which was hosted by comedian Dan Mitchell and featured entertainment by singer Sophie Rogers and dance group Fly Zone, saw Aberdeen University Students’ Association win three awards, including Campaign of the Year, Sports Club of the Year and Innovation.

The efforts of members of staff who support the work of students’ associations were also recognised; the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Audrey Bainbridge, long-term staff member of Robert Gordon University, while the Simpson-King Staff Achievement of the Year Award went to Carole McGreish from University of Strathclyde Students’ Association.

The highlight of the evening was announcement of the Endsleigh Student of the Year Award, which went to Ashely Cameron from Stirling University Students’ Association. Ashley, who received the award for her work on student care leavers, said of her win:

“What an honour to achieve such a sought after award, I honestly cannot describe in words what winning this award means to me. I just hope that I can continue to inspire other care leavers to be the best they can be.”

The full list of award winners, with links to pictures of the night, can be found here.

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