Thursday 15-08-2019 - 11:37
On 7 August students and officers from university students’ associations across Scotland came together for the first ever Big Uni Forum. A day of discussion and networking across the student movement laid the groundwork for successful campaigns in the year ahead.
We organised the Big Uni Forum to give university students and officers the same opportunity to feed into our national campaign planning – just as college officers do through our Lead and Change: College Student Representation.
This year we’re looking to develop how we campaign more effectively across the student movement. A crucial part of that is student officers setting up issue-specific ‘action groups’, with the support of NUS Scotland. These will be open to all students who are interested, not just students’ association officers.
The event’s morning session focused on our members’ priorities for the year ahead, looking for common themes and linking up university students’ associations that have shared priorities. Three major topics emerged: student poverty and student support, improving mental health support, and climate change.
Participants were full of exciting and innovative ideas about how to best campaign on these issues. We’re now setting up online follow-up meetings to discuss the next steps with a view to setting up action groups. If you’d be interested in joining one of these meetings, get in touch!
The afternoon session focused on NUS Scotland’s national priority campaign for the year: improving student housing. The discussion kicked off with a panel of housing activists, with our President Liam McCabe outlining why we’d decided to take on the issue following feedback from our members. Rory MacLean from Living Rent set how students can get organised as tenants and how Scotland’s tenants’ union can help, followed by Stirling Students’ Tenants’ union talking about their work, and Strathclyde University Union on their successful campaign for a rent freeze at their student halls.
To round the day off, participants broken into groups to discuss purpose-built student accommodation, rent guarantor schemes, and taking on the high costs and poor quality of privately-provided laundry services in student halls.
Here we’ll again be moving forward with discussion in action groups open to all interested students. So if you have experience of any of these issues, and would like to help make a change to improve the situation, please get in touch and let us know.