What happened on day one at National Conference 2016?

Tuesday 19-04-2016 - 18:59

National Conference 2016 begun today with over 1,000 delegates and observers from the student movement arriving in Brighton for three days of debates, elections, keynotes and fringes.

This year’s annual democratic gathering got underway with a rousing welcome from Karolina Pietkiewicz of the European Students Union before we heard a keynote speech from Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), who urged students to make their voices heard in the EU referendum as “jobs, growth and rights at work will be at stake.” 

NUS National President Megan Dunn then gave her opening remarks. Declaring her support for the European Union, she said: “students stand together for a progressive Europe built on human rights, co-operation and freedom, and NUS is looking forward to campaigning for that Europe over the next two months.”

You can watch Megan’s speech in full here.

Following the opening of business, we moved onto the Priority Zone, where Megan gave her accountability report and took questions from conference floor before motions discussion.

Throughout the day, delegates also heard accountability reports and voted on policy concerning three more zones; firstly from Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice President (Higher Education) and Shakira Martin, NUS Vice President (Further Education) during the Education Zone session and later from Richard Brooks, NUS Vice President (Union Development) during the Union Development Zone session.

You can watch each of these reports below.

Elsewhere in the afternoon, there were a range of informal and optional Fringe meetings open to all delegates.

Our final guest speaker on day one was TV presenter and Stronger In board member June Sarpong. On the topic of the Referendum, June said: “It’s vital young people are engaged in the debate about the future of our country. Whether it’s jobs, prices or the opportunity to travel, study or work abroad, we’re stronger inside the EU”, adding that “young people have more to lose with a vote to leave – and more to gain from staying – than any of us.”

You can find photos from day one at National Conference on our official Facebook page and look back on which motions passed within the Priority, Further Education, Higher Education and Union Development zones in more detail as they happened on our Twitter feed here.

National Conference reconvenes tomorrow, where we’ll be discussing policy within the Welfare and Society & Citizenship Zones. Day two will also feature elections for the positions of NUS National President and the five Vice President roles. Delegates will also have the opportunity to raise questions and concerns to those standing in elections during an informal hustings event tonight.

Not in Brighton for National Conference? Watch our live stream on NUS Connect and follow the action on Twitter using the #NUSconference hashtag.


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