Putting you at the heart of the action!
Over the coming months at NUS Scotland, we’re trying to do things a little differently. I was elected as NUS Scotland President on a platform of making our campaigns more grassroots, participatory and student led.
So this year, rather than centrally instructing members on what we want them to work on, we’re turning control over to you. Our members are forming Action Groups on specific issues where they want to make a change. These are open to all students who are affected or interested, not just students’ association officers.
Students are working together to share knowledge and organise action on issues they think matter most, across Scotland’s colleges and universities.
We’ve been using our conference, the Big Uni Forum and The Gathering to draw together what our members’ campaigning priorities are over the next year. That’s how we decided our main priority campaign this year would be improving student housing. Within that, Action Groups are now working on different specific aspects of renters’ rights for students, including:
-Regulating Purpose Built Student Accommodation so that students can have similar rights to private tenants.
-Ensuring rent guarantor schemes are available to all who need them.
-Tackling high cost, poor quality laundry services in student halls.
Besides housing, we’ve also formed a number of Action Groups on issues that students have brought to our attention as priorities they face:
-Climate Change and Sustainability.
-Disabled Students’ Support.
-Student Support and Tackling Student Poverty.
The rules of the groups are very simple: they need to be student led, with NUS Scotland providing support, advice and some resources, rather than initiating action. In addition, all groups should:
-Make sure they have one point of contact for NUS Scotland staff.
-Involve more than one institution: groups should work on problems that affect students widely.
-Be topic specific: groups need to establish a clear and achievable goal they are working towards.
-Be time-bound: work out a clear plan for what can be achieved on your issue in this academic year.
-Ensure their work is consistent with NUS Scotland policy and values.
-Student led: The groups need to operate autonomously and feed into NUS Scotland’s national work. The students taking part will organise all meetings, and ensure a member of NUS Scotland staff is invited.
If you’re interested in any of the issues above, or think there’s an important topic that we’ve missed, then get in touch about joining and helping to pioneer our new ways of campaigning!