The National Union of Students (NUS) is a confederation of around 600 students' unions, amounting to more than 95 per cent of all higher and further education unions in the UK, and represents the interests of more than seven million students. NUS is a voluntary membership organisation that aims to make a difference in the lives of students and its member students' unions through a variety of activities.
The NUS is more than just one organisation - it is made up of separate companies:
- NUS (UK) is the campaigning organisation that is responsible for championing student issues on a national level.
- NUS Charity is separate and exists to support the development of students' unions.
There are separate fees for being affiliated to either of these elements of NUS. The SU Bath currently pays fees to be affiliated to both.
Find out more about the NUS
The SU Bath currently has a 'dual membership', which means we are affiliated to the NUS (UK) and NUS Charity. However, decisions about our Students' Union are solely made by The SU Bath members; NUS supports its member Unions but it does not direct policy or activities within students’ unions.
In March 2021, The SU held a referendum to determine student opinion on our membership with NUS.
Read more about the referendum here
The term ‘affiliation to NUS’ can be ambiguous since there are different levels of membership related to the two separate companies of which the NUS is comprised. These are the ‘National Union of Students (UK)’ and ‘NUS Students’ Unions Charitable Services Ltd’.
The differences between the components of the NUS and its tiered membership system are outlined below:
- National Union of Students (UK) membership – This is a membership to the student voice organisation ‘NUS (UK)’ which delivers campaigns and national representation, currently costing SUs 2% of their block grant. To end membership at NUS UK, students must vote on affiliation by secret ballot (a referendum).
- NUS Students’ Unions Charitable Services Ltd membership – Also known as ‘NUS Charity’, this is a membership to the students’ union development and support aspect of NUS, currently costing SUs 0.5% of their block grant. The SU's referendum is not in relation to its affiliation to the NUS Charity.
- NUS Services Limited (NUSSL) membership – This is the trading element of NUS or ‘buying consortium’ where SUs procure supplies for bars and entertainment via collective buying power facilitated through the NUS. This is automatically included within the NUS Charity membership (it is a social enterprise subsidiary of NUS Charity). Alternatively, there is a £2,000 flat rate outside of NUS Charity membership.
NUS terms of membership
Every year, the NUS runs a variety of workshops, training days, and conferences, which act as forums to share ideas, discuss and debate issues, and set policy at a national level. Conferences also provide an opportunity to elect representatives to lead the future direction of the NUS. Being an NUS Delegate is an important role; important for The University of Bath, for the Students’ Union, and most importantly, for the students being represented.
The two NUS conferences that we send student delegates to each year are 'NUS National Conference' & 'NUS Liberation Conference'. We send 6 delegates to National Conference (including the SU President) and we send a range of delegates to the Liberation Conference (Black students' delegate, Black Women students' delegate, Disabled students' delegate, LGBT+ delegate, Trans delegate, and Women students' delegate).
NUS National Conference
NUS National Conference is the sovereign body of the NUS - it sets policy for the year ahead and elects the NUS President, Vice Presidents, and the NUS National Executive Council. Every year over 1,500 delegates arrive at the conference from institutions across the United Kingdom.
The three main purposes of the conference are to:
- Scrutinise the current work of the NUS and their elected officers
- Set the direction of the NUS (e.g., through campaigns and policy)
- Elect future leaders of the NUS.
NUS Liberation Conference
Liberation Conference is an opportunity for student activists from across the UK to come together to set the direction for the liberation campaigns for the year ahead and elect their Officers and Committee. One of the key functions of this conference is to debate and vote on motions, which become NUS policy.
Read more about NUS Conferences
Each of these roles’ duties and responsibilities includes representing the views of students at the University of Bath with regard to general student experiences, topical issues, and specific inclusion & liberation issues. The positions enable students to raise concerns at a national level through the NUS conferences.
These roles are ideal for students who are passionate about a certain area of student experience and representation who want to try their hand at organising campaigns, and who are ready to take on the challenge of public speaking and debating.
NUS National Delegate Role Description
NUS Liberation Delegate Role Description
Nominations for NUS Conference Delegates are held at the start of October, for:
- National Conference Delegates (x5)
- Black* Students’ Delegate
- Black* Women Students' Delegate
- Disabled Students' Delegate
- LGBT+ Students' Delegate
- Trans Students' Delegate
- Women Students' Delegate
*Black is used as an inclusive term to represent those from African, Arab, Asian, Caribbean and South American communities
Nominate yourself to be an NUS Delegate
The NUS Delegates are yet to be elected for the 2021-22 Academic Year. Watch this space.