Aaron Hurst – News Editor
From the 6th-21st October, the NUS held seven regional network events across the country in an aim to bring students from various universities together to make positive changes to the higher education system.
The events, which were organised by NUS President Malia Bouattia, were set up in the lead up to the union’s national demonstration on the 19th November. Bouattia, who attended the network events along with the union’s Vice-President Union Development Richard Brooks, declared that the diversity present within the national student body must be used to everyone’s advantage.
“We are a movement of many, of millions of students. We have among us science and humanities students; sports, music and theatre enthusiasts; people with a thousand interests or just one absolute passion.
“We need to build on our strengths if we are to defend our vision for a free, accessible, and liberated education for all, at any point in life. Yet, it is rare for us to come together as a movement – both nationally and locally. This needs to change.”
The NUS network events kicked off with the first of the seven commencing on the 6th October at Goldsmiths, University of London. Then, the event for the South West region took place at the University of Bristol on the 7th, followed by the North West region’s event at Manchester on the 10th.
Sheffield Hallam hosted the network event for the North East on the 11th October; the University of Nottingham had the East Midlands’ event on the 12th, and the West Midlands had theirs at Warwick on the 18th. Finally, the events concluded with Sussex University hosting the event for the South East on the 21st.
While the events differed slightly in terms of what networking workshops were organised, they all began with an introduction by NUS President Malia Bouattia and Vice President Union Development Richard Brooks, and had a feedback session following the workshops. Subjects covered and discussed across the events included opposing the Teaching Excellence Framework in a campaign named ‘Quality Doesn’t Grow on Fees’; LGBT+ representation; improving the link between Further Education and Higher Education; combatting sexual violence on university campuses; environmental sustainability and the upcoming November 2016 demonstration.
These regional network events organised by the NUS are sure to rally interest from students across the country in the NUS demonstration being held on the 19th November.