By Michael Wright:
The National Union of Students (NUS) has come under criticism in recent years. In NSW, voters remain sceptical of unions, and student politics more broadly remains the domain of die-hards and hacks. While these claims aren’t totally unfounded, reform and change can only come from inside NUS, and affiliation gives us the best chance.
EdCon, the NUS Education Conference, brings together members of NUS affiliated organisations across the country to focus on education organising. The opportunity to network with other students and learn from their fights against university management and governments is vital to ensure that student organisations move forward, and learn from the past.
Despite a week of riotous screaming and petty factional fighting, there remained the opportunity for students to become involved in the discussion about how we fight issues such as Fee Deregulation. Since EdCon, members of Western SRC (the student reps of WSU) have been involved in planning National Days of Action, supporting the national Student Wellbeing Survey (run by NUS and headspace) and contributing to discussions about the future of higher education.
Collective action remains one of the most important ways for students to achieve change. While it’s powerful for a single group to take action (i.e. the occupation of Sydney College of the Arts), strength is in numbers, and by working with our peers across the country, we have one united voice. Through NUS we can lobby politicians and create change on levels above where any one student organisation can.
Voting for student representatives, including National Union of Students Delegates, is open from October 4-14. Help shape the national conversation and represent Western Sydney – visit westernsydney.edu.au/studentvoice
President | Western SRC
Chair | Parramatta Student Campus Council
Equity Officer | Western Sydney Debating Union