Posted on Mon 03 Aug 2015 at 16:11 by Sam Spencer
Leaders causing change, change creating leaders, leading change? I don’t know where I’m going with this but last week I was at the NUS Lead and Change conference! Having previously been to both Welfare and Community and Lead and Change conferences last year, this was a fresh opportunity for me as this year the NUS combined the 2 conferences into 1 (a good move in my opinion). On Monday, I was launched straight from a mental health campaign meeting to getting on a train to get to the University of Warwick, a whole day on my feet basically!
Tuesday started early for everyone to register, which was great as I could immediately feel the talent in the room and it was lovely to meet new people as well as familiar faces from last year. We then met with Shelly the VP Welfare for the NUS, who gave an inspiring initial presentation (despite lacking in selfie skills!) which then directly led us into our training groups for the rest of the day. After dinner it was QUIZ TIME. As our team left before the results were announced I had no idea who won, but it probably wasn’t us (Digimon does not = Pokemon…!)
Wednesday was packed with workshops, I attended sessions on Housing, Sexual health, Faith campaigns and Dealing with the Media which were all incredibly motivating and helped me create some good campaign ideas for the coming year. After the workshops, there was a non-timetabled session with Shelly about the Prevent agenda and how this could affect Students’ Unions. This session was incredibly inspiring and it was good to see so many Unions in solidarity with each other with similar ideas.
What followed was an NUS staple, KARAOKE. Of course we won no question! #TeamNoName were the best singers by far, singing an interpretation of Mr Brightside.
Thursday was the final day, and only a few of our group survived the night before which meant our exercise for the day comprised of 4 of us. This proved to be a disadvantage as our exercise (Practicing Campaigns) was to prioritise 2 welfare campaigns out of 5 and execute them. Sounds easy, but the workshop also involved how we would deal with unexpected turns and setbacks, which we weren’t warned about! Our team prioritised childcare and mental health provision, which ended with every building being locked with bike locks, an occupation of over 2000 students in a building, children running riot in the Vice Chancellors office and everyone on strike. So it went pretty well if you ask me.
Our last session was with the NUS President giving feedback on how our Unions interacted with the NUS and any barriers we had. Soon enough it was time to leave, a sad moment of course but good connections were made and good memories were born. So goodbye #TeamNoName, ice cream machine news, OccuPIE & SolidariTEA, Thieving magpies, half eaten Jaffa cakes and Oprah Winfrey. It’s been a blast #NUSLeadChange, see you around!