Two weeks ago, the team filled with FTO’S, PTO’S and Wales Delegates attended the NUS Zone conference in Harwich at the top of Wales. Robiu Salisu, the Full-Time Education Officer; Ditonmene Churchill, the Part-Time International Officer; Eyerinmene Gbenekeme Bishop, NUS Wales Delegate and myself Heather Wood, Part-Time Woman’s Officer all attended this conference. The NUS Zone Conference is the chance to hold the elected officers of NUS Wales to account, within this session we heard reports from Beth Button (President of NUS Wales) and Ebbi Ferguson (Deputy-President of NUS Wales) and were able to enquire about the reports and their actions in the past year. NUS Liberation Officers also gave reports, however we were unable to hold them to account, the accountability is the responsibility of the liberations. Workshops and a debate session were delivered to the delegates at the conference.
A journey hindered by trees and wind our team finally made it to Harwich after almost eight hours of travelling. I caught up with Bishop and Churchill to gain his insight on his experience of the conference. Here is his report:
So what did you get up to during the NUS Zone Conference?
Bishop: I participated in the workshop session and voted in the elections. I was also able to meet and greet delegates from different institutions. And had the opportunity to know NUS Wales elected officers who run the day to day activities in NUS Wales region. I also had the privilege to learn and get feedbacks on issues from representatives of different political parties in Wales, and what their parties are willing to do and what it stands for when it comes to education.
Churchill: I want to first of all thank the student union for giving me such an opportunity to represent them, I went there in place of the President as an Observer.
What was the most interesting point of the day fo you?
Bishop: The debating session was an interesting part because students were able to ask questions and get a direct feedback or answers from representatives of different political parties in Wales, on different issues that of importance to further education and higher education students, etc. It was quite informative, educational and fun at the same time.
Also it was interesting to know that you are given the opportunity to ask and contribute to issues during the workshop session.
Churchill: To me, it is the question and answer section. That is the time we get to ask the leadership of NUS Wales questions about the things they are doing to better the situation of students in Wales, also politicians who are seeking to be elected came to the Conference and we had the opportunity to ask they about their plans if they had any, about the International students how they will be able to support internattional students due to the massive input they make in the economy
Who was the most interesting person/speaker you talked to at the conference?
Bishop: I will say, the NUS Wales president, Beth Button was an interesting person to talk to.
Churchill: I cannot pinpoint a single person because I spoke with quite a lot of interesting people in the conference, but I find the politicians more interesting to talk to because of their role in the policy making system
If you could do anything to improve the day, what would it be?
Bishop: I will make it a two days conference meeting to give more chance for delegates to give report on their achievements and students to be able to present issues that affects their various institutions or organisations and also raise or direct questions to NUS Wales elected officers. It is understandable that making the conference two days will give rise to cost but it worth it because it is once in awhile thing. For instance, during the feedback (accountability) session on achievements by elected officers of NUS Wales, there was not enough time for them to give their reports, and that gives rise to a very wide and broad vacancy to lack transparency and trust.
Churchill: Make the question and answer section longer than it is because there are lots of people who wanted to ask questions but were turned down due to the time constraint
How did you represent Swansea University?
Bishop: I did represent Swansea University well but I was more of an observer because it was my first time, so it was more of experience to me as a person.
The interesting part is that I and Churchill raised an issue that was of importance to all international students concerning the new immigration law.
I was able to speak to the NUS Wales president in person also on that issue, though I didn’t have enough time and chance to raise many issues that would have benefited Swansea University students. That is one of the reasons it should be made two days conference and not just a day, because we are there to represent and raise issues that will improve the life of every student and be the voice of our institutions; and not just observers.
I represented Swansea Students very well to the best of my knowledge; Swansea University is one of the well-respected Universities in Wales if not the best so we try our best to maintain that standard in our representation.
For students who are interested in representing Swansea university next year in the delegate elections, what advice do you have for them?
Bishop: I will advise those students that are interested to represent Swansea University to just be themselves and gather as much information as possible from students and Swansea students ’ union and work closely with both the students and the students ’ union. You must able to think critically and be a good listener, be approachable, reliable, be committed and inspiring, be flexible because you will be called at anytime, and most importantly be MAN OF THE PEOPLE.
Being the delegate of Swansea University student’s means you are entrusted with the responsibility to decide who should be in position or in authority to make decisions that will affect not just Swansea university students but the whole of Wales’s university students. Therefore, you must take every care to achieving that goal.
Churchill: I would advise them to put themselves forward and represent our University with pride and dignity thank you.