Peter dominates the NUS Presidential candidates podcast debate. Take a listen HERE.
I’m personally a huge sports fan – I’m a season ticket holder at Fulham and a regular visitor to Lords Cricket Ground. I know the incredible buzz sports can bring. As someone who always had two left feet and could never really catch a ball I’ve not really been the playing type. However, I am always amazed by the shear hard work and dedication put in by sports men and women on a daily basis.
Sports clubs are one of the most used activities across the country, but when was the last time we discussed them on a National level and gave them some well-deserved recognition? Instead, as ever, we are busy re-organizing ourselves, and forgetting the amazing amount of good sports clubs can bring to our Campuses.
If elected I want to look at three key elements to enhancing sports in our Student Unions. This would see NUS looking properly at helping to guide performance enhancement programs, championing liberation in sports and getting a new generation of people participating in both competitive and non-competitive sport.
Firstly we need to build a stronger relationship with British Universities & Colleges Sport and other associated sporting bodies, so we can work together to empower Unions to give sports club more opportunities. This could range from helping them find the funds for a new sports kit to the more complicated ideas of placing entire team on performance enhancement programs.
Our Activities and Sports Officer across the country are often left behind or ignored. This is so wrong when in fact they are the exact people who have engaged and inspired students to be involved in Student Unions. The more people are involved, the stronger our movement is. We should be working more with those who have the track record of encouraging students to get involved.
Finally I want to see us doing more to promote campaigning such as “Out in Sport”. Sexuality, age, race, gender or background should not be a barrier to participating and showing talent. We need to work with sports teams – not against them. We also need to do more to inspire people into participating in sports. Since the Olympics I have tried my hand at Squash (inspired by Brunel VP Student Activities, Gary O’Brien), I’ve thrown a Shot Putt, and pretended to be a synchronised swimmer in my bath. I think NUS and Student Unions should be doing all they can to enhance and promote the concept of “Give it a Go” - getting out there, not only within the student body, but also in our local communities.
Too often there have been negative stigmas around our sports clubs, and that needs to end. They are champions and leaders in our movement and with me as President I will work with other Officers to see we place them back at the heart of our great movement.
Today we found out, following discussion at the NUS Trustee Board, that the new CEO of NUS could have a salary of £100K; that’s up over 16% from the current £86K. When important campaigns, such as that of Mature and Part-Time Students have budgets as small as £4000, I question how such a decision is in the best interests of students and Student Unions.
Up and down the country, Unions have to make tough decisions on what they spend their money on, to be able to afford NUS affiliation fees. We choose to affiliate to be part of a bigger movement, but also to get support and services. When administrative costs are so high, and campaign budgets so low, I have to question if NUS has got to balance right, and if students are getting the best they could from their National Union.
The proposed increase in the CEO’s salary is enough to increase the 2013/2014 Further Education Zone budget by over 50%, or triple this year’s Postgraduate Students Campaign budget. While I am not against high salaries where they are shown to be needed and deserved, the scale of this increase does ring alarm bells.
The entire country is facing tough economic times, and it is in these times, more than ever, that NUS needs to put as much of its resources as possible with the campaigns, supporting ordinary students on the ground. I will be working to make sure there is a wholesale change in the mindset behind the NUS budget; where students get the priority, and the leadership have to justify salaries over 50% larger than a Member of Parliament’s to the membership. It’s time for students to stand up and set a new direction for our National Union. It’s time for an NUS we all feel part of. It’s time for #OneNationNUS.
I wanted to take this opportunity to apologies for not being with you today. I hope you are having a fantastic conference and enjoying the wonderful city of Newport. Unfortunately an issue has arisen at Brunel that means I’ve made the decision to cancel my visit.
At Brunel we are proud to host the largest population of Syrian Students in the country. Following the recent crisis in Syria the Union of Brunel Students have been doing all we can to protect, support and help our Syrian friends during this troubling time; from lobbying the University to defer fees, fighting for provisions to gain emergency grants, and making sure that those with families have all the support they need.
Whilst for obvious reasons I won’t go into specific details of the issue, I am pleased to say that this is an isolated case, and that the Union is doing everything within its power, with the cooperation of the University, to find a resolution.
Whilst I was very much looking forward to seeing you today, it would be wrong for me to put politics first. I was elected by the students of Brunel and they must remain my number one priority. It is days like this that we remember why we became involved in our Unions; not for some personal gain or to push a massive political agenda, but like so many of you here today, and others up and down the country; to simply to stand up for students in their hour of need.
I look forward to meeting many of you in the coming weeks for what I am sure will be an exciting election. If you have any questions please add me on Facebook, tweet me, or drop me a call.
Best of luck in the Rugby at the weekend, and enjoy Toni, Vicki and everyone’s favourite Rod!
On Tuesday I was overwhelmed to see the House of Commons resoundingly support the proposal to introduce Same Sex Marriage. This is a fantastic step forward for the equality of LGBT people. It was great to see students across the country lobbying their MPs, passing motions at student councils and getting involved in the NUS ‘Come out for Equal Marriage’ campaign, all to support this important cause.
The LGBT liberation campaign is so important. For far too long the LGBT community has had its basic rights suppressed. Whilst this is one giant step in the right direction, we must remember that there is still a long way to go. We need to continue to fight to repeal the blood ban law and look at how we genuinely tackle homophobia and the bullying that is still so prevalent in society.
We must reflect on the battles we still have to face whether at home or abroad. Whilst I celebrate this week, I would encourage you all to take a moment to remember the battles the lie ahead. We all too often read with horror of young LGBT people committing suicide because the bullying got too much; the struggle across the world to keep being gay legal; and the homophobia that we still have to tackle here at home.
Our world is changing and once again, when the world changed, the student movement stood at the forefront! For now I’m just excited I can say “I do”.
I am pleased to see that Inanimate Carbon Rod has been successfully nominated for NUS President. The arduous process that Rod has had to go through in order to get onto the ballot paper is lengthy and archaic, and a perfect example of why the NUS needs to be more open and inclusive. The whole process is angled against the ordinary student engaging with these elections – to nominate someone they must obtain letter headed paper from their Student Union. That’s very easy if you’re Student Union President, but what about the distance learners and part time students who work during the day? Whatever the result of this election, I hope things will be opened up to engage more people next year.
Whilst it is good to see Rod on the ballot paper, we do have some difference. I share Rod’s desire for a strong student movement; however I won’t be supporting construction of the Workers’ Bomb. Indeed, I fear this will only lead to an arms race among other national unions within the region, spreading instability across the European Student’s Union, and the development of a state of mutually assured destruction. I recognise Inanimate Carbon Rod’s resistance to explosives, but the development of a Workers’ Bomb may have more detrimental effects on us ‘meatbags’.
Employment and employability is something I feel strongly about, and have discussed it in my manifesto. However the creation of jobs through the construction of 8,000,000 ‘death cyborgs’ is, perhaps, not the best option. Rather than enriching uranium or designing an army of blood hungry death robots, I believe it’s time to go back to basics and build an NUS every student, meatbag or inanimate, can be proud of.
UPDATE: We have obtained footage of what a world controlled by Inanimate Carbon Rod, and his army of cyborgs, may look like; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyenRCJ_4Ww