The secret life of a conference delegate…

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We asked one of our past delegates to give us their take on what it is like to attend NUS National Conference...

Being a conference delegate is something which I really enjoyed, your time as a delegate doesn’t just start once you arrive at the venue it begins months before when standing in the election. This was very exciting as I had to convince people as to why I would be a good delegate and why I deserved to go over others who stood. Once elected I knew that I had a while before I had to think about it again, but I couldn’t stop telling family and friends that the students of Aber believed in me enough to send me to NUS National Conference. This wasn’t my first time being elected to go to NUS National Conference, as I had done it before when I was a part-time SU officer at college and loved it then, so knew I was going to enjoy it again.

When I heard that we as Aber delegates were going to be travelling by train, I was dreading it and thought ‘do the union really think this is the best way to travel’ such a long distance, however once I got on the train I realised that yes it was a really long journey, but that it gave me a chance to look at all the motions that were going to be voted on at the conference and looking back I am so glad I had this time.

Once we arrived at Conference the first thing we did was find the hotel. We then decided to spend the rest of the evening just walking round trying to find something to eat and getting an early night after what had been a long day of travelling. I managed to find some food and took this back to my hotel room, I then put a film on and was asleep by 10pm.

The following few days were amazing. Conference floor was split into regions so we sat with other delegates from Welsh SU’s, as well as Officers from NUS Wales, I knew a few people however it was great getting the chance to meet new people and hearing their views on the issues being discussed. Each delegate is given a voting card and gets the chance to vote for, against or abstain on each motion on conference floor. The voting of motions is broken up by various different fringes which are like workshops, these often provide delegates with refreshments and are also great for getting a deeper understanding of issues being discussed at the conference.

Not only do delegates get to vote on motions but this is when NUS UK full-time officers are elected, so outside of conference floor you get approached by candidates for the various officer roles, all of which are telling you why you should vote for them. Each delegate is then given the opportunity to vote for these roles and the winners are announced on conference floor after all ballot papers are counted.

Overall I would have to say that I really enjoyed my time as a National Conference delegate and would recommend that anyone should stand, as it really is one of the best experiences I have had. Travelling from Aber was a challenge but no matter where National Conference is held, this was going to be an issue so don’t let the travel side bother you.

Thinking of standing? Read more here.

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