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Student blog: My first NUS conference

Binayak Datta
Photo: Binayak Datta, one of Pestalozzi's Indian students.

Binayak and Washington
Photo: Binayak (India) and Washington (Zimbabwe), Pestalozzi students.

Photo: Pestalozzi's Indian students (2013-2014) Binayak, Aravind, Madhumita and Syeed.

22 May 2014

The National Union of Students’ general conference took place in Liverpool in April 2014. Pestalozzi student Binayak Datta attended the conference in his role as International Students’ Officer at Sussex Coast College Hastings, and shares his experience below.

When I was very small I gained an interest in politics and I became really passionate about it as I grew up. This is why I joined the student union at SCCH. I stood for election at college and won by a great margin.

During one of our union meetings at SCCH, our President mentioned the NUS conference and I knew immediately that I wanted to attend. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to, but it turned out a lot of people had other academic commitments and were not available for the conference. My happiness knew no boundary when our President announced that I would be going to Liverpool, along with one other student, to represent the SCCH student union.

This is the NUS’s annual conference. They elect a National President and Vice Presidents, the executive committee is chosen and important motions are discussed and amended. Student unions from all over the country send their delegates.

The conference began with a speech from the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. He spoke about his journey and how he became the Lord Mayor. He was a very nice man with a strong Liverpool accent (though he tried to keep it simple). After that, we dove into voting on different motions and orders, which gave rise to lots of debating. I was really surprised to see so many students from all over the country being so passionate about building a union and making a difference. To them, putting their views forward was so important.

I met so many people from all over the country, including someone from a university in London who told me this was his sixth NUS conference! I also spoke to many other Indians. We discussed voting and also a lot about general politics in both India and the UK. I have heard people talk about the corruption in Indian politics but sometimes it seems that no one takes the initiative to do something other than mocking it. Looking at so many students coming together at the NUS conference and resolving matters by discussion was something new to me. I realised how important it is to raise your voice and be heard.

My future ambition is to go back to my country and join politics and give back something to my people and my community.

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