The National Union of Students, or NUS, is a national association of students' unions that represents about seven million students across the UK from 600 educational institutions. Founded in 1922, the NUS exists to give a national voice to students from across the UK, and today the vast majority of university students' unions (and their members) belong to it. It is a democratic organisation that lets students elect representatives and leaders every year to make decisions on their behalf and represent them at a national level, just like The Union does for the student community at Manchester Met.
The short answer is yes - although it's a bit complicated. Individual students can't join NUS, but being a student at Manchester Met automatically makes you a member of The Union; being a member of The Union then also automatically makes you a member of NUS.
This is because NUS is something called a confederation of students' unions. The Union is one of about 600 students' unions in the UK (including most university unions) who choose, voluntarily, to be part of NUS. That makes all of our members part of NUS too.
So if you're a student at Manchester Met and you've never ended your automatic membership with The Union, you'll also be an NUS member until you graduate. That means you can enjoy membership benefits like the NUS Extra Card and put yourself forward to attend national NUS events for as long as you're part of The Union.
The main job of NUS is to represent the interests of its more than seven million students (including you) at the national level, and especially to the UK Government. Just like The Union represents you to Manchester Met, NUS represents you in national conversations.
NUS also runs nation-wide and regional campaigns on issues that matter to students, like the cost of studying, changes to education or tackling hate crime. Every year around 1,000 elected students and officers (including nine from The Union - find out more here) gather for an annual conference to decide NUS' direction and leadership for the next year.
NUS also offers practical benefits, like the NUS Extra Card - the UK's biggest and most widely known student discount card. Our partnership with NUS also helps The Union to source goods (like what we sell in the shop) and services for our members at a lower cost.
1965: NUS founds Endsleigh Insurance, the first insurance company willing to take students.
1974: Lobbying by NUS leads to the creation of the Student Railcard; now called the 16 - 25 Railcard.
1992: The Government agrees to NUS demands to make all full-time students council tax exempt.
2007: NUS lobbying helps create the first Tenancy Deposit Schemes, to help protect students in private accommodation.
2014: Universities are banned from pressuring students with non-academic debts through academic punishments, thanks to an NUS campaign to the Office of Fair Trading.
2015: An NUS-backed coalition of lobbyists secures the creation of postgraduate loans; first for under 30s, then for all students.
2016: NUS legal experts help to win a major court case against the Home Office, making it harder for international students to be deported.
If you're interested in the important work The Union does with NUS, there are a few different ways you get can involved and have your say:
Vote for NUS Delegates: every year, The Union elects eight people to attend NUS National Conference. This is an action-packed, three-day event that sees 1,000 representatives from across the student union movement come together to elect NUS' UK-wide leadership (including the NUS UK President and other paid, full-time officers) and vote on policy proposals. By voting for a candidate whose views and values on national student issues reflect yours, you contribute to an important national conversation about students rights and help to shape the work of NUS.
Attend National Conference: if you want to go a step further, you can stand for election to be an NUS Delegate. Every MMU member is eligible to run for election and with eight places up for grabs, there's a good chance of winning. Find out more here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Attend NUS Events: as well as National Conference, NUS holds a number of other smaller conferences and events focused on different themes or types of student throughout the year. Have a look at the list of events below to learn more, and get in touch if you're interested in going to any of them. We select or elect students to attend these events at different times in the academic year.
Campaign: NUS also runs a number of national campaigns through the year, which you can learn more about by visiting this page and this page. If there's something you'd like to get involved with you can get in touch with NUS yourself (we can help with this), or start your own version of an NUS campaign by using our campaign submission system (there's lots of help available if you want to run your own campaign, so fee free to get in touch).