On Saturday 16th January, CUSU kick-started what promises be a very busy term with its annual Conference.
Open to J/MCR committees, autonomous campaigns, and Faculty reps, the Conference offered those attending training and critical data and information through a wide variety of workshops – with some sessions, including one on rent negotiations, providing attendees with the latest available data compiled by CUSU through its 2015 Big Cambridge Survey.
In an introductory speech, Mark McCormack, CUSU’s general manager, shared some of the insights he had accumulated over his career, highlighting the unique nature of both the opportunities offered by Cambridge University, and of the challenges faced by its students.
His emphasis on the distinct and profound inequalities faced by Cambridge students came after CUSU president Priscilla Mensah reminded the attendees that CUSU’s campaigns this year fall under the title of ‘Equality of Opportunity’ – with a view to ensuring that, regardless of one’s identity, background, or college, no student should be disadvantaged in terms of their university experience.
Guest speaker Sorana Vieru, NUS Vice-President for Higher Education, gave a further speech on the national Higher Education landscape. After highlighting recent developments brought about by the government, Sorana Vieru introduced NUS’ latest Higher Education campaign, ‘Quality doesn’t grow on fees’, designed as a response to the Government’s November 2015 Green Paper on Higher Education. The far-reaching Green Paper introduced a number proposals affecting the structure of Higher Education nationally, including the introduction of a Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). The University of Cambridge produced a helpful summary of the Paper and both CUSU and the University of Cambridge responded to this consultation.
The remainder of the Conference consisted of workshops open to all attendees, including:
- Faculty rep training
- Evidencing Campaigns with the Right Data
- College Rent Negotiations
- Inclusion and Accessibility to your events
- Creative Campaigning
- Cross-Collegiate Academic Parity
- Conflict Resolution
- Money and Budgets
- Postgraduate student issues
- Liberation 101
- The Big Cambridge Survey
Keep checking CUSU news in the coming week for summaries of each workshop, complete with links to relevant resources and tips on how you can get involved!
In the meantime – get involved through one of the following:
- For undergraduates – CUSU’s Shadowing Scheme is about to start. If you’re not taking part yet, contact your JCR Access Officer to see how you can lend a hand!
- Getting involved in less than ten minutes: