What is NUS?
National Union of Students is the confederation of over 600 Students Unions in the UK with a combined membership of 7 million Students both in Higher and Further Education.
What made you want to take part in NUS?
I’ve been involved in NUS since my first year at University in 2009. A lot of the work that NUS does, including promoting as well as defending & extending the rights of students, was something that really appealed to me. I felt I was able to bring something new to the table in regards to student welfare policy and articulating the concerns of students on our university campuses to those in the corridors of power.
You’ve recently been elected. Could you tell us about what your position is and what kind of things you’ll be involved in?
I have recently been elected to the NUS National Executive Council which oversees and scrutinises the work of the NUS. My role will include supporting the President and 4 Vice Presidents in their work by being the link between them and the membership (Student Unions).
Are there many Sikhs in NUS? Why?
There aren’t many Sikhs actively involved in NUS though there have been few individuals in the past who have held positions. An example would be Rupy Kaur (ex-disabled students officer) and Varinder Singh (NUS Student Trustee). One of the reasons which may contribute to only a few Sikhs getting involved is that there is no real Sikh Student body which is active within the Student movement like the Union of Jewish Students representing the Jewish faith and Federation of Student Islamic Societies representing the Islamic faith. There needs to be a National Sikh Student body which is able to represent the views of Sikh Students at a national level so that Sikh students on university campuses can get actively involved within the student movement.
Is there more that organisations like City Sikhs Network can do to help support you and other politically interested Sikhs?
City Sikhs can provide the support to Sikh students so that they can put themselves forward for positions like these. Maybe with the help of mentors and networking events, it maybe possible to get Sikh students organised so that they are able to articulate their views and concerns on a platform which would enable them to make a change.
If there was one thing you could change while you are in your NUS role what would it be?
I would like to encourage more representation on a national level from Faith groups which are traditionally under-represented. There is alot of potential for work between the faith groups and organisations which could help benefit students across the board.
How long will you have in your current position? Will you run for it again?
I will be in this position until next July. I will consider my options nearer the time depending on how well I am able to continue contributing to the student movement.