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In Britain we are fortunate to have a single national representative body, the National Union of Students (NUS). With over 1.4 million members NUS is both big and can legitimately claim to be the national voice of students in the UK. The Students' Unions of just about every major institution and most of the smaller institutions in Britain are affiliated to NUS, therefore the students at all those colleges are by right members of NUS. Nowhere else in the world has an organisation like NUS, for example in the countries of continental Europe the student movement is politically split into different federations. Our unity (which is naturally often strained) is a great strength and is worth fighting to maintain.

Our National Union is governed by an annual conference, which is usually held in spring and attended by delegates elected from affiliated Students' Union. The conference determines policy of NUS and elects a National Executive Committee (NEC) who are responsible for the general day-to-day running of the National Union and implementing its policy.

It is the unity of NUS that has negotiated deals on the supply of cheap beer and other drinks for sale in Students' Union bars, cheap travel, cheap goods for Students' Union shops, and cheap insurance etc. Politically the Government cannot ignore NUS and we have continual input into the Parliamentary process with continual lobbying and seats on education related committees, which is sometimes backed up with external campaigning. The National Union also provides information to Students' Unions on things like welfare issues and development, and runs a successful Union Officer training programme. It also provides a centralised back-up for Students' Unions through its research departments.

All in all, NUS is a good thing and we would all be a lot worse off without it.

To visit the website of the National Union Students, click on the link below:

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