Listen, you might not know loads about your students' union. You may not even like it that much. Current students and alumni all have very different opinions of their SU. Some very good, some less so. Those of us who spend our days in students' unions, talking to students and championing their interests have heard the criticisms.
Some of them legitimate, most less so. I'll explain why.
This week, there's a lot of love happening. On Friday, December 2, NUS is hosting #LoveSUs day across 600 Students' unions in UK. This campaign has created last year in the aftermath of the government's Higher Education Green Paper, which directly attacked the legitimacy of students' unions and their power as the representative voice of students.
Because of that campaign and the concerted efforts of students' unions and education sector stakeholders, the government realised that picking an argument with students' unions wasn't a fight worth having.
You may ask yourself, why hold a national campaign to show appreciation for students' unions? Why such a response when they're undermined?
1) Because pretty much everything you like about your education is because of/happens in your SU
Do you like meeting your classmates and doing fun things? Probs your SU. Timetabling being released early enough to sort your life around? Probs ya SU. 24/7 library? SU. Microwaves/buses/contact hours? Hello, students' unions. The fact your lecturers have to listen to your feedback? Probs your SU. Sports teams, societies, fundraising, media, social events (night and day) - probably your students' union.
You might not know it. You might not see it, but your students' union will be there in your corner - it's what they do.
2) It's yours. All yours
The beautiful thing about your students' union is that you run them. Not in some kind of pathetic/disparate way. You actually do. Students' union policy is made by students. Your elected leadership are students. And if you don't like the things they're saying? Great, you change it. Lots of students' unions have changed the way they do democracy to make it more accessible for students - it's the click of a button away usually.
3) Who's on the side of students and/or young people?
Look at the news. Brexit. Cuts to colleges. Tuition fees. Rent and house prices. Jobs.
Based on that, it's not hard to come to the conclusion that we're being mugged off.
Day in, day out - students' unions are the ones championing students' issues. You might not always like everything they do or how they say it - but, again, it's yours to change (see point 2).
So, at a time where students' voices are under threat. Where bad things are happening and we're being told we're not allowed to have a say. We're coming together as a student body to say with one clear voice - we can and will be listened to.
To get involved, lots of students' unions - from Canterbury College SU to York St John, from Greenwich to Nottingham are all hosting events. If your local SU isn't doing something - join the conversation online at #LoveSUs. It'll be lovely.Suggest a correction