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Conference tackles the changes affecting Students' Unions

Posted on 21/06/2010

Sean O Donnell, Charlotte Bassam-Bowles, Baroness Diana Warwick, Acting Principal Prof Rob Kemp

The Students’ Union at Royal Holloway, University of London is hosting the AMSU (Association of Managers in Students’ Unions) annual conference from 20 to 23 June 2010 in the Windsor Building. The conference is themed ‘Dynamically Engaging Students’ Unions′, and will also feature AMSU’s annual general meeting on the 23 June 2010, which will set out the future of the organisation.

High profile speakers at the event include Baroness Diana Warwick, Chair of the Human Tissue Authority and former CEO of Universities UK; Aaron Porter, President of the National Union of Students (NUS); Professor Steve Smith, President UUK; and Matt Hyde, Chief Executive of the NUS.

“We are honoured to be hosting this important event”, says Sean O’Donnell, 2010 AMSU national conference host and General Manager at Royal Holloway’s Students’ Union. “We have been working with the Conference Planning Team for the past twelve months to ensure an enriching and rewarding experience for all participants. We have a truly amazing range of speakers, and delegates will be offered excellent learning opportunities which will empower them to deal with the significant challenges the sector currently faces”.

The national event will be of significant benefit to all staff and elected officers in Students’ Unions (SU’s). The conference will act as a focal point for action on a wide range of considerable changes affecting the SU sector; these include the requirement for most SU’s to become registered charities, an increasingly diverse student demographic, and potential funding cuts within the higher education sector.

James Pidgeon, President of Royal Holloway’s Students’ Union states, ‘Students’ Unions actively play a part in the ever-popular Higher Education phrase, ‘the student experience’, whether it be through vigorous academic representation, inspirational campaign work, offering support and advice, or providing a range of commercial, sporting, media and volunteering opportunities to develop and enhance students’ skills beyond academia. This conference is providing the perfect platform for individuals from Students’ Unions across the country to gather together and ensure that our organisations remain effective and develop sufficiently within the context of the major changes we face”.

In the face of such factors, AMSU conference planning committee has identified eight key professional training streams. These will run throughout the conference programme to prepare students’ union personnel and elected officers for the considerable changes they face. The streams are sector knowledge; leadership and management; HR and progression; commercial and finance; stakeholder engagement; integrated marketing and communications; democracy and governance and advice and well-being.

The conference is also welcoming a contingent from the USA as part of a cultural exchange programme, with senior managers from The Association of Colleges International (ACUI) attending.


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