National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland

National Union of Students-Union of Students in Ireland (NUS-USI)
PresidentOlivia Potter-Hughes[1]
HeadquartersBelfast, Northern Ireland
International affiliationEuropean Students' Union

NUS-USI, the student movement in Northern Ireland was formed in 1972 by bilateral agreement between the National Union of Students of the United Kingdom (NUS) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), to address the particular problems of representing students in Northern Ireland.[1] As of 2018, NUS-USI represents approximately 200,000 students in the region.[2]

Students at an affiliated college are members of both national students' unions. The elected leader of the organisation is a full-time representative, elected as a sabbatical from one of the member colleges, and serves as a member of the USI Officer Board and the NUS National Executive Committee.[citation needed] An elected term is one year long (July–June). An officer within the executive of the movement may hold an officer position for a maximum of two terms.[citation needed]

As of March 2018, the President of NUS-USI was Olivia Potter-Hughes.[3] NUS-USI also has a number of part-time student officers filling the roles of further education officer, welfare officer, campaigns and communications officer, international students' officer. Autonomous liberation campaigns also elect part-time officers who fill the roles of disabled students officer, women's officer, LGBT+ officer, trans students' officer and BAEM (black, Asian and ethnic minority) officer.[4][5][6]


Following the model of Scottish Universities, a Students' Representative Council (SRC) was formally established at Queen's College Belfast in 1897 in tandem with the opening of a Students' Union Building in what is now the music department on that campus. Student representatives from Queen's University subsequently played roles in founding the National Union of Students in 1922 and the Irish Students Association, which stimulated the formation of the Union of Students in Ireland in 1959.[citation needed]

Increasing student activism and a desire for more democratic forms of student involvement in the late 1960s led to a moving away from a model of Student Representative Councils (SRCs) as a system of governance towards the creation of students’ unions and more participatory "general meetings", accessible to all students.[citation needed] Students’ unions also took on a more campaigning role and inspired by the experience of American student organisations, Northern Irish student activists such as Michael Farrell, Eamonn McCann and Bernadette Devlin (now McAliskey) led campaigns for "civil rights" in Northern Ireland.[citation needed] During this period, students' unions in Northern Ireland separately affiliated to each national union, depending to a large extent on the religious/political disposition of their members.[citation needed]

The NUS-USI was involved in the Student Housing Association (founded by Ray Cashell in 1977),[7] and the promotion of a wider range of services.[citation needed] It also campaigned against sectarianism on campus allowing Students’ Unions to promote initiatives such as the "Peace Jobs Progress" campaign in 1978 (modeled on Trade Union/Workers Party influences) and the Peace People for example.[citation needed] Another feature during this period was the development of Students’ Union commercial services, stimulated by the National Student Unions.[citation needed]

Together with local students' unions, NUS-USI now provides a range of services, including campaigns on education, welfare and citizenship, as well as infrastructure and support for the individual students' unions.[8] NUS-USI celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012.[9]

At its annual conference held in Derry in March 2018, NUS-USI introduced two new part-time student officer roles in the form of an international students' officer and a trans students' officer.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "NUS-USI - About Us". NUS. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Who we are". NUS-USI. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  3. ^ "It's a wrap! NUS-USI conference round-up – Day 2 @ NUS Connect". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  4. ^ "People - NUS USI". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b "NUS-USI conference - Round-up of day 1 @ NUS Connect". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  6. ^ "NUS-USI constitution : as amended at NUS-USI conference 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Inquiry into Housing in Northern Ireland". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  8. ^ "What we do - NUS USI". Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  9. ^ "History of NUS-USI - NUS USI". Retrieved 12 January 2019.

External links

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