Voluntary Sector: NUS to revamp image via election manifesto push

The National Union of Student (NUS) is attempting to shed its 'fee fighting' image with a PR push to encourage students to vote at the next general election.

Called 'Get The Vote Out', the campaign includes media relations and public affairs to drive the student vote and promote a newly-drafted 'education manifesto' among politicians.

With 5.2 million members, the union is also looking to show both sides the power of the student vote, particularly in marginal constituencies.

'There is a perception among many politicians that the NUS is about fee-fighting and that all students are white and middle class,' said Emma Higginson, who joined the union as its first director of campaigns and comms late last year.

'That is just wrong and this is the first campaign to try and alter that perception,' she continued.

She added that the organisation will use the manifesto to show it has broader concerns about education and that 'students are varied, full time, part time, international and in further education'.

To boost the student vote, the charity aims to use national and local, as well as student-specific media. Information packs with information such as polling station locations are also being sent out.

Manifesto issues include housing benefits, student welfare and further education funding. NUS representatives are set to meet MPs to air their concerns at a meeting at the House of Commons on 2 March, and regional NUS representatives will be encouraged to meet local politicians.

Higginson's role is part of an overhaul of the union's structure.

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