This week around 800 members of over 600 SUs across the country met in Brighton to vote on motions that demand everything from battling climate change to occupying the banks. Impressively this year all 16 motions relating to Union Development were discussed. One motion that passed, Motion 316, calls for BUCS & Sport England to “recognise competitive e-sports”.

NUS Conference

Compare those numbers to BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport), which has 170 university or college members and an indirect affiliation with NUS through sharing some SUs. Being involved with BUCS is a privilege, it’s not democracy.

The dictionary definition of sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Students from Northumbria want the NUS to petition BUCS to include eSports (think League of Legends, Counter Strike) despite there already being a national university league (The NUEL) already in place.

NUS Conference

A week after collecting the WhatUni Award for Best Clubs & Societies our VP: Societies Jenna Holmes jumped to defend traditional sport, on stage joking ‘if anyone was going to have an opinion on this, it would be us’.

According to their website, ‘BUCS support and promote the lifestyle and educational benefits to communities and individuals of taking part in sport, and provide outstanding opportunities to all students to engage in sport and related activity in higher education.’ Match that with something the EPSN president describes as “not a sport but a competition” and I think approaching BUCS about something that doesn’t even constitute ‘sport’ is a waste of time. They must already think the political student movement is ridiculous and this will be the nail in the coffin.

So why would students try and change the inherent nature that BUCS is built on to try incorporate an activity has been argued to encourage sedentary and anti-social behaviour amongst students?

The floor was not silent in their disapproval of this motion (mainly other Sports Unis) but we know those at NUS conference don’t in any way reflect a balanced demographic for ‘average students,’ so the motion passed. Where do we draw the line with how much we let NUS make decisions that affect the ‘average’ students that make up the majority of our campuses and yet make up the minority of conference?

Personally I have faith that BUCS will simply laugh this motion out of our lives, keeping sport in the physical reality rather than the virtual, but it begs the question – why do we even bother with the NUS if they’re passing motions over issues they have no power to change?

Should we stay in the NUS? If you have views to share, feel free to contact [email protected] and get involved with the discussion on twitter or in the comments below. 

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