Shakira Martin has been elected as the forthcoming NUS President, with a 56 per cent majority of votes against her opponents, Malia Bouattia and Tom Hardwood.
Martin, 28, is a black single mother of two from a working-class background.
Martin set out her manifesto pledges to the audience in an election speech, ranging from fighting against racism, to overcoming adversity and winning on education for representation.
In an interview with The Independent, Martin expressed that her inspiration to run for the election was generated “after speaking to students who said they felt increasingly disenfranchised and disconnected form the union.
“I want to put the NUS back into the hands of its membership and send the message to the heart of the government about what students want.”
As NUS Further Education Sector Vice President in her last term, Martin worked with Sir Vince Cable on the “Student Shaping Further Education” project, during which much discussion took place regarding prospective tuition rises resulting from Brexit.
In an article by The Independent, Martin expressed that alterations to government policies in further education could have “serious potential damage” to the young generation especially those from less advantaged backgrounds. She also insisted that there is a necessity for increased talks on further education, not exclusively on higher education.
According to The National Student, Martin said: “I am honoured and humbled to have been elected as NUS’ National President. I take this as a vote of trust that our members believe I can lead our national movement to be the fighting and campaigning organisation we need it to be, representing the breadth of our diverse membership.
“Further education made me who I am today and look forward to sharing stories of just how powerful all forms of education can be when we’re all given access to it. During my term in office I want to spend my time listening, learning and leading.”
Malia Bouattia, the NUS president for this past year, congratulated and appraised Martin in the Huffington Post, stating: “The fact that, faced with all those institutional obstacles and barriers, she could achieve what she has, is of itself an incredible story.
“It is a testament to how far our union has come, and what I wanted to achieve when I, when the Liberation campaigns in NUS, promised to break down barriers to participation, to put liberation at the heart of everything we do.”
Image: NUS UK