The Queen Margaret Union is in a rocky place, interest and engagement appear to be at an all time low and its continued existence does not seem to be guaranteed, with reports that it could face closure in the next three years. Nour El-Issa believes it is time for a radical change to the “structure and identity” of the union.
El-Issa believes the future of the QMU is for it to become a more explicitly politicised organisation, where students can come to the union and use it as a channel for campaigns and movements. Though vague about the details and how this would function in reality, his conviction that it will increase engagement with the union, and give it a unique selling point, rather than competing directly with the GUU is convincing.
Less convincing is the idea that the QMU could be a cultural hub on par with the likes of the CCA and the Art School, due to its geographical location in the West End. It seems that if geography was a factor the QMU wouldn’t be in its current state. He hopes to work closely with the future VP of Clubs and Societies to make this happen along with his plans to create a full time paid PR position within the QMU. Whether another paid position within the union is a case of needing to spend money to make money or simply throwing money at a problem which has deeper roots will remain to be seen. However, it does seem likely that a dedicated PR manager would be able to give the kind of focus to social media and awareness that the existing Events Coordinator cannot.
El-Issa has significant experience with the QMU and a deep love for it as an organisation. He also has a bold and radical vision for an institution desperately in need of such. Whether or not it will come up trumps is another matter, between his need to convince the rest of the board of his vision, and the actual implementation. As it stands the QMU has a lot on the line here, but also a lot to gain should El-Issa’s bold ideas succeed.