GUSNA is important historically as it is the forerunner of the National Party of Scotland (NPS), which it played a key role in forming, which is itself a forerunner of the modern Scottish National Party (SNP).
GUSNA was thrown into prominence in the early 1950s when a group of its members (including Ian Hamilton who would later become a well known Queens Council) reclaimed the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1950. This caused a huge scandal amongst the British establishment and it wasn't until April 1951 before the stone was found by the authorities.
GUSNA has almost since its inception tried to play an active part in the life of Glasgow University with its members regularly being involved in the Students' Representative Council as well as regularly nominating candidates for the election of the Rectorship of the university.
Notable GUSNA Rectorial candidates of the past have included Robert Cunninghame-Graham and John MacCormick (who with Ian Hamilton as his campaign manager was successful in being elected). More recent candidates have been Pat Kane, Dorothy Grace-Elder, Ian Hamilton and the noted writer and artist Alasdair Gray.
GUSNA is a constituent member of the SNP Student Wing, the Federation of Student Nationalists (FSN) and played a leading role in the FSN's formation in the 1960s.