Well what a week it has been!
I’ve been sat around wondering how to make this week’s blog remotely interesting and I’ve struggled to say the least. I thought about an interpretive dance video but didn’t want to get headhunted by MTV; then considered a picture-story but remembered there was Guild policy around that. Great.
And then I thought about what had happened this week and thought perhaps a more serious blogpost might better suit the Zeitgeist. So sorry, no poems today!
“Here Comes the Riot Van and Sparks Excitement in the Boys”:
So, where to begin? The riots that caused such havoc in Birmingham over the earlier part of last week is an obvious area for me to cast a view upon I suppose. I’m still appalled that this could happen in what is supposed to be one of the world’s most developed nations – I never thought I’d see the day that Iran approaches the UN Security Council to intervene in what they’ve branded a British ‘Civil War’, but hey. I think there are lessons to be learned from the violence however – we can’t simply dismiss it as ‘mindless violence’ as while this may be accurate in some cases I truly doubt it’s the case with everyone at a time when taxpayers are getting considerably less for their money and those who don’t pay tax are getting benefits cut left right and centre. That’s by no means an excuse for the violence – particularly since 3 people died not far from our homes – but it is an observation. And just to clarify one more point on this topic, no Selly Oak was not ransacked although some kids tried to have a go at Aldi and some idiots wrecked the train station ticket machine. Now that part was probably mindless at least…
Accommodation Fees – Phase 1:
So, on to happier news (ish). I met with the University’s General Manager for Accommodation last week for the first time, planning to talk to her about, well, accommodation. I told her I had ‘reservations’ about the accommodation (see what I did there?) and we’ve agreed to work together to establish a long-term fees strategy to ensure that everyone can afford to study at Birmingham. However, this will have very little impact in the short term so there is perhaps more work to be done.
One thing that came out of this conversation is that there is very little room to manoeuvre when it comes to Halls Fees because every penny of income is accounted for and a significant portion of the rental income is being used to pay off debts of years gone by. Also Halls Fees are not subsidised by the central university pot and therefore have to cover all costs. This means therefore that to cut fees means to cut services which is some cases can mean cutting jobs/hours and that is an area I am very cautious to go into.
So this is indeed Phase 1 of a longer term project and I will do my best to keep you informed every step of the way! Please do get in touch if you have any questions, comments or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or @Guild_VPHCZuki on Twitter
Visit from Coventry Sabbs (‘Cuz we’re awesome and they know it clap your hands):
I spent all of Tuesday introducing the VP: Representation and VP: Communications Engagement Sabbatical Officers at the University of Coventry to the wonderful Guild of Students! They are interested in developing a Community Representation Strategy and because our Community Wardens and representation on community fora etc. is SO amazing they’ve decided to try and mimic us. BOOYA! Having said that we can still be better so don’t worry, I’m not going to become complacent!
FreshersFest – Setting the Standard of ‘Pretty Damn Good’ Since 2011:
Last week myself and Tim Lucas continued to set in motion the wheels of safety in the FreshersFest world. We now have a nearly completed implementation model which should mean it becomes the absolute stunner that we want it to be. However, we still have work to do and one of our biggest challenges is recruiting more stewards to make the event amazing – if you fancy revisiting your hall and introducing the new First Year cohort to the wonderful world of Birmingham then please apply to be a FreshersFest Steward by 22 August! It’ll be fun, enhance your CV, and give you the opportunity to take part in FreshersFest once again.
NEW GUILD WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT! Because there should never be an ‘H’ in ‘Website’:
On Thursday I spent the day chilling in Manchester on behalf of Vice-President: Democracy Resources, Hugo Sumner, helping the NUS with a strategy to develop our Guild website into something as beautiful as the students it serves. It honestly looks incredible and should be gracing your screens by the end of this academic year. It will literally digitise the Guild and could include swipe-card access to Fab in a few years time as well as a database that tracks the Guild events you attends and develops recommendations based on your taste as well as welfare services at your fingertips. Watch this space.
Basically it’s been a REALLY busy week (hence the late blog) and a lot has happened. Sorry this has been such a long read! I’ll try to keep it shorter in future And now, that part we’ve all been waiting for…
…Interesting Fact of the Week: The stones that lay beneath, between, and around railway sleepers/tracks are called ‘ballast.’ They prevent the track from moving outwards/downwards as a result of the pressure caused by a moving train. In other words they’re the lads (Courtesy of Samuel Lear)
Vice-President: Housing Community