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Southampton University’s Student Magazine ///



/ 10/ Who are the Missing Freshers? / 24 / FRESHERS’ 2012: What to Expect. / 31 / Why I Love Sport at University

ISSUE 2 OCT 2012

1 / WS / Editors ///



/ Editor / Ellie Sellwood


/ Deputy Editor / Jo Fisher / Graphic Designer / Bronwen Rees / Online Manager / Sam Whitehall / Imagery / Sasha Spaid, / Bryony Wellburn / Features / Andy Haywood / Amy Sandys / Science / Claire Critchley / Politics / Charlotte Harwood / Alexander Green / Winchester / Amy Harwood / Opinions / Samuel Gilonis / David Mendoza-Wolfson / Travel / Chris Clarke / Lifestyle / Emma Hobbs / Emma Chappell / International / Jack Kanani / Sport / Jack Winter / Richard Windsor / News / Tom Durham / Sera Berksoy / Pause / Sam Everard / Publicity / Luke Goodger / Front Cover by Hamish Dinsdale /

/ Get in touch... We want your letters to the Editor for page 2 in the next issue so send us your comments to / Be sure to head online to check out our regularly updated News section and Pause, our procrastination central. / New Pause logo designed by Simon May

/// Societies / WS / 2

Hey everyone, I’m Jade, your Societies Officer. The Bunfight now seems like a distant memory and lectures and assignments have well and truly kicked in! I hope that you have all been busy with welcome meetings and taster sessions. Whether it is something that you have done for years or something that you had never imagined doing before you came to university- societies are a great way to meet up with likeminded people and have some fun, so get stuck in! Over the last few months we have been developing the societies part of the SUSU website to make it easier for you to all get involved and find out what’s going on. If you haven’t already, check it out! Below is just a taster of what is going on over the next few weeks- everyone is welcome to all events so go and see what’s going on!. Look out for more details on our website or via Facebook Wednesday 24th October- Conservative association trip to London Parliament Thursday 25th October- The African-Caribbean Society is having a Party on the 25th of October at Junk to round up the celebrations of Black History Month. Saturday 27th October- Explore the UK in collaboration with other societies in The Bridge Saturday 27th October- Wessex Films joins up with Union films to show their latest Horror Films in the Union Cinema as part of the Halloween all- nighter Monday 5th November- Erasmus Society trip to Winchester to see the firework display Tuesday 6th, 13th and 20th November- Christian Union’s big issues 1pm in The Cube- Short talk and a free lunch Monday 12th November - AIM presents Frequency (their monthly live music event, showcasing local and student bands) Bar 2 SUSU Jade has recently created a Virtual Bunfight using photographs and leaflets from the day, it’s a big project which she hopes to take aspects of to improve the Societies part of the SUSU website. She has this to say about it, “the idea behind it is that if people missed the Bunfight they can easily access all the information they need to go to the society introductory meetings and get involved. It is also a clear way of showing what is out there and also recognising the amazing work that societies put in to the Bunfight” just go to to find your society or see what you missed.

3 / WS / Features ///

A KICK IN THE HALLS: Students paying increased tuition fees expect better / Amy Ashenden /


If you are paying more to be at university, do you deserve a better quality place to live? Do your Halls of Residence match your expectations when you sign up to a course that costs more than previous years?


t seems that increased tuition fees are not only driving up students’ expectations of teaching quality, but those of the standard of accommodation too. The £9000 cap on tuition fees, and a yearly fee of up to £39,000 for non-EU students, is causing students to question the quality of their Halls of Residence. And rightly so, as paying more for the university experience is creating demand for high quality accommodation to match, which it seems is not yet readily available. The UK has recently seen a huge rise in the influx of overseas students, particularly from outside the EU, including the number of Chinese students rising from 56,990 to 67,325 last year. In larger cities, international students can make up around 40% of university’s intakes. These students generally have higher spending power than British students and they are expecting top-notch accommodation to match their expensive university lifestyle. According to the Financial Times, the surge of overseas students applying to live and study here is motivating the

Chinese government to make a deal with Gingko Tree Investment the UK’s largest developer in student housing and buy a 40 per cent stake.

“paying five-star prices to come to Britain so many will expect five-star accommodation when they arrive.” Vita Student is another business, started up to tap into this market and meet student demands of better quality lodgings. Their website claims its success has ‘been driven by targeting Russell Group university cities and the high demand from international students.’ Their company offers “luxury student accommodation,” and self-contained apartments, each with a kitchen and en-suite bathroom “fully furnished to hotel-style standard.” Their director, Giles Beswick, says non-EU students are “paying five-star prices to come to Britain, so many will expect five-star accommodation when they arrive.” “Due to the fact that demand well outstrips supply, student

property across the UK has been, in many cases, sub-standard.” So, it seems that despite the global economic crisis, the student property market continues to boom. Beswick added: “Last year the majority of foreign students from outside the EU came from China, a country which now has well over one million millionaires. To tap into this market of new, high-paying foreign consumers, we need to provide accommodation which matches their high standard of expectation.” We spoke to Yumei Chua, who came from Malaysia to study at Southampton. Upon arrival, she was disappointed with her accommodation: “I’d expected WIFI instead of cable Internet connection; it is not very convenient. I seriously think that we need a kitchen smoke exhauster, and we should have washing machines and dryers at least in each block, because for students living in blocks far away it is very time consuming to bring stuff all the way to the laundry room.” She then added that she “picked the cheapest accommodation on hand, so there’s nothing out of expectation.”

Some students think that paying more for tuition fees should equate to better places to live as well as teaching and resources, but without actually paying higher Halls fees. I spoke to some students at the university who have found that their Halls of Residence do not meet their expectations, and in fact hoped for better in light of the increased fees which are, in some cases, almost triple those of previous years. Postgraduate Katie Arlow says: “As fees rise, the degrees may get better but standard of living certainly hasn’t.” She was highly disappointed to find “dust balls and cobwebs all over the place… My curtains are even broken. It is not okay to expect us to pay the extortionate amount of money we do when the accommodation is not even clean, let alone decent.” Jasmine Fudge, a Fresher paying the higher rate fees, agrees

the low quality accommodation she is faced with is “not what you expect when you are paying so much.” She added: “the fact we are paying £9000 a year now there are no excuses for things such as toilets and heating not to work.” It cannot be denied that a more costly degree will put extra pressure on students to enjoy their time at university, which includes Halls of Residence or private rented rooms. University life should be all students hope it will be, so they are less willing to put up with poor standards. We asked Fresher Alex Gledhill if he thinks paying less to study would make him more willing to be patient and accept problems, like dirtiness or broken furniture – he said “Yes, definitely!” However, some disagree, stating the increased costs apply to tuition fees only as Fresher Joe Buckingham says: “Is anyone

paying £9000 a year for accommodation? The £9000 is for tuition fees…complaining that you didn’t get decent housing when you paid for tuition would be a bit unfair.” Surge Radio held The Key Debate on Friday October 5 discussing higher tuition fees with a panel that included Ben Dowling from the Liberal Democrat Society. I asked: as students are paying higher fees, will they see an improvement in student accommodation and housing? His response: “money going into universities has been increasing continuously in the last decade, and with that, universities are being encouraged both by government and by outside bodies, to improve the accommodation that they provide. I would say that it is within their interest and the students’ interest that they do improve accommodation. I do see that happening in a number of universities across the country.” Students may not be paying an increased rate for where they are living, but some argue that forking out for a more costly university experience overall should mean having a luxurious place to live too. Whilst some may have previously been willing to accept poor standards on the basis of first-time independence, this may be about to change; applicants are being forced to pay out hefty sums for tuition which now results in an expectation of quality rooms to match.

/ Image by Marta Beltowska / Email contact:


Halloween is nearly here. The perfect excuse to dress as a slut or simple embarrass yourself. But with so much emphasis on looking the part, what is the real cost of the costume.


alloween is nearly here: the perfect excuse to dress outrageously and/or embarrass yourself. But, with so much emphasis on looking the part, what is the real cost of the costume? The fancy dress business is a booming one. With Morphsuits and Onesies becoming a student necessity, it’s no wonder that holidays, socials and birthdays tend to involve a costume theme. In America, it was estimated that last year alone $2.5 billion was spent on Halloween costumes. The Morphsuit company AFG Media has experienced a growth of 300% year on year and the retail party goods business is estimated to be worth $10 billion per annum with Halloween worth $6 billion! So, what is the best way to go about finding the perfect outfit?

“I’m not spending £25 on something I’ll only wear once!” The pre-prepared costume. Easy, convenient and often very professional looking. Most people I spoke to appreciated the simplicity, but all of them commented on the prices. Celebrities like Heidi Klum may be able to spend thousands of

pounds on their Halloween gear, but on a student budget? One 2nd year student said: “I’m not spending £25 on something I’ll only wear once!” Portswood economics dictates that a £25 costume is the equivalent of nearly 17 triples. Even re-using the costume to get your money’s worth can be seen as a cop-out and it is very difficult to use a Dracula outfit for any other theme. A simple Grecian toga can set you back about £15 and some reach more than £50. Another concern is size; one student told me “they never fit properly and you end up looking stupid”. After spending all your wonga on a nurse costume, you don’t want to have to constantly tuck in baggy bits or suffocate if it’s too tight. Who are these costumes made for? It is very rarely one size fits all. The D.I.Y. costume. These allow for much more creativity and originality; there are very few shops where you will find costumes for a tap faucet or a wristwatch. “It’s much better to make it yourself. I’ve been to parties where loads of girls have the same cat outfit!” From personal experience, I’ve found that my costume visions tend to result in wasted time

and money and end up looking bad. One English student revealed she spent three days sewing together an elf outfit. Obviously this can be very satisfying, as students always welcome procrastination, but with lectures and other activities, finding the time to get down to Primani can be difficult. However, when it pays off, the results can be legendary. Ultimately, the most important thing is the event, yet there is definitely pressure to don our thinking caps and become something amazing or risk ridicule and awkwardness. Sometimes fancy dress can become more of a chore than a laugh! By the end of the night, no one will worry if you’re in a hand knitted ‘Where’s Wally’ jumper or a soggy cardboard box. Just make sure you are comfortable with what you wear and most importantly have a great time with it. / Image by Rebecca Hopkinson / Email contact:

7 / WS / Politics ///

THE US ELECTIONS 2012: The Blagger’s Guide

/ Alexander Green / ///

In less than three weeks, the citizens of the world’s most powerful state will go the polls to vote for the next President of the United States; a decision that could affect everyone one of us; even you! Here’s a snapshot of everything you’ll need to know... The Basics Despite the existence of other parties and candidates, the US electoral system is essentially a two-party system with the Democratic Party, led by Barack Obama and the Republican party, led by Mitt Romney. Both parties, who are situated on the centre-right of the political spectrum, will be locking horns for the White House as well as for control of the House of Representative and Senate with the Congressional elections. How It Works The US presidential election uses an system known as the Electoral College. This is where each state is given a set number of votes, which is largely proportional to each state’s population size; large states, such as California and Texas, get a lot of votes – 55 and 36 respectively – whilst smaller states, such as Rhode Island, get a small amount with each state having a minimum of three electors. In almost all states, apart from Maine and Nebraska, there is a winner-takes-all-system. This means, for example, that if the majority of districts in California vote for Obama, all 55 Electoral College votes will go to him. Overall, the vote is carried out by a total of 538 elec-

tors; a candidate has to achieve a majority - over 270 Electoral College votes - in order to win the presidency. The Swing States In the US, it is common to hear of ‘blue’ (Democratic) and ‘red’ (Republican) states; these are states that traditionally vote for a certain party. As a rule, the democratic strongholds are coastal and urban-populated states whilst the red states are the more rural states in the Mid-West and South. All in all, the Democrats are guaranteed 186 votes through this with the Republicans ahead on 191. Consequently, only a minority of the 200 million eligible voters will actually decide the election result, as, in reality, only 161 votes are up for grabs. These are those in the unpredictable swing states which have no certain pattern of voting. Ohio is a key example - having voted Republicans in 2000 and 2004 and with the Democrats in 2008. In fact, Ohio has picked the winning candidate every election since 1960. These ‘purple’ states electoral are the votes that will win or lose a candidate the election and, thus, is where most campaigning is based.

An example of this was seen in 2000, where the final result of the election - in which George W. Bush won beating Al Gore came down to a mere 540 votes in Florida. The Economy, Stupid! Taxes, healthcare, foreign affairs, energy security, immigration; there is a wide variety of issues that will make an appearance during the US election campaign trail. However, the issue that will dominant is the economy. Over 80% of voters rate it as the matter that is most important to them; unsurprising considering the US’s limping economic recovery, stagnant housing market, growing federal debt and a third of people still worried about unemployment. And finally, the US Presidential and Congressional Elections will be held on Tuesday 6th November.

/ Image by Diogo Lopes / For more US election coverage, check out our website www. Email contact:

OUR OBAMA Four years ago, Obama entered the White House on a wave of optimism and liberal promises. A term later and it’s a different story. In reality Obama has achieved little; domestically, it is only ‘Obamacare’ that has been a true step forward. On foreign policy, the President has also failed. He may be bringing Afghanistan to a close and ended the war in Iraq, but much of Bush’s post-9/11 security structure still exists. Guantánamo Bay remains very much open and he has sextupled the number of drone attacks of the Bush administration. The War On Terror is still alive, just on a far more secretive level. It is the economy, however, which is most likely to cause his downfall with the US economic recovery the feeblest in the post-


war era. Nonetheless, some feel that Obama has done well to stop the economic storm of his first year in office; the housing market looks on the mend and unemployment recently dipped below 8%. Many also blame Bush for the economic mess. The warning bells should still be ringing though; one-term presidents, George Bush Sr. and Jimmy Carter, were both ousted after a poor economic situation. Yet, Obama retains one element that, for Romney seems out of reach. In the era of PR politics, Obama is the dream candidate with a personality of sophistication, charisma and suaveness that cannot be taught; dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, slowjamming with Jimmy Fallon, singing Al Green Obama is Mr. Cool. It may be this that pulls him through in the end. It’s not been an easy ride for Romney; the clear Republican frontrunner, it took months of campaigning to throw off

his challengers. Once chosen, Romney was accused of being out-of-touch with the American public; he made $10,000 bets whilst in a debate as well as accuse 47% of the US public of believing they are “victims”. Whether he is statesman-like has also been tested with a series of tactless gaffes overseas. He offended Britain by stating London wasn’t ready for the Olympics then blamed the economic difference between Israel and Palestine on “culture.” Diplomacy, it seems, is not his thing. This may not backfire; the recent killing in Benghazi has been used as a tool to attack Obama’s “weak” overseas stance. Obama may point to his killing of Osama Bin Laden as proof otherwise; yet, as an unapologetic believer in American exceptionalism, Romney is keen for a stronger global showing of US power. Moreover Romney’s position has been greatly enhanced by his showings in the presidential debate; presidential being the optimum word with Romney now sounding the part as much as looks it. Nevertheless despite his vast business experience Romney has yet to convince the US population that his plan of tax cuts and deregulation is a creditable alternative to turning around the economy. Obama may not be working economic miracles but most believe Romney won’t be able to either. If he can convince the US voters that he can though, it will be a Mormon occupying the oval office next year.



With the elections of the newly created post of a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) approaching, all eyes are turning to our local candidates. However, fears are emerging that this post will lead to party politics interfering in police matters. Taking a look at Hampshire’s candidates, this is easy to understand.


n Thursday, November 15 2012 Hampshire will have 6 candidates competing for the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) role. This new position will see successful candidates managing budgets, appointing chief constables and establishing priorities for the police force in their areas. The big question is: just how political will this position bcome? Each of the 3 main political parties has put forward a candidate for the Hampshire PCC position. Michael Mates is running from the Conservatives, Jacqui Rayment from Labour and David Goodall for the Liberal Democrats. In addition to this, Stephen West is running as a UKIP candidate. All of these candidates come from political backgrounds, for example Mates was an MP for East Hampshire from 1974 to 2010

and West was previously a Conservative councillor before defecting to UKIP in September 2012. Ex-Conservative councillor Simon Hayes is running as an independent and Don Jerrard is running for the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party. Jerrard remains the only candidate for Hampshire without a professional political background. Simon Hayes, who is running as an independent, agrees that policing and politics must remain separate, stating “I’m standing as an independent candidate because I believe party politics must be kept out of policing”. Hayes is one of many that believe that party politics should not interfere in the PCCs’ role of providing accountability to the public for policing in their area. It seems that politicians are indeed dominating the race-

for PCC positions, not just in Hampshire, but throughout the 41 areas where elections are being held. But why is this a problem? Firstly, the job of the police force is to prevent crime and to keep the peace, while acting impartially and without danger of political bias. Additionally, one of the PCCs’ roles will be accountability to the public, as a politician this could be impeded as they would also remain accountable to their political party. With the possibility that politicians, or even former politicians, may soon be taking responsibility for policing in many areas around England and Wales, the distinction between party politics and the police force may become worryingly blurred. Additionally, as far back as March, Lib Dem MP Tom Brake expressed his concern over the fact that a number of politicians or ex-politicians had been putting themselves forward for the PCC position. It was hoped that many more independent candidates would also stand however in Hampshire, as in many other areas, four out of six candidates are affiliated with the three main political parties, as well as UKIP. Election takes place on Thursday, November 15 2012.

Email contact: / Image by Helen Scibilia /

/// MENTAL HEALTH As part of its continuing commitment to student welfare, SUSU hosted a series of events in accordance with World Mental Health Awareness Week from October 8-15. From free tea sessions to debates about stigma, film screenings and a “postsecret” campaign, there were many events on offer which increased mental health related wellbeing and awareness amongst students. If you missed any of the events, don’t worry, there are plenty more ways you can become involved; many of the events featured for MHAW are part of wider schemes.


t’s important to state that SUSU’s Mental Health campaigns and events are not exclusive to students with experience of mental health diagnoses only. In fact, the emphasis is often put on the mental ‘wealth’ of all students; everybody has mental health that can be adversely affected by the stresses of university and not only is it important that there is support in place for anybody who may be suffering, but wellbeing can be improved by being part of a like-minded community actively striving towards a common goal. SUSU’s Mental Health awareness campaigns are open to anybody who wants to get involved, and with recent anti-stigma successes in Parliament and the Media, there’s never been a more exciting or relevant time. The most simple and immediate way to improve your shortterm wellbeing is to stop what you’re doing, make a cup of tea and take time out. All students are welcome to attend ‘Tea and Talk,’ in Pod 1 of the Union Building (the big space with beanbags) between 14:00-16:00 on the first Wednesday of every month. Tea and Talk is a new initiative facilitated by Mental Wealth and Southampton Tea Party Society, which creates a safe, non-judgmental space

for students to talk about their mental health over free cups of tea provided by a wonderful, ethical and charitable tea company, Teapigs. It’s important that students feel they have a space where they can speak without fear of stigma, but there’s no pressure to stick to this topic of discussion; people can just come to chat about random things and have a cup of tea if they like, whatever enables them to leave the event with an improved sense of wellbeing. Mental Wealth Southampton is part of a nationwide project, started to increase awareness of mental health across UK campuses. ‘Mental Health’ is normally associated with the idea of illness and negative experience; Mental Wealth moves away from this black and white thinking, promoting ways we can all look after ourselves better. More specific, diagnosis related campaigns have been launched over the summer. OCD Talk is a new community which facilitates discussion and awareness amongst students about the misunderstood condition OCD, as well as providing a support community for students. The group aims to break the isolation that often accom-

panies mental health diagnoses and provides a forum to discuss and develop healthy coping strategies, although roles as facilitators within the group will be open to any student at the University, not just those with a diagnosis. The importance of an open, honest, sustained discussion about mental health at Southampton is paramount and student George Pink, who has admirably published an e-book about his experience with anxiety, had this to say about coping with mental health issues whilst at university: “Always being a person of compulsive nature and wanting to do well, university was no exception to this. I wanted to do well in my studies, as much as we protest that all we need is a pass, I think that we all secretly want to do the best we can. Pressures also mounted in my life including first adult experiences of relationships, again wanting them to succeed. A friend once said to me that I would burn myself out and in the end maybe he was right. Everything became too much and something triggered in me, my mind could no longer relax; I was in a constant state of fear, over time building me into


such a mess. “Fortunately being a student isn’t just handy when visiting the cinema; open to me at university was a world of help that was easily accessible and free to boot. Visiting the centre and completing a form about why I was there and what I thought I needed but following my first

session I am sure the counselor knew what was happening in my life. I had a place that I could go to weekly and talk. At first the talking doesn’t come easy and the questions sometimes seem abstract or hard to answer. Also questions I knew were coming, which would be personally difficult for me, were normally pre-

/ Megan Sherman /

ceded by a small chuckle.” Anybody experiencing mental distress is encouraged to contact First Support immediately at 02380 597488 (27488 internal) or firstsupport@soton. during office hours only, or 02380 592811 (22811 internal) outside of office hours. / Image by Laura Wakeford /

FAIR An Alternative to Fees / David Mendoza-Wolfson /


versity with that of the student, so encouraging the academics to ensure the education they receive has real value for the long term. Finally, it should reduce the burden on the taxpayer, so the government won’t be able to claim that students are just asking for a hand-out.

I had the privilege of working on a scheme called FAIR – “Funding with Affordable Income-based Repayments. It is a radical alternative to the conventional methods for funding higher education. I chose to work on it because, having read about it and re-considered my previous views; I decided that it is the best way to fund students through university. FAIR is progressive and debt free, and it aligns the interests of the uni-

The way it works is that, when a student decides to offer a place on a degree level course, they have the option either to pay (upfront or by taking out a loan) or they can sign a FAIR “contract”. The terms of the FAIR contract, which are set by government and are identical regardless of the age of the student or the course or university, stipulate that in exchange for a fully paid for university education, the student will pay back to the university a fixed percentage of their salary for a fixed period of time while they are working . The university can either hold onto their FAIR contracts, or they can offer them for sale to investors such as pension funds, so that they get immediate payment even though the graduate payments will be well into the future. This means that the better a university is, the more pension funds will pay for its FAIR contracts and so it is rewarded for doing a good job and can expand. This will improve how universities treat their graduates, and they will endeavour far

The current system is unfair and unfit for purpose. Here’s a good alternative. wo years ago, when the bill was passed to increase fees to a minimum of £6000 a year for state Universities in England, I was the Treasurer of the Conservative Society (I’m now Chairman). I am not proud to tell you that I cheered as I heard the response. I was a supporter of the bill because I saw it as the best way of funding higher education. I knew that debt was bad, but I saw no better system of paying for university, so I believed that the student should have to pay for their education themselves. However, I was wrong to think that, and fortunately over the summer I was able to help work on a scheme which proposes an alternative way to pay for a degree.


harder to get their alumni top jobs in order to maximise their appeal to more students and ‘investors’ alike. These pension schemes have billions of pounds to invest in low risk schemes such as FAIR, whilst students would be doing a social good by helping to provide for the elderly. It’s the perfect intergenerational transfer. It would also mean that a large part of university funding would no longer need to go through government, saving taxpayers a lot of money. FAIR would allow universities to be free of red tape (no more ridiculous fines for accepting ‘too many’ people) and they would try to find ways to make themselves even more appealing. As far as I see it, FAIR has the positives of both the debt scheme and the graduate tax without having the negatives of either.

“Those who want to go to university should be able to and should not worry about money” There are two mainstream views for how university should be funded. The first and most widely implemented is the fees system. Realistically this system is a debt based system. It relies on student loans to help students

/// Opinion / WS / 14

fund their way through university, putting them in considerable debt (the majority of Freshers reading this will leave the university with around £36,000 of debt) without certainty of jobs. The system does not provide students with any more than a service; once the university has collected money it has no incentive to keep spending that on its graduates and will likely only contact them in the future for alumni donations. As well as this, the payments system is not progressive. The current system has payment bands, and whilst low income earners are further subsidised by the government, middle and high taxpayers pay the same amount of money. This means that middle income earners feel the most ‘pain’ as it is they who pay the highest percentage of their earnings back. This system is not fair for these people, and it is not fair for any graduates as it burdens them to tens of thousands of pounds of debt without truly helping them achieve their potential. The other system is the graduate tax. It is positive in that only graduates pay for their education. However as attractive as the idea of a “free” education seems, somebody must pay, the academics aren’t going to work for nothing. If it’s not just graduates paying, it must mean nongraduates, who are generally poorer, subsidising graduates who are generally richer. This is not easy to justify. Although a graduate tax like FAIR avoids debt, it leaves graduates at the idea of a government who could increase the tax rate in the future. While a student could sign up when the

tax is, for example, 9% for 20 years, a new government could change it a few years later to, say, 20% for 30 years. FAIR contracts, on the other hand, are contracts - and once both sides (student and the university) have signed, the terms are fixed. Obviously government could introduce new terms for a new set of students, but all students would know the terms that could face them when they signed up and once signed the terms could not be changed.

“FAIR has the positives of the debt scheme and the graduate tax with the negatives of neither” It is my belief that those who want to go to university should be able to, and should not worry about money. The current scheme clearly puts off those from lower-income backgrounds and that is not what education should be about. Nor should the payment for higher education be as uncertain as it would be under a graduate tax. I believe that we should support that idea of FAIR, because it really is a fair deal for future students. It seems appalling to me that at the same time as lecturing everyone on how awful debt is, we are simultaneously straddling future generations with thousands of pounds of it. Student surveys show that people feel as though they are getting less for their money now. I think that people should pay for what they get from university, and FAIR is a good way to measure that ‘value added’. You pay back a fair amount of what

you earned. If we are looking for progressive ways to fund higher education in the future we must not simply oppose the current system but we must also back a viable alternative. That alternative is not lower fees and it is not a graduate tax. If you ask me, that alternative is FAIR. / Image by Joanne Fisher / Have your say....

Email contact:

15 / WS / Lifestyle ///

A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS / Emma Chappell / ///

Hannah Pinchin, a post-doctorate research fellow at Southampton University, has swapped petri dishes for the mixing bowl in her creation of Hannah Banana Bakery, which sells gorgeous vegan and gluten-free culinary delights to the masses. Not long after the bakery’s first birthday, the Wessex Scene caught up with Hannah on a short break from her -day week to talk business, baking and failed maca-


What have you learnt from your year and a bit running a business?

What would you say to a student who wanted to set up their own business?

I had just finished my PhD in microbiology at Portsmouth and I couldn’t get a job. I had been a vegan for 11 years and I had constantly struggled to satisfy my sweet tooth. You have to go to Brighton or London to find some vegan baking and even then the flavours only go as far as chocolate and vanilla. I was already doing a cake course in the evenings at Eastleigh College and I just decided to solve this problem myself and set up a bakery.

It is a lot harder than I expected. I work a 7-day week and average 5 hours sleep per night. I currently have a month’s waiting list and I have to turn down 6 or 7 orders per day. I juggle my day job and baking in the mornings and evenings. The actual baking is the easy part; I never considered initially all my costs and I was losing money at first and couldn’t work out why. From sourcing ingredients to paying for the cake cases – which I now know cost me 4p each – there is so much to factor in. I just wasn’t business minded and didn’t have a real plan.

Think ahead, know your prices. Make sure you consider all the costs before you commit. There is so much official work that needs to be done; I had to get a food hygiene certificate, label my food in a particular way and have the health inspector visit my premises. Always buy in bulk too - I now buy vanilla essence in litres! The main thing is to know the hidden costs and be prepared to stick to your prices. People will always undercut you and you’d be surprised how many X factor sob stories you hear in an attempt to wangle a deal but you need to ensure you can make money.

i Hannah! Can you tell us about what you were doing before your bakery? What was it that inspired you to turn your passion into a business?

What is the best cake you’ve ever made? I think my sandcastle. I made the turrets individually and crumbled digestives as the sand. Although I was also pretty happy with my first ever tiered wedding cake. I had so many sleepless nights about that. What do you think sets Hannah Banana Bakery apart from the wealth of cupcake companies around? I am dedicated to creating new flavours for vegans and a gluten free diet. Most bakers who offer gluten-free products just use the mixes you can buy which taste horrible. I spent about a year experimenting with 11 different flours to get a taste that’s amazing. I visit Gluten-Free Fayres and recently went to America to scout out more good products to use. I almost exceeded my baggage allowance on the way home! Everyone deserves to have the best cakes; those on special diets shouldn’t have 2nd best. What is your best baking tip for our readers? Now on to baking - when did it become a hobby? I have baked all my life because my Mum always did. When I became vegan I couldn’t find anything to eat and this encouraged me to experiment and begin to ‘veganise’ all the classic desserts. I’ve done a banoffee pie and bubblegum flavour cupcakes – there are no limits really.

Get a proper mixer. It doesn’t need to be expensive but the results will be so much better than doing it by hand. Everything is so much fluffier! In baking, the tools are the most important thing, everything else you can just about get away with! What was your food of choice as a student? I wasn’t a cake maker at university – I couldn’t really afford it. I cooked all my food from scratch

and always visited the farmers’ markets for the best produce. If they get to know you it is also easy to get a better deal. I wish I could’ve baked more but, then again, with housemates yummy food has a tendency to go missing! What are your plans for the future of Hannah Banana Bakery? I can’t say too much but it will be bigger and better next year. I would love to bring my cakes to Southampton because I received great feedback the one time I had a stall. Unfortunately, the Muffin Lady has the market slot. It is so hard at Southampton University to get any vegan or gluten-free food. I can’t be the only one suffering – I don’t want rabbit food; there is so much we could eat but it’s not offered. I am hoping to get in contact with the food outlets though and do something about it. I am also determined to crack macaroons. I have managed to ‘veganise’ everything else but they’ve been my nemesis. I will do it though, that is a real aim! / Image by Sasha Spaid / / Image by Laura Wakeford / To find out more about Hannah Banana Bakery visit her website: Or find her on facebook:

Email contact:

S WE AT, VAN I TY A ND A DO S E O F N O C ONFID E NC E / Emma Hobbs / ///

I don’t know how they do it, I really don’t. The number of people I saw in the gym this week that did not break a single bead of sweat was annoying, to say the least. Not just because of the fact that when I go to the gym it’s like a tidal wave of sweat, tears and misery all rolled into one. It is because of the unwelcome, growing feeling that one’s appearance must look immaculate whilst ironically trying to improve said appearance.


he number of people I saw in the gym this week that did not break a single bead of sweat was annoying, to say the least. Not just because of the fact that when I go to the gym it’s a tidal wave of sweat, tears and misery all rolled into one. It is because of the unwelcome, growing feeling that one’s appearance must now be immaculate. The gym is an odd entity. From the outside, it appears harmless; a tool to be used when you want to raise your confidence and get a better quality of life. Many go through life having had quite pleasant outcomes from exercising in such establishments. However, since joining the gym at university, I have come to realise just how vain and shallow gyms can be.

“The gym is now a place where people feel uncomfortable.” Since the refurbishment at the Jubilee Sports Centre in Southampton, not only have cardio machines moved to right in front of the weights section,

but more mirrors have also appeared. Now personally, I don’t want to look at a puffy, red faced version of myself whilst I fail at the cross-trainer. But perhaps this is the reason that so many find gyms intimidating. Students who regularly use the gym had this to say: Do you find people attractive at the gym? Second year Politics student, Male: “Most of the time, I don’t find them attractive. I’d prefer to see a girl actually using the gym properly than just strutting about.” Second year History student, Female: “I always wait to tie my hair up after I’ve got on the machine and take it down after before going back to the changing room, in an attempt to look a tiny bit more attractive” Should women find the need to wear make-up at the gym? Third year History student, Male: “Sweat lines and runny mascara have got to be two of the least attractive things a man can see. Its far better to go fresh faced and concentrate on yourself, not anyone else.” Second year Nursing student, Female : “I wouldn’t wear a lot of make-up as it’s only going to

come off in the shower afterwards anyway, but I wouldn’t go without any on.” Is there a pressure to look good at the gym? Second year Biomedical Sciences student: “Yes there is, you want to look awesome in front of someone you find attractive. Plus it’s also a masculinity thing – “I’m stronger than you” kind of thing.” Second year Nursing student, Female: “I feel conscious when working out that I’m sweating too much and that guys will think it’s really unattractive.” Third year History student, Male: “It’s easy to feel intimidated, especially as a guy, working in the weights section. But to be honest everyone is friendlier than you expect. You just have to get over that initial apprehension.” Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come: that the gym will become a place of sweat and red faces once more. / Image by Marta Beltowska / Email contact: Facebook: Wessex Scene Lifestyle Writers 2012/2013

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STOPTOBER: Saving The Planet and Yourself

/ Audrey Ryan /


It’s Stoptober - the month where smokers in the UK attempt to quit for at least 28 days. Smokers aim to quit for many reasons for their families, themselves and as this article shows to help the environment too.


t’s Stoptober, a 28 day chal lenge to the 8 million UK smokers to quit smoking ‘en masse’ for the month of October. In 1974, almost half the UK population smoked compared to 20% of men and 21% of women today. Of these, approximately 69% want to quit completely. Smokers who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to quit successfully. Not many smokers consider that one tree is cut down for every 300 cigarettes, or that the land requirement for tobacco farming accounts for the deforestation of 20,000 acres in the Philippines alone. This results in reduced biodiversity and habitats are damaged and destroyed, with intensive monoculture soil nutrients become depleted. Eventually, the associated buildup of parasites and soil degradation of the farm land deems the soil unsuitable for farming and the farmers move on to restart the process of environmental devastation elsewhere, leaving the initial area virtually devoid of life. Cigarette butt littering has a more local environmental im-

pact. The white fibres in cigarette filters are 95% cellulose acetate, a form of plastic which takes between 18 months to 10 years to degrade depending on the environmental conditions. The smoker may be partially protected of some toxins by the filters during smoking, but these stubs are the most common forms of plastic littler worldwide. Toxins which remain on the filter leak into water systems, endangering marine life. Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals; 200 of which are poisonous and over 50 are carcinogenic. With each inhalation of cigarette smoke, the superhot core releases metals including arsenic and toxins such as formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide. The major negative biological impacts of smoking on both the smoker and those exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) are well known. In brief, cigarette smoke contains binding tar (causes lung cancer), nicotine (addictive) and carbon monoxide (causes heart disease); the World Health Organisations states that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.

Neurobiological research suggests a smoker’s brain develops additional nicotine binding receptors to accommodate the large dose of nicotine inhaled. These stimulate withdrawal cravings when nicotine levels fall. The receptors can take 6-12 weeks after a former smoker has quit for their brain to match that of a non-smoker and it is during this time that the risk of relapse is high. Dopamine depletion in the neurochemical system has been linked to moodiness and lethargy, amongst other things. It is hoped that those who quit as part of ‘Stoptober’ can start a mass movement of positive peer support inspiring other smokers to quit successfully. For the two-thirds of smokers that light that first cigarette before the age of 18, it can take less than two weeks to establish a tobacco addiction. The UK population of smokers is falling but worldwide the population this number is rising, which could leave a mammoth global footprint affecting the long term health of the planet and its inhabitants. / Image by Amy Harwood / Email contact:

19 / WS / Science and Enviroment ///



This September DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) fought public and scientific opposition to allow a pilot cull of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire. Here Helen Kitley looks at the science, opposition and alternatives to the badger cull.


t’s hardly surprising people have an emotional attachment to badgers, considering the popular culture of our childhood. Wise in The Wind in the Willows, the bumbling best friend in The Animals of Farthing Wood and the mischievous sidekick in Bodger and Badger, our perception of the animal is dripping with nostalgia. But to farmers it’s the protagonist in their battle against the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) to their cattle. Incidences of bTB in British cows have increased since the 1980s, costing UK Farms £100m in 2010 alone. In September this year, despite fierce opposition and an appeal to the High Court DEFRA licensed two pilot culls, allowing the controlled shooting of badgers in areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire. This decision has thrown up fierce opposition, with activists threatening to disrupt the shootings, farmers and supermarkets disassociating themselves from the scheme and naturalists slamming the science behind the cull as flawed and inconclusive. BBC Wildlife Broadcaster Simon King tweeted ‘culling badgers offers no lasting or substantial reduction in bTB.’

King reminds us the study used to justify the cull (The Randomised Badger Culling Trial) concluded only minimal benefits, reducing bTB by just 16% over nine years within a 150sq km area. Evidence shows that culls could be counter-productive if surviving badgers flee the shooting to surrounding areas, contaminating previously uninfected sets. DEFRA claims the long-term benefits in the reduction of bTB outweigh this short-term drawback, because river and motorway boundaries prevent the effect lasting longer than 12-18 months. Shropshire Wildlife Trust is carrying out an alternative scheme to vaccinate badgers over 5 years, but the scheme is costly. Each vaccine costs £20 and lasts a year with every badger having to be caught to become immunised and with no effect on already infected animals. A cattle vaccine is a potential solution, but scientists have as of yet failed to develop one. DEFRA are investing £15.5m into this research and are looking into an oral vaccine for badgers, but both will take several years. With TB spreading rapidly and

vaccinations still being tested, isn’t the cull better than nothing? Perhaps not. The RBCT also found that the incidence and geographical spread of bTB could be reversed by vigilant implementation of cattle-based control measures alone. A recent report from the European Commission suggests widespread failure of farmers to adhere to biosecurity measures, consequently naturalists are arguing that badgers are being used as a scapegoat. Rather than culling, they suggest rapid isolation, removal of the infected cattle and thorough disinfecting of water troughs. Soton University’s Ecology professor, Dr C. Patrick Doncaster, opposes the cull. ‘I am not in favour of culling when scientific evidence has demonstrated its fallibility and other alternatives are available. I read the government’s decision as a political move with the short-term motive of garnering the rural vote, which will have damaging longterm consequences for England’s wildlife.’’ / Image by Katie Featherstone / Email contact:

BERLIN ON A BUDGET: Why city breaks don’t have to be expensive. / Amy Sandys/


At 5am on a Sunday morning, along with my best friend and a hand-luggage sized suitcase, I left to prepare for a cheap, cheerful and oh so charming city break to Berlin, capital of Germany.


t 5am on a Sunday morning, along with my best friend and one small suitcase, I left for a cheap, cheerful and oh-so-charming city break to Germany’s capital, Berlin. After a ‘summer’ of British weather and full time employment, I was more than ready for our four day adventure. Planned since May, we had plenty of time to build our excitement - as well as being safe in the knowledge that we couldn’t have paid much less for our flights if we’d tried. So, tip number one: book in

advance. Once we decided to go away, we went straight to easyJet. At only £40 for an outward flight and £35 for the return trip, it was far less extravagant than imagined, and despite the risk of delays and inevitably rubbish timing, catching a train cost a lot more than expected. After grabbing an early morning bacon sandwich and snoozing through the flight, we navigated our way through Berlin’s metro with surprisingly little hassle. Tip number two: hostels are fantastic.  Ours was next to Alexanderplatz, on the border

of old East and West Berlin. The location was ideal; we were 20 minutes’ walk from the centre and the atmosphere was immensely student-friendly. After checking into our €22 a night room and eating a huge box of noodles (admittedly not very German of us), we headed for the impressive architecture and cultural extravagance of Berlin. Tip number three: book a city break for when the school term has started. We travelled at the beginning of September, when European children are

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back at school and British families are preparing for the new term. Consequently, the transport was never that busy, the pavements never too crowded and the attractions of Berlin never overly full of families. And, considering they were all either free or really cheap, the tourist hotspots were hugely accessible and easy to get around. Tip number four? Go somewhere that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for entrance. During our visit, we managed the Reichstag (German parliament), the Brandenburg Gate,

Potsdamer Platz, the East Side Gallery and at least two museums for free. The beautiful synagogue, a GDR museum and the metro to the East Side Gallery, came to only €8 altogether. Lots of Berlin’s attractions are outside; simply by walking around, you can experience the culture and history for free! Berlin’s eateries reflect the city’s immense diversity. We treated ourselves to a traditional German dish, an array of tapas and a carbonara from the train station (we were in a rush, but it was actually really nice). Altogether,

these meals only cost about €27; evidently, the cost of food in Berlin wasn’t an issue. However, drinks (alcoholic or otherwise), breakfast in the hostel and the occasional mid-afternoon cake all add up if you’re not careful. Visiting a popular city CAN be done with minimum hassle and expenditure, whilst still being one of the best experiences ever.  Follow the tips, shop around early and choose a good hostel and you’re guaranteed to have a fabulous, (virtually) hassle-free experience! Email contact: / Photograph by Amy Sandys /

/ Jack Kanani /

Majestic scenes of inspiring dances, soulful music and jocular comedy ensure that we are already immersed in the rich cultural celebration of Black History Month. With events having started on the 7th September and concluding at the end of October, Southampton Council has ensured a variety of events are scheduled, providing the community with the opportunity and accessibility to get involved.


lack History Month origi nated in America where historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History declared a “Negro History Week”. With the recognition of interest and growth in popularity, the period of a week was extended to a month, which was eventually recognised by the US government in 1976 and began being celebrated in the UK in 1987. After the creation phase, societies in America began to change, developing more interest from an educational aspect as well as assisting to break down remaining personal ethnic stigma and persuasions that individuals developed through socialisation.

Southampton has been heavily involved with Black History Month since its introduction in 2005, with popularity soaring over the last five years, the event has become an integral part of Jayanti Shah’s event calendar. The Event Coordinator for Southampton Council explains that “The event is about unwritten history, it is about clearly enlarging and increasing selfesteem, especially young people, but all our population.” – Jayanti Shah (Southampton Council Event Coordinator). The history of Afro-Caribbean heritage in Southampton can be dated as far back as the 16th century and has helped provide a strong staple of multicultural diversity that the city is proud of today. Southampton Council hope the event will continue to promote knowledge of black history, providing any necessary information and ensuring black cultural heritage is cemented as a part of our local community and national culture.

“The event is about unwritten history, it is about clearly enlarging and increasing self-esteem, especially young people, but all our population” The University of Southampton Jayanti Shah.

are staging a lot of events on their campus’, providing lecture

rooms and concert halls in order to accommodate the events, utilising an effective platform for people to come and enjoy the experience. Without the help from the university and the universities cultural society ACS (Afro-Caribbean Society) the events would have proved more costly and difficult to organise. Last year, the Black History Month activities that were celebrated at the University of Southampton took place at Avenue campus and were hosted by the Faculty of Humanities. They were organized in partnership with Dr. Godfrey Brandt, Executive Director of Diverse Arts and Artists Community Association and Dr. William May and were immensely successful. SUSU is, as ever, excited about the progression of diversity and the opportunities and experiences that BHM can offer to students in the local area. Within a great atmosphere, the inspiration of both Chloe Green (SUSU VP Communities and Welfare) and the desires of ACS, as well as the shared aspirations of the University of

Southampton for diversity – it is clear to see that things will only get better, especially with the incrementation of the Valuing Diversity Policy that was updated in 2011. However it is important not to focus on this event in its singularity as Chloe explains: “Black History Month is such an excellent celebration of culture and a reminder of the long way we still have to go. I think people who claim that BHM continues to ostracise Black or ethnic minority experience do have some legitimacy; we shouldn’t need one month, every month should be BHM. Of course this is true. Unfortunately, as a society, we’re not there yet and extra effort is required to spark debate and get this issue on peoples’ radars. Let’s remember, learn and look to the future.” There are always bound to be adamant arguments concluding that more needs to be done in order to provide a greater appreciation for the event, however BHM is more than just an event that constitutes a month of remembrance, but a month of reminding people to consider the

culture, heritage, sacrifice and contributions that have been made up to this point. Rather than focus on the stagnant dramatisation of an event, we would be better suiting joining together in unity, appreciating each other, rather than fixating on negative connotations.

“Perhaps they haven’t done enough and that’s an issue we are seeking to address.” – Dr Jeremy Howells “Perhaps they haven’t done enough and that’s an issue we are seeking to address.” – Dr. Jeremy Howells (Equality and Diversity Champion). It is easy to think of the usually great men and woman who have contributed, even to the point of giving their lives, in order to incorporate equality and diversity. However it is imperative to remember that we are always progressing towards a common goal – something that the university and the un-

ion truly believe in. This event, or rather the premises for the event that permeate throughout, are widely acknowledged on an international scale and yet we still feel the impact on a county level – something that should be admired. “We need to recognise that the acknowledgement of Black History is not just an ideological quest or a fashion statement but an important means by which we achieve a greater understanding and appreciation of who we are and our place in the world.” – Don John. If you would like to learn more about Black History Month and the events that are happening in Southampton please check out: uk/news-events/events/allevents/black-history-month.asp Have your say....

Email contact: / Image by Amy Harwood /


/ Paige Minns /


What will you be wearing this winter? Welcome to the Winchester round-up of what is hot this season.


hat will you be wearing this winter? Welcome to the Winchester round-up of all this season’s new looks. Autumn/Winter 12 is oozing with rich colour and lavish details. Winter florals, eye-popping prints and head-to-toe leathers have brought a new luxe feel to the catwalk and now to your wardrobe. Once again, old ideas are abandoned and designers take us in a fresh direction, catwalks saw the rise of oversize garments and tomboy tailoring. This season is about overindulging in opulent details and full-on gothic glamour. And I promise there’s a trend for you whatever your budget or style. The Maximalist This trend is perfect if you’re not afraid of a little embellishment - or a lot of it for that matter. ‘More is more’ with this trend. It’s about indulging in metallic embroidery, silvers and golds, and statement jewellery. Another way to wear this trend is to layer up with over-the-top prints. Head to Miss Selfridge to find key pieces from this trend on the high street. If fullon sparkle isn’t really for you, try an accessory piece instead. Freedom by Topshop jewellery has some fantastic pieces to brighten up a simple outfit- perfect for a definitive nod to the trend.

Eye-popping Opticals A trend that’s not for the fainthearted. This autumn exhibits a new print catalogue. After seasons of feminine digital artwork, this season presents us with bold geometric shapes, kaleidoscopic optical illusions and bold repetitive patterns. Seen mostly on the catwalk in the form of trouser suits and tailored coats, you can find this trend on the high street in Warehouse, who have some fantastic printed pieces this season. Try this trend on simply cut pieces and pair with modest accessories. (The print is loud enough on its own so don’t over-dress it).

“If there was ever a time to dip into a little gothic beauty, this season is the time” Gothic Glamour Quite simply, black leathers. If there was ever a time to dip into a little gothic beauty, this season is the time. The February catwalks exhibited luxe, glossy black leathers which offered a sleek and powerful take on the season’s decadent air. Buying leather doesn’t have to be scary, and buying the right piece can be an investment. A good quality leather jacket will last you

a good few seasons! Be careful when styling leather; minimal jewellery in a must. Keep necklines and wrists free from overbearing accessories and let the rest of your outfit talk for you. Winter in Bloom Florals in winter? Yes! It’s a perfect trend for those of you missing the summer sunshine. The catwalks were full with perfectly cultivated printed fabrics, but think less girly and more powerful. This trend is about rich darker colours in purples, reds, blues and blacks. You can choose to fully indulge in headto-toe florals if you wish, or perhaps choose an accessory piece. Think floral print ankle boots at Erdem, or embroidered floral bags at Dolce and Gabanna. For those with a more classic style, this trend is a great opportunity to add a little fun and colour to your wardrobe. H&M have some fantastic floral pieces this autumn which are great for those on a budget.  Printed chiffon shirts are perfect for those with a feminine style, or for the more adventurous amongst you, try the purple floral print leggings modelled by Lana Del Ray in the Autumn/Winter 2012 look book. The Rise of Oversize Big is beautiful this winter;

/// Winchester / WS / 26

think boyfriend fit coats, pillow sleeved jackets and wide leg trousers. But be careful with this trend, as it can look frumpy if it’s not styled well. Contrast volume with a slim line structure by styling opposites together. Countryside Alliance The February catwalks saw designers taking inspiration from all the country classics, working with tweed, corduroys and plaid. The easiest way to wear this trend is through simple structure tailoring. Think tailored jackets and blazers in utility fabrics and earthy colours. These can be matched up easily with most outfits, and can be worn casually or with more formally

styled combinations. Jackets like these are a high street favourite this season so it just depends

“H&M have some fantastic floral pieces this autumn which are great for those on a budget” on how much you’re willing to spend and where you shop. Pair up with a simple white shirt for a simple, sophisticated look. The Power of Purple Purple was undoubtedly the colour of the collections in February, and now it’s the colour of the season. It’s a colour of passion and luxury, and this winter

it will be worn by everyone. Perhaps it’s not everyone’s favourite colour, but I’m not suggesting divulging into full-length purple leopard print with leather trims (courtesy of Christopher Kane). Wear this trend with subtle sheer fabrics or choose a statement piece such as an oversized bag, shoes, or jacket. River Island is the easiest place to shop this trend on the high-street; try a peplum top in purple paired with a slim-fit trouser and cover two trends in one outfit. / Image by Zahra Warsame /

If you want to write for us Email contact: Twitter @wessexscene

27 / WS / Sport ///


/ Jack Winter / ///

Sports Editor Jack Winter catches up with new VP Sports Development Dean Jones to talk about his plans for the year, why sport at Southampton is brilliant and how to avoid having 3 teams competing in an intra-mural football final.


hat would you say were the aspects of University sport last year that you most want to change from last year? University sport is great in that when you talk to people who are involved, they are so passionate about what they do, and it really defines their time at university. It is also the place where many lasting friendships are made. The real shame is that not everyone knows how to, or feels they are unable to get involved, so they miss out on these things. The single biggest thing that I want to achieve is that all

“The single biggest thing that I want to achieve is that all of our members are able to get involved and that they can do this at any point throughout the year”

of our members are able to get involved and that they can do this at any point throughout the year. The other thing that goes hand in hand with this is that

in the past we have been quite poor at promoting our student groups and celebrating their achievements. This is something I aim to rectify. Was the desire to make those changes the inspiration for you to run for VP Sports Development? Absolutely! I have had such an amazing time at Southampton, and getting involved in sports (and the union in general) has been a major part of that. The system is not perfect but the great thing about SUSU is that it is such a dynamic organisation that is always striving to be better. I really wanted to ensure that everyone is able to have the same or an even better experience than I had here, and I came up with a set of ideas to make that happen. There’s a huge variety of sports available to get involved with at this university, it can seem a little daunting for some at first, do you have any advice for Freshers when faced with seemingly infinite sports stalls at the Bunfight?

We are really proud here that we have one of the largest athletic unions in the country both in terms of the number of sports offered and in the numbers of students who are involved. University is a great time to try something new and I would re-

“My advice would be to talk to as many clubs and societies as you can at the Bunfight, and then go along and try everything that interests you at least once.” ally recommend giving something a go! My advice would be to talk to as many clubs and societies as you can at the Bunfight, and then go along and try everything that interests you at least once. Wherever possible our clubs allow you to attend the first session for free, and after this you can decide what you want to stick with. Southampton uni has some healthy rivalries with Solent and Portsmouth universities, do you have any plans regard-

ing the Varsity matches this year? There are lots of exciting plans going on towards our annual varsity competition with Portsmouth, but we are keeping them all quite secret for now. This will be the fifth year it has run and we are determined to make it the best one yet! For the first time we have an officer on the athletic union committee focusing almost entirely on the event meaning there will potentially be some big changes and improvements to previous years. Having been involved in intra-mural football last season I know that it could do with a bit of a shake up. The History football team ended up in a cup final that had three teams competing! Are you considering any ways to improve intramural sport? I definitely agree. The intramural leagues are actually run by the university through Sport and Wellbeing rather than by SUSU meaning we have no direct control over them. That’s not to say we can’t have a heavy influence in the way they are run though! My predecessor, Jonny Brooks, and I have both been working closely with Sport and Wellbeing to work on addressing all of the issues raised by teams, and the programme has been completely reformed for this year with new league

structures and qualified officials being supplied for some of the more popular sports such as football amongst many other changes. Sport and Wellbeing have produced a booklet have gives full details about the programme. In an ideal world where all of your ideas and aims were a success this year, how would sport at Southampton University have changed? There are way too many changes to mention here, but they broadly all fit into two categories. The first are all things that will be an obvious noticeable difference such as our groups and their activities being promoted better, and a prominent place to display their achievements as well as a partnership between the AU

and SUSU’s media departments that works for both sides. The others are hidden changes, but are equally as important such as improved club committee training to make sure they can be the best they possibly can be, and removing barriers so that every member of SUSU feels they are able to get involved. If you would like to see a fuller picture of my plans and ideas you can check out my manifesto or the blog of my plans on     / Image by Bryony Wellburn / Sponsored by

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/ Elizabeth Coates/

You’re thinking Zorro and swash buckling pirates? Not so says Elizabeth Coates…


encing is one of the oldest known sports. As well as it being an original Olympic sport (represented in the three styles Foil, Sabre and Epée) and part of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s idea of training a warrior through modern pentathlon, there is archaeological evidence of the sport being played by Ancient Egyptians. Hieroglyphics have been found depicting two warriors fighting with wooden sticks with bronze ends and wearing distinctive helmets not unlike the masks worn in the present day. So how would I, a  practicing  fencer (for it is akin to a religion), define fencing? Well, I believe the prominent fencing commentator Gérard Six sums it up well by saying “the purpose is to hit with a foil” yet “it is also an artistic and leisure

practice”. Essentially he means that the sport does not rely on athleticism to be successful. In certain sports one can improve by becoming fitter and repeating patterns. That is not so with fencing. It requires a mental commitment that is only found at much higher levels in other sports. One must engage with the sport much more that simply waving ones blade à la Errol Flynn. So, if I may bore you with details, and have you suited up in the kit that makes you look like an astronaut and a Shakespearean dandy, I will have to let on that in starting fencing, no one will give you a blade until you can step properly. This is no exaggeration. The coach will drill you on footwork until you are stepping like a swan swims; only with the feet at right an-


gles to each other. Depending on which hand is dominant, one foot must be behind the other, being opposite to the hand you actually fight with, taking a little over half your weight and twisted around so the inside of your foot faces your opponent and twisting you away from them in the hope that they cannot hit you. When you actually step, you must not bob, for not only will you look like a twit, but it makes you slow to react. To counter this, you must bend your knees to a degree that you can speak to a small child. It is no wonder that the BFA (British Fencing Association) boasts that “Fencing is one of the safest sports...even minor injuries are uncommon...indeed the last death from a bout was in 1922 ending a two hundred year family feud.” One cannot hold a blade for much of the training session. It is also a misconception that the blades are sharp, for in reality the tips have electrical receivers that create a circuit when they come in contact with the opponent’s lamé (the electric jacket - i.e. the target area). What is also noticeable about a blade when one holds one for the first time, is that they are generally very light. Those familiar with theatre fencing are aware of their weight, but in the sport they must be light. The

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reason why this is so is in films and plays the audience want to be able to see what happens, and be caught in the drama of the bout. Meanwhile in the real world bouts are fast - really fast. The opponents are competing to be the first to hit. They don’t care that the crowd can’t see, although they would like the referee to see their brilliant parry riposte.

where it is quite acceptable to be as cool as James Bond fencing in Die Another Day.

“Fencing requires a mental commitment that is only found at much higher levels in other sports” A word on scoring. The majority of attacks are two types - straight attack and the parry riposte. The first is as it suggests; stabbing your victim like a stuffed olive. The latter is the same, only a parry is incorporated followed by a riposte (a straight attack back at them) to interrupt a straight attack from your opponent. This leads us neatly to the idea of the Right of Way rule, followed only in foil fencing. If you initiate an attack (let’s say straight attack) and your opponent doesn’t parry and riposte, if you hit them on the target area, it’s your point. Yet if your opponent did parry and riposte, it would be their point, even if you did hit them with your attack. In essence, a parry is a wild card, and if you watch top fencers, they do it all the time. I close on the hope that I have informed you a little on the world of fencing. I would warmly invite you to investigate further into this strange land,

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