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Issue No.35 2013

FREE to a good home

The Official voice of Northumbria Students’ Union



Plus: Spotted, tips for bargain hunters and RAG Week review

Your Union, Your Magazine!

Written by Northumbria Students for Northumbria Students.

contents Editors Words Hello,

FEATURES A Big Enough Number 4-5 Strike Action 6 Group Work 7 Gender Neutral Toilets 8 & 9 Russell Brand 10 Gross Student Food 11 The False Widow Spider 12-13

Welcome to the third edition of the year and personally my favourite mainly because I’ve been working with my excellent subeditors who made this edition the best it can be. We’ve been pretty busy at the Students’ Union recently running campaigns on Opening Hours, Group Work and Housing Horrors all to try to improve the quality of Student Experience here at Northumbria.

NEWS £16k Fees 14 Academic Advice 15 Sabb Spotlight 16-17 Human Rights 18 Did Someone Say Award? 19

This edition is jam packed with features on gender neutral toilets, whether all students are drunks to gross student food so I’m sure they’ll be plenty to make you think... and be disgusted by. We’re already starting to gear up for the Elections 2014 so if you want to be the editor of this magazine, why not run for my job?

GET INVOLVED Spotted 20-21 RAG Review 23

If you want to get involved with this magazine, just drop me an email at or come along to our weekly editorial meeting in training room 1 5pm Mondays. Mike Editor

Contributors Cameron Giles A Big Enough Number, Return Of The Gap Yah Hamish Yewdall Strike Action Josh Buckland Group Work, Russell Brand Roy Blewitt Gender Neutral Toilets, Human Rights Society Laura Nelson Gross Student Food Adam Young False Widow Josh Waterton-Bailey 16k fees Sarah Mayne Did Someone Say Award? Dean Scobie, Tom Ford RAG Review Stephanie Holmes Home & Away (Home) James Kreczak Home & Away (Away) Lucy Starkie Christmas Films Dylan Bromley How To Become More Organised At University Charlotte Hall How To Stay Healthy On A Student Budget Adam Crawley Drinking Culture

LIGHT RELIEF Home & Away 24-25 Xmas Films 26-27 STUDENT CULTURE The Return Of The Gap Yah 28 How To Become More Organised At University 30 How To Stay Healthy At University 31 Drinking Culture 32-33 NORTHUMBRIA UNIVERSITY Entrepreneurs 34 Sports 35 Graphic Design 36 Designer City 37 Science Students 38 Performing Arts 39 Special thanks to my sub-editors; News, Features Cameron Giles Get Involved Amy Urwin Student Culture Josh McLean Twitter NSUCommsOfficer Design

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FEATURES A Big Enough Number

A Big Enough Number 1398 – The number of crimes committed in areas highlighted as being part of or associated with Northumbria University, including 5 incidents in “Further/Higher Educational Building[s]” – a number that seems high enough as it is, and only more startling when you discover it is only the number recorded for August. phone theft has seen a major increase in the last year and pickpockets seem keen to target those moving to clubs...

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FEATURES A Big Enough Number If the trends of last year are repeated Northumbria Police will see 6,000 more incidents when figures are released for September later this month, not all of these crimes will be in the same category as the 1398 above, some of them will be in areas less popular with students, some won’t affect students, however as more and more students choose to study in Newcastle, their prominence as a target for criminals increases. The problem is twofold, on the one hand, students make up a large proportion of those targeted on nights out, both in terms of anti-social offences and thefts, mobile phone theft has seen a major increase in the last year and pickpockets seem keen to target those moving to clubs, a particularly targeted areas appear to be around Newgate and Collingwood Street, these are also the areas where the most anti-social behaviour and violent offences are reported, however nowhere in the city is without some reports. The other issue can often be the fact nobody’s home during a night out, making student homes a perfect target for burglaries. Even before the majority of students moved back to the city, two popular student streets – Cardigan and Gladstone Terraces – were the scene of burglaries in August.

And yet there are simple steps to reduce the risks, checking windows and doors are secure before heading out, not leaving bins in alleys where they can be used to hop the fence into your back garden, not leaving valuables in sight from windows. Crime is a major issue for all students, nationally we come out relatively well, according to the Complete University Guide, Newcastle has the 7th lowest crime rate of cities with 2 or more universities – there are 24 of these in England excluding London, Bath was 1st and Manchester last – however crime as a whole is on the increase, there were 11% more reported incidents in the last month than the year previously, so make sure your property – whether it be halls, rented or living at home are secure. Cameron Giles

Between 2009 and 2011, on there were on average 4.1 burglaries per 1000 people in Newcastle,

Between 2009 and 2011, on there were on average 4.1 burglaries per 1000 people in Newcastle, students make the perfect target, a student home might have 5 or 6 laptops, perhaps a mobile phone left on charge, and small easily sellable items like video games and jewellery.

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FEATURES Strike Action

seem to get pay increases whilst those at the bottom still have pay decreases. For example in this university the vice chancellor got a 13% increase last year bringing him to £230,000 a year (more than the Prime Minister earns) whilst the normal staff, those who help us in our studies on a daily basis continue to see their pay cut. As students many of us will be thinking about getting graduate jobs in the next few years. In fact we are constantly told that is what we are in education for. But we shouldn’t want jobs that are poorly paid. We shouldn’t want this trend of decreasing wages to continue.


I came to university for an education, to learn more about the world, and to learn the skills that will hopefully one day help me get a job. The recent wave of strike action by university staff has affected students. But am I angry? Do I feel let down? No. In a few words let me explain why. Strikes happen because of pay. It’s not just about trying to get a 1% increase, but more about trying to stop the 13% decrease in real term wages to all university staff that have happened over the last five years. A pay cut that basically means not paying staff for seven weeks work. This is also part of a larger problem. The cost of living crisis has resulted in people in full time jobs who can’t afford things such as rent, a mortgage, bills or even food. At first it was blamed on the recession, yet now as we go through a period of growth we still aren’t seeing improvements. Instead those at the top

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There are two options of how we can get a better pay; we can sit wait and hope that the managers and the government have a change of heart and begin to pay us more. Or we can act and demand pay increases. For me, only the second of these options seems to have a chance of working. That is why we should be supporting this, if the university staff win on pay then maybe other sectors will as well. Maybe we can turn the tide and begin to win decent wages that we can actually live off. So for me the choice is simple, yes we can moan at missing one day’s education and in the future only be able to moan about poor pay. Or we support strikes and begin to organise demands for our own living wage. Hamish Yewdall

That is why we should be supporting this, if the university staff win on pay then maybe other sectors will as well.

Group Work There is no denying the divisive nature of group work, so many lecturers love to use this as a way to get their classes getting to know one another and make the seminars a livelier environment. Plus there are so many career paths that will heavily rely on you working in small teams or groups. However, students tend to believe that the results they end up aren’t reflective of the effort that they put in. I suppose you have to think is working in these groups for degree actually benefit or hinder you in the “real world”. For example there are some degrees and careers that require you to work in groups. Media Production being a perfect example of this, whereby you need a variety of people to bring their imaginations together to create a high graded project. Not to mention in all career paths at some point there will be a moment when you are asked to work alongside a colleague to finish a project, so surely it is useful to get as much practice as you can.


two people who don’t try as hard pulling you down and making you look worse, neither of which are fair. But how do you solve such a divisive issue when you get students who sit on both sides of the fence, some who think “why should the rest of the group get to decide what level I should get for my degree?” and others who say “it is important because you need to learn how to creatively work in a team, and how other people work.” My opinion is that, group work is essential to building up the right skills for the working world and crucial in aiding people in building greater social skills. However, it is something that can be done in Seminars and not be assessed but just given feedback on. So we will have to sit and wait to see the outcome, as in the next couple of weeks the Sabbatical Officers are debating this with Uni. So this story is to be continued. Josh Buckland

So the question really lies on whether it should count towards your degree or merely be something restricted for seminar presentations. The main fear when people are asked to be in groups for a project is will everyone be putting the same amount of effort in or will there be some that act as deadweight. So it turns into a case where either you work your socks off to make someone else look better then what they are or does the one or

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FEATURES Gender Neutral Toilets

In Newcastle College earlier this year there was a push for gender neutral toilets by a trans gender student. Many transgender advocacy groups promote unisex restrooms, believing that they eliminate harassment and other inconveniences that transsexuals experience when using conventional gendered bathrooms. One of those that have done so is the Students’ Union of Royal Holloway, a college of the University of London. In its report it argues that gender neutral toilets can be used by anyone, regardless of gender, without fear of incident, discrimination or harassment. Politically some of the issues of gendered toilets are that of deconstructing gender, from a neo Marxist perspective gender is a method of dividing society into groups making society as a whole easier to control , when trans issues are considered it goes beyond political theory. The Royal Holloway report argues that many people do not identify as either ‘male’ or ‘female’, and often feel threatened or uncomfortable using gendered toilet and that genderneutral toilet can provide safer alternatives to traditional male and female toilets. Also that as some trans people do not identify as or define their gender as male or female. Having gender-neutral toilets ensures that these people will not be forced to choose the ‘best option’ toilet instead of one they actually feel comfortable with.

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NEWS Academic Advice

Gender neutral toilets though have other social advantages parents with children of the opposite sex can use these toilets as they are too young to go to the toilet on their own but too old to go into gendered toilets e.g. 7-10 year olds. It is of great benefit to disabled individuals who don’t need to use an accessible toilet but may have carers of the opposite sex . The report did argue for there to be gendered toilets available for those that may feel uncomfortable using gender neutral toilets. In the TV series Ali McBeal in the 1990s the toilets in the portrayed law firm were gender neutral, this allowed for much of the interaction between the characters to be moved to the toilets. My own experiences of gender neutral toilets have ranged from both unofficial to official. In the old location of the bar Powerhouse unofficially the toilets were gender neutral. This meant you would often end up speaking more sociably whilst washing up etc. Indeed when out with friends (of any gender) it meant you had a space to retreat to talk things over with. The now defunct Mood in Newcastle’s Gate also had gender neutral toilets in that the washing areas were mixed gender, and there were doors to cubicles and urinals which still were gendered. This again often proved good for having quieter areas

for talking things over with friends. This eliminated much of the need to have other “gendered” toilets for those that may feel uncomfortable using gender neutral toilets. There does exist in the Students’ Union of Northumbria one type of gender neutral toilet already, that of the disabled toilets, but some people who would use and want gender neutral toilets do not want to use disabled toilets as they feel they are needed for those who are disabled. In my opinion, options for gender neutral toilets need to be considered at Northumbria. Roy Blewitt

It argues that gender neutral toilets can be used by anyone, regardless of gender, without fear of incident, discrimination or harassment.

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FEATURES Russell Brand

Russell Brand

ti*MJLFEIPXBRVJUFGBNPVTDFMFCXBTWPJDJOH the opinion that this country has failed most of its citizens and how instead of just letting it happen, we should start to stop it.” ti5IFSFBTPOQFPQMFEPOUWPUFBOZNPSF JT because they feel disconnected and unheard, and I think Brand really explains that which is good” ti*XBOUFEUPDPVOUFSUIFJHOPSBOUTIJU that gets posted by some of my ‘friends’ on Facebook, because i thought that with Russell Brand being a loved actor, it would mean people are more likely to listen to what he’s saying as opposed to a politician.” ti)FDBOBSUJDVMBUFXIBUBMPUPGQFPQMFUIJOL  but can’t express themselves, or have the platform to be heard...” “not voting isn’t the answer to our problems but i don’t vote as i don’t see a worthy candidate.. he has planted a seed in many people’s minds.. i like that”. tiJUTHPPEUPTFFTPNFPOFPQFOMZDIBMMFOHF what is going on at the moment” “a lot of media and the government block out these views from the public”

A few weeks ago, sick with the way politics is going, tired of the disparities in wealth and shocked by the constant destruction of the planet, Russell Brand called for a revolution. The interview became a hit online, thousands of people have shared it on Facebook and numerous articles have been published both online and in the papers. The response to the interview was a shock; the last time Russell Brand attracted this much attention, it was when he was shouting Faulty Towers impressions down the phone with Jonathon Ross. Contrarily, he is now discussing the overthrow of capitalism with Jeremy Paxman. But more than this, people seemed to actually embrace what he was saying. I spoke to some of my friends who had shared the video to see what it was that drew them to Brand’s message, here’s what I discovered;

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What’s clear to see here is that what Russell Brand said represents what a proportion of young people think, maybe we feel we are the disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that Brand talks about, maybe we’re just sick of poverty and global warming. People may try and attack Brand for being naive, utopian or hypocritical but they cannot change the fact that we have a political system that people have lost faith in. That people who are politically conscious are choosing to disengage with. The question is what are we going to do about it, how can we change the world if our democratic system is failing us? Perhaps that is what needs to be asked and perhaps that conversation should start now were Russell Brands video left off. Hamish Yewdall

GROSS STUDENT FOOD Miranda Krestovnikoff, the new President of the RSPB, has encouraged the public to follow her example by going wild and tucking into roadkill. Krestovnikoff, also a BBC Presenter, has described roadkill as “lean, healthy, organic, free, guilt-free and as fresh as fresh can be” after serving her guests cooked rat and fox from a roadside at a dinner party. This may be true, but for most people, stopping the car to pick up dead animals to take home and cook is probably a step too far…

It has also been reported this week that, on average, students in their first year of university put on 15lbs, with more than three in four admitting to living on processed food and fizzy drinks as opposed to cooking meals from scratch. In America, the ‘freshman 15’ is a well-known term for the weight freshers supposedly gain throughout the year. Unfortunately, these scary statistics probably ring true for a lot of us, so maybe we should consider embarking on a “lean, healthy, organic” roadkill diet?! Over the years at university, most students will encounter at least a few horrifying kitchen experiences, from mouldy food (thanks to the flatmate who leaves their dishes for weeks before washing them), to the interesting concoctions whipped up after a pint or five. Perhaps not as off-putting as roadkill, but disgusting all the same. My question is, what is the grossest thing to have graced your student kitchen? More than a few things spring to my mind. I’ll leave you with a few of my favourites from the past year…

FEATURES Gross Student Food

My number 1 has to be a mouldy banana find down the back of a counter. Probably not one of your 5-a-day anymore… And at number 2 we have a dirty traffic cone on top of our microwave… A common trophy from a good night out, but a bit of a surprise to the flatmates who wake up to see it in pride of place in their kitchen the next morning! Good luck to anyone wanting to make a cup of tea… Laura Nelson

FEATURES The False Widow Spider

The False Widow Spider:

An overreaction or genuine concern? For those of us out there with the unfortunate fear of spiders, the mere thought of anything with 8 legs is enough to make us shudder, however anything 8 – legged, with a relation to the deadly Black Widow and an ability to “poison” is enough to send our alarm bells ringing. With that being said, is there anything to be worried about? Until recent media exposure, the False Widow has lived in the UK relatively undisturbed for the past 140 years after arriving on a shipment of bananas from the Canaries. However, in the past few months we have been led to believe that the south of England is under siege by Britain’s “most venomous spider” with reports of people being bitten, having to undergo major surgery and recovery. One incident of a bite from the false widow comes from amateur football player Steve Harris from Devon. Having been side-lined for three weeks, Mr Harris gives his account of the days following his bite, which occurred in his sleep, explaining that, “when I woke up I had a pain in my side – a stinging feeling. I didn’t take that much notice until it started swelling and the pain got worse. The area around the bite mark ballooned and grew and grew. It was only when the area started to turn black, some four days after I first noticed the bite, that I decided I ought to go to the hospital.”

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With the warning to the UK delivered and the news of these dreaded bites spread, it is worthy to note a couple of facts about this terror to our society:

1. What is a False Widow Spider? False widow generally refers to one of 120 species of spider that resembles a genus to which the notorious black widow, which has a bite that left untreated can be fatal to humans, belongs.

2. Where can it be found? You are unlikely to encounter the false widow spider if you live in the north of the country, with the furthest recent sighting being in East Anglia. For those of us here, reading this edition of NU:Life, fear not!

3. What do they look like? False widows have a brown bulbous abdomen with cream coloured markings, often likened to the shape of a skull. Amidst all our worry, we decided to take a professional’s opinion on the matter, Dr Tweddle explains, “There have been very few confirmed incidences of bites from Steadoda nobilis, although adult female false widow spiders are certainly capable of biting humans if handled without due care – the smaller males are not known to cause bites. It is not an aggressive species towards humans and is most likely to bite when accidentally prodded or squashed, or trapped in clothing.”


Sp i


The False Wid ow

It appears that if you should encounter one of the false widows, extra caution should be taken when dealing with it. In addition, you should take the time to identify the spider before running to the local press and the worrying should cease. It is evident that the spider is no menace to society, especially us in the north east and that even with climate change, it will take a very long time for them to take over the country. Adam Young

When I woke up I had a pain in my side – a stinging feeling. I didn’t take that much notice until it started swelling and the pain got worse.

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News 16k Fees

£16k fees, do we really want to be part of a system like this?

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, speaking at his annual oration a couple of weeks ago, argued that Oxford University and indeed many elite Universities should be allowed to charge £16 000 a year to cover the costs of what they perceive as ‘a first-rate teaching experience’. This provoked an understandably angry reaction from both students and academics. Questions were raised over the privatisation of the higher education sector and the level of debt we, as a nation, are willing to let our students get into, in order to receive an education which will set them up for their future. This was after the rise of tuition to £9000 in 2010 which saw mass student protests around the country, are the government going to cave into plans to nearly double the student loans again? Universities do need more funding, this is correct, but not from the pockets of students. Such a move would create a system in which students treat their higher education as a consumer transaction, something which cannot be accepted. University education is like no other consumer-based transaction, there are no ‘try before you buy’ clauses and many degrees are essential to moulding our students to be well-rounded individuals. Studies have already shown that the taxpayer and government will be less well-off in the long run, given that most students will be unable or will not reach the threshold needed to pay off their entire loan, only some of it. This raises questions over whether the government’s recent hike to £9000 fees was worth it, or just a quick fix?

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What really should be the question, instead of making the student suffer, is about funding for higher education. This was picked up by Sally Hunt, University and College Union General Secretary, in her response to Mr Hamilton. Whilst agreeing over the need for more funding to higher education institutes, “he is wrong to argue that students should pick up tab when we already have the most expensive fees in Europe.” Whilst some prospective students may lead very comfortable lives, it is a far cry from the average student who, even under the current system, is struggling to afford to pay for their higher education. With the government already seeking to sell student loans, contributing to worries about whether loans will remain at interest-free, questions are asked on whether it really will be worth it to go to university for the average student or will university become, like the American system, an elitist club for the rich and powerful? Josh Waterton-Bailey

NEWS Academic Advice

Our Education Caseworkers Kim Buffery and Ashleigh Blackwood are here to advise and represent on academic issues. This month we have rolled out new online resources to assist students to access the help and guidance that is most needed. Our STAR Reps are also out on campus assisting our Caseworkers to help students with their issues across the Faculties. STARs have been a great addition to our team and are supporting and winning for students!

Hi Kim & Ashleigh,

Hi Kim and Ashleigh,

I’ve been focusing on an essay for one module and have fallen behind with my work for another - we have to do surveys and interviews with people to gather original data. If I just make up some of the references and questionnaire results, is there any way my lecturers will find out? It’s not actual plagiarism so it won’t come up on Turnitin.

I’m living in Halls. Recently my flatmate set off the fi re alarm after a night out. Now we’re all being charged for the fire service call-out. Surely this is unfair; I was in bed asleep at the time.


Hi Anna, Making things up is still Academic Misconduct - in the Assessment Regulations, it’s called Falsifi cation. So yes, it’s not Plagiarism, but Falsification is just as serious. The markers won’t check every bit of data, but they’ve seen every trick in the book and will investigate if they suspect foul play. Making up references? The markers are subject experts, so if they see texts name-checked that they’ve never heard of, they’ll get suspicious. If you’re caught out, you’ll get a formal written warning and a flat mark of 0 (or at best, a capped Pass mark). We can represent you if you’re called in to explain your work, but we can’t guarantee to get you off. If you’re struggling, speak to your Guidance Tutor – but don’t cut corners. The penalties are just too great. Kim &Ashleigh

Alistair Hi Alistair, The University charges a fixed £65 for “activating the fire alarm without reasonable cause (including not attending to food being cooked at all times)” (Student Regulations Section 3 Appendix 4: Standard Fines 8). However, you can appeal if you can show it wasn’t your fault – book an appointment with me in The Base to discuss this. In the meantime, let your flatmate know that interfering deliberately with fire safety equipment isn’t only a Northumbria disciplinary matter– it’s also a criminal offence and the University can involve the police. Kim & Ashleigh.

Worried about referencing then Check out Northumbria skills plus at http://nuweb. skillsplus/index.html Pop in to the library and speak to staff about the Ask4help service for help with Turnitin and study skills sessions.

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NSU News Sabb Spotlight

SABBSPOTLIGHT JAMIE THOMPSON Vice President Welfare & Equality What is your role? I am here to ensure that Northumbria students get the best experience from university, outside the classroom so that includes healthcare, crime, safety and I’m also responsible for championing Equality and Diversity. Your Sabbatical Officers have been working pretty hard for you the last few months – getting a cheaper range of food on campus, getting a bigger Coach Lane shuttle bus and much, much more. You elect your Sabbatical Team every year in March to make these kind of changes to your University Experience. If you ever want to go chat to them, just pop along to their office on the first floor of the Students’ Union NATALIE DAWN HODGSON President What is your role? As President of Northumbria Students’ Union my role means that I am the principal link between the Union and the University. In my role it is my job to represent the voices of all Northumbria students’ and I do so locally and nationally What’s been the highlight of your first term? Seeing the opening hours campaign come to fruition and talking to so many students about issues that really affect them, we hope that we push for longer opening hours in the next term.

What’s been the highlight of your first term? Definitely seeing the launch of two new SU services - Nightline and the Sexual Health Services. Also meeting and recruiting my reps has been massively inspiring and I look forward to working with them over the next year! What’s your New Years resolution? That’s a tough one. A bit vague I suppose but to work hard at developing myself and giving my all to my projects both in the union and in my personal life! Notice this COULD include the gym but I’m avoiding committing to it - ha! What’s your biggest regret of 2013? Not doing more while I was a student! Make the most of it, it flies past far too quickly! PH


What’s your New Years resolution? I don’t actually have one. What’s your biggest regret of 2013? Probably that i am still studying at Northumbria, I’ve had lots of people never regret anything because at one point it was exactly what you wanted. PH NSUPres 16 nu:life

Remember to drop by our Coach Lane Office and see us at our second home

Mike Jamie Nicole Natalie Sarah

Thursday Morning Tuesday Morning Tuesday Afternoon Wednesday Morning Wednesday Afternoon

MIKE POTTER Vice President Communications & Democracy What is your role? It’s my job to make sure that students know what’s going on in their Union and for them to be able to shape it through Student Council and Elections. What’s been the highlight of your first term? I think the work I’ve been doing as Coach Lane lead has probably been the most rewarding. Over September over 800 students were left unable to access the bus which we needed to change so lobbied for a bigger bus!

NICOLE PEGG Vice President Academic Affairs What is your role? I am responsible for representing all students on academic issues, for instance assessment & feedback. I take the lead on any education related campaign and I am the Sabbatical mentor for all academic representation at Northumbria What’s been the highlight of your first term? There’s been too many to name. Training hundreds of course reps has been fantastic as well as seeing what you think should be included in our education policy. And it goes without saying that RAG and Welcome Week were excellent.

What’s your New Years resolution? I’d love to say that it’d be to keep What’s your New Years resolution? my desk tidy...but I’m a realist and I don’t necessarily think that know that’s never going to happen. resolutions have to be made at New Year, however I will be making What’s your biggest regret of a concerted effort to find a job 2013? after my term in office is over - so Print takes quite a while so it’ll if you’d like my job, drop me an probably be about three weeks till email. . anybody sees this so it’ll probably What’s the biggest regret of 2013? be hard to say because mo doubt Not seizing every opportunity that I’ll have done something even I could have outside of my role stupider by then. because you’ll regret what you do but you’ll regret what you don’t do so much more. PH NSUCommsOfficer

SARAH PRICE Vice President Activities & Development What is your role? This means I oversee societies, EcoNSU, Volunteer Northumbria, RAG the Welcome Team and Fast Friends, as well as making sure there are sufficient opportunities for volunteers to develop. What’s been the highlight of your first term? My biggest achievement to date has to be having a massively successful RAG week, as it’s one of the biggest weeks in the union and I hadn’t been involved in it before coming into this role. What’s your New Years resolution? My New Years resolution is to lose weight, as it is every year! However now I haven’t got uni anymore I have no excuses! What’s your biggest regret of 2013? “A life without regret is a life well lived” PH

NSUActivities1 PH


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NEWS Human Rights


It is estimated that more than one million Syrian children are refugees outside Syria many in Jordan and Lebanon. Millions of Syrian children are in desperate need of basic food items such as bread, rice, medical services, winter clothes, and clean water. Education systems have largely collapsed with even those still in their homes facing the risk of death just to get to school. Before the sleep-out began risk assessments were submitted and permissions obtained from both the Students’ Union and the University. At the first meeting of the academic year of Human Rights society a film and other information on the situation caused by the Syrian civil war was shown and discussed, in the second session banners and other publicity materials were made. The Sleep-out started at 6pm, a base camp was established on the green quad, ground sheet laid out to stop sleeping bags from getting damp and 2 people brought bivy bags to put their sleeping bags into. Soon there was about 15 people there, those sleeping out and supporters. A photo of the start of the event was taken, ‘Save The children’ banners were put up and a collection tin was put out. Much of the night was spent talking to people about what’s happing in Syria and why we were outside all night including a film unit from ‘NU:TV’. As the night drew on many of the conversations with those passing by became shorter and shorter because the type of people passing by became drunker and drunker, however money was being raised both through sponsorship in person and through the Save The Children ‘Just giving’ account and from donations to the tin. Despite the drunkenness of some of the people around most people were friendly and in good spirits, what with attempts at humorous offers to sponsor people by joining them in there sleeping bags, some comments were made by those passing by in far too few clothes for autumn weather, but those sleeping out had ensured they had lots of thin layers on.

The Human Rights Society recently held a sleepout in the Students’ Union quad. The sleepout was not about sleeping and it was agreed there would be no tents. The aim of this was to raise awareness of the ever worsening situation in Syria that is affecting millions of people including an estimated 3,100,000 children. It was also to raise money for one of the nongovernmental organisations (NGO’s) working to provide aid and assistance to those most in need, that of ‘Save the Children’. Save The Children have teams inside Syria and the surrounding region to give children the basics they need to survive and Save the children they have estimated they have helped 600,000 children and family members including 230,000 inside Syria.

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As time drew on many of the supporters went home and a hardy band of 8 from a variety of courses and countries made were taking part in the whole event with occasional updates and Tweets being put up on the Human Rights societies Facebook page and using the societies twitter account @NUHRs. The weather which had started off good, however at after 2 am the rain started to come down hard, it was decided to move to under the arches of the Students Union. By just after 3am, surprisingly, nearly everyone was asleep. At about ten to six in the morning whilst it was still dark and whilst the first bemused looking staff members of the Students’ Union were arriving for work the societies president Lisa McGrady began to wake the bleary eyed sleepers. It was time to break down the base camp and head home, and shortly after 6 having spent 12 hours on the quad the last of those sleeping out left for home, some with 9am lectures. Northumbria University Human Rights Society normally meets at 6pm on Mondays in training room 3 of the Students’ Union. Roy Blewitt

NEWS Did Somone Say Award?

Did Somone Say

Award? Eco NSU, the environmental volunteering strand of the Students’ Union, received national recognition for their studentled environmental volunteering programme on Saturday 19th October. Members travelled to London for the awards ran by the National Council of Youth Volunteering Services (NCYVS) and received a Young Partners Award in the Environmental category, having competed against national organisations such as People and Planet. The NCVYS Young Partners Award celebrates voluntary and community organisations that show an outstanding commitment to youth participation and involving young people in all aspects of their decision-making processes. In September, some Eco NSU members were interviewed by NCYVS judges and said they were, “amazed at the range of projects on offer and how student led the programme is.” Eco NSU started over a year ago, with only three committee members and it has grown rapidly to signing up more than 500 people during Welcome Week. Eco NSU offers a different type of volunteering, as projects start by people who have a genuine interest in the project and are keen to make it a success! The volunteer student-run Eco NSU leadership committee provide support, funding and training in partnership with a dedicated member of staff.

Eco NSU can be as environmental as you want to make it, projects include ‘fashion fix’ which customise and recycle clothes and hold vintage fashion shows, to food co-op which want to set up a co-op to sell affordable, but sustainable and organic food, to Northumbria students and local surrounding area. Eco NSU works very closely with local communities and areas, such as ‘Living Off the Land’ project which promotes local produce and supports eco organisations in the North East such as Rising Sun Farm in Wallsend. Beach Clean is another on-going project which sees students go out in all weathers to clean our regions beaches and protect marine life. The Eco NSU committee said: “The Young Partners Award has been such an achievement and reward for all the volunteers’ hard work and dedication that they have put in.” Sarah Mayne, The Eco NSU Lead Mentor said, “Winning the award, has made me so proud of the work that I have put in and it has been great to get recognition for the voluntary work especially on a national level. It was such a surprise to win the award and means the projects will be able to grow, improve and can projects can celebrate their successes.”

If you want to get involved in Eco NSU, you can email to find out more, or sign up to specific projects on the Volunteer database! Sarah Mayne

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The Lay Student Councillors recently ran a campaign about Student Housing Problems. If you have any problems, tweet them at #studenthouseofhorrors

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Raggies! With RAG week now over, we just want to say a massive THANK YOU to all our amazing volunteers! Without you RAG wouldn’t exist, and you should all be immensely proud of yourselves for what you’ve achieved so far!

So, without further ado, our fundraising total for the week is (drumroll please!)…..

£15,000 Which is a phenomenal achievement!

We’ve had a fantastic week which has been packed with crazy socials, activities and street collecting and lots of laughs between. The week kicked off with an abseil down the library, a massive well done to everyone who braved the wind and took part, there were many relieved faces when feet touched down! The remainder of the week consisted of street collecting for 5 fantastic charities; The Royal British Legion, St. Oswald’s Hospice, Farm Africa, Dementia UK and Children in Need.

There have been so many highlights, from the fancy dress to the inspiring stories to the amazing bar crawls! We can’t wait for the rest of the year and the exciting stuff that’s planned, including trips to York and London, Christmas socials and much more! Tom Ford & Dean Scobie To get involved, find out what’s going on and help us beat last year’s total of £71,000, sign up on the volunteer database at: https://app.volunteer2. com/Public/Login/ Volunteer Find us on facebook at: nsu.rag

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HOME AND... When deciding on a University to go to, staying at home was really always at the top of my agenda. I wasn’t ready to “fly the nest”, as you’re stereotypically supposed to. Admittedly, Northumbria University had the best course modules suited for me, but it was an added bonus as well as a relief to know I was staying at home. That’s how I felt until fresher’s week, anyway.

Living at home does have its benefits; firstly family and friends. I get to see them every day, they may drive me crazy but I like having them close by for support and obviously a good home cooked meal never goes amiss.

Luckily for me, I did have other people from my school going to Northumbria, but they weren’t on the same course as me. It was hard relying on them to be there to mingle on fresher’s week as they had other commitments. People who moved into halls already had their cliques, so they had a chance to bond and mostly stuck together on nights out - I never wanted to intrude.

Financially it seemed cheaper to live at home; I walked to and from uni, but still paid my mam money towards bills. ObviouslyI would have preferred to roll out of bed and throw on anything 5 minutes before a lecture, and still make it on time, but I like being in the comfort of my own home.

In my opinion, more needs to be done to help students who live at home. Later in the year, I found out freshers had been conversing on Twitter and Facebook, apparently there is a dedicated Facebook page, but I feel as though this needs promoting more vigorously.

I do help out around the house but cleaning and ironing are not on the top of my to-do list.

I think there will be a part of me that regrets not moving into halls, although I don’t forget the times that I saw the state of some student halls and thought ‘thank god I don’t live in that!’ Moving away for the so called, ‘uni experience’ is something I wish I had considered more, but I have plenty of time to move out in the future. Stephanie Holmes

After settling into uni life and making friends on my course, I was always secretly jealous of their lives living in student halls. It meant they could do what they want, whenever they pleased, and they had a great sense of independence.

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...AWAY Sleeping through to the afternoon. Last night’s pizza served cold for breakfast. The unequivocal whiff which the average student house emits. Here are just some of the many joys of living away from home whilst at university. Most students opt to move away from home, and Fresher’s can find halls a daunting place to arrive to. (Well, depending which one you’re in!) So you arrive, not knowing a soul, and are forced well out of your comfort zone, to make friends. This of course, is so you don’t end up being the one sorry looking loner, wandering around campus asking people where stuff is- just for the sake of a bit of human interaction. My biggest fear, was that nobody up here would quite understand my witty (or another word that rhymes with it...) humour. Living away from home allows you to meet some real characters, some of whom you would never normally speak to but are actually pretty decent! You’re living with people in the same boat as you, who aren’t going to be on your case if you don’t do your washing, or stay out too late... or even don’t come home until the next morning.

That brings me onto the C word. Cleaning. You don’t want to be one of those students with a house that smells like a reeking old couch. If the worst case scenario happens, then a quick spray to jazz up of the place will mean no one will ever notice. Another big difference becomes obvious when you open your fridge door. My fridge at home has vegetables, low-fat yoghurt, conserves and a selection of cheeses in. My Uni fridge though, is split 70 percent on alcohol, 25 on ready meals, and 5 on cordial that doesn’t even need to be in there. Bills, Bills, Bills! This is something you’ll have to learn to get used to. Just don’t end up like me by being too stingy to pay out on heating bills, giving you a cold in August – it is Newcastle after all! Don’t get me wrong, I love living away, but nothing can beat a good Sunday lunch cooked by your parents (mainly because it costs you nothing). Somehow, a tin of beans out of a saucepan (to save on washing up) sounds nowhere near as appealing. James Kreczak

That brings me onto the C word. Cleaning. You don’t want to be one of those students with a house that smells like a reeking old couch.

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Watching festive films is as much a part of Christmas as unwrapping presents and eating turkey is. In fact, there’s nothing more Christmassy than curling up on the sofa with the fire roaring, the tree lights twinkling and a Christmas classic blaring from the telly. So here’s a countdown of the top 10 classic Christmas films, all guaranteed to get you into the festive spirit. Enjoy!

1 It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings” It’s A Wonderful Life constantly tops Christmas film polls and its not difficult to see why. A truly uplifting story of how one man on the brink committing suicide one Christmas Eve, is shown by his guardian angel what life would have been like had he not been born. It’s A Wonderful Life really is the definitive Christmas classic.

3 Love Actually (2003) “If you look for it, you’ll find that love actually is all around.” Eight different love stories collide in this classic Christmas romcom set in London during the run-up to Christmas. Don’t be fooled – this isn’t your typical cheesy, happy ending love story. There are touching tales of grief, betrayal and unrequited love alongside happier stories of first love, finding love again and the love between friends too. Aww! 26 nu:life

2 The Snowman (1982) “We’re walking in the air…” Based on the children’s book by Raymond Briggs, this is the magical story of a boy’s snowman coming to life. The film is without any dialogue, accompanied only by the famous song, yet it captivates throughout. The Snowman is definitely up there with the best and is more than likely a Christmas ritual for many as it is shown on telly every year without fail.

4 A Christmas Carol (2009) “BAH! Humbug!” Of course there have been many, many adaptations of A Christmas Carol, but Disney’s stunning CGI version of the Dickens classic really does bring the story to life with its mix of animation and real life acting. We all know how this one goes Christmas killjoy and all round misery Scrooge is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve night to warn him he must change his ways.


5 The Grinch (2000) “Maybe Christmas, doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas…perhaps… means a little bit more!” This adaptation of the Dr Seuss poem is another good one for laughs – Jim Carey’s portrayal of the green, hairy, Christmas-hating creature is hilarious! The Grinch is intent on stealing Christmas from the town of Whoville, until he meets a young ‘who’ called Cindy Lou.

6 Home Alone (1990) “This is my house, I have to defend it” Home Alone is THE most successful Christmas film of all time, grossing a massive $477,561,243 worldwide. The film follows a young boy called Kevin who gets left behind when his parents go on a Christmas holiday. His initial joy at being left soon wears off when he has to contend with two burglars.

7 Elf (2003) “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?” If you want a Christmas film that will make you laugh then you don’t need to look much further than this one. Buddy the Elf soon realises he’s not like the rest of Santa’s little helpers so heads to New York to discover where he’s really from. With its outrageous humour and witty one-liners, Elf is fast becoming one of the best loved Christmas films of our time.

9 The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) “There’s children throwing snowballs, instead of throwing heads!” Tim Burton’s gothic fantasy film may seem an unlikely Christmas classic but there’s no denying the ‘Halloween meets Christmas’ tale has become a firm festive favourite. Jack Skellington, leader of Halloween Town, discovers Christmas Town but doesn’t quite get the concept of Christmas spirit!

8 The Polar Express (2004) “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see” The Polar Express takes a young boy who doubts the true spirit of Christmas on a magical journey to the North Pole to meet Santa. This is a really sweet animated film that captures the true meaning of ‘believing’ at Christmas.

10 Arthur Christmas (2011) “A child has been missed!” A fairly new Christmas film but certainly a future classic, Arthur Christmas is the story of Father Christmas’ clumsy but goodhearted son Arthur, who is adamant that no child should be forgotten at Christmas. Cue a wild adventure with Grandfather Christmas and a retired reindeer to deliver a forgotten present before the sun rises on Christmas morning. Written by Lucy Starkie

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STUDENT CULTURE The Return Of The Gap Yah

When the tuition fee increase took effect in 2012, many suggested it would be the end of ‘The Gap Year’. With many students not taking one the year before (and why would they when it would involve paying three times the fees?) travel companies had reduced the number of package gap years on offer, and generally students were discouraged from taking them on the simple principle that they needed as many years of their working life as possible to make university worth it. But, despite a drop in the number of students taking gap years in 2011 and 2012, the number from 2013 took a bounce back, and the current numbers suggest that for summer 2014 the number of students taking a gap year will return to it’s pre-fees increase level. It’s easy to understand when you think about it, more students are undecided over whether university is right for them, they take a year out to make sure they’re on the right path - many now choose to get a year in industry, even at a low level, this not only ensure that they’ve got a real passion for their subject but often will open doors with regards to universities they wouldn’t get into on grades alone. Whether this can be considered a traditional ‘gap yah’ spent traveling around the jungles of South America or school building in Africa is a question for debate, but it certainly suggests a shift in how gap years are perceived.

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Another path taken is a year traveling, like so many American students for years before, students are now traveling round Europe - and the ever more popular Asia-Pacific area in ever greater numbers, this is seen as a last blast of freedom as so many will go straight into long hour graduate programs once they finish their degree. The benefits of a gap year may appear clear, but some students are now finding it a different experience, volunteering traveling is now more expensive than ever as specialist companies offering packages to boost your CV become a big player in an already expensive market, with the job market now even more competitive, a gap year which was spent traveling for a month followed by a year of not much is now a red flag during recruitment processes. The rise of the post uni gap year between degree and work, or post-grad, is becoming the next big thing and more and more simply can’t afford to spend their savings on a gap year when the cost of living at university is so expensive. Whatever the future holds for the ‘gap yar’ it’ll most likely look very different to what it once was. Written by Cameron Giles

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STUDENT CULTURE How To Become More Organised At University

How to become more organised at University

We have all been there, you pull out your notebook in a lecture and you flick through pages of forgotten notes, loose hand-outs and a voucher for Frankie and Benny’s you even get to a blank page. It is very easy to become disorganised while studying at University. Exam time rolls around and you are sat looking at random, scrappy pages of notes, protesting “they haven’t even taught us anything!”. Not to worry though, here are a few tips that will help you become more organised. If your course has a module guide that you claim to have looked at, then stop lying to yourself and actually read it page for page. Better yet, print it out and put it in a ring-binder. Highlight key dates and any other important information. If your module guide includes a week by week timetable of what each of your lectures are about and the suggested reading then it would be good to have a look at that too. Buy a work planner and put in the dates which are important for your course. Get used to looking at your planner every week and writing any important things you have to remember in it, it will massively help you! When you are in bed on a Sunday night make a list of things you have to do for the upcoming week, staple your to-do list to the corresponding week in your planner, that way you will have no choice but to look at it.

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Try and keep up to date with your lecture notes so when exam time comes you can avoid desperately scouring Blackboard trying to locate a lecture PowerPoint from your first week. If the thought of writing them all out is daunting, then pick out the key points and write them on index cards, that way when it is time to revise you will already have a stack of revision cards ready. Keep your index cards organised in order of subject, you can get small index folders to keep them in or you could just keep them stored in plastic wallets. Being organised is easy once you get in to the swing of it. Avoid feeling like you are drowning in work. These tips will help you become more prepared, but it is up to you to make sure you keep yourself organised and you will definitely be ready when it is exam season! Dylan Bromley

Buy a work planner and put in the dates which are important for your course.

STUDENT CULTURE How To Stay Healthy At University

How to

StayHealthy at University How to Stay Healthy on a Student Budget!

4) Cook to last!

Now I think we can all agree that we may have taken the meals that our mum has put in front of us every evening for granted. As you settle into your first year at university it can all seem pretty overwhelming (and a lot of effort), to have to make your own meals, which in turn leads to a kitchen overflowing with microwave meals and takeaway wrappers! Whilst it is all quick, tasty and good fun to watch your domino order being processed, cooked and delivered, it is definitely not cheap. After a couple of weeks, the purse strings tighten and the belt is loosened. Here are 5 tips on how to cook healthy and tasty food on a tight student budget!

It can be a lot of effort to make a meal every night, especially when there are deadlines to meet and society meetings to attend. Why not whack the cook book out one a day when you have more spare time, and cook a big fish pie or pasta bake which will last the next 2-3 nights with the help of a microwave. It is also a cheap way to cook meals for 1 – I worked out that my fish pie, which I got 3 meals out, cost just £1.63 a night!

1) Buy fruit and vegetables from the market! Supermarkets have high prices, especially for fruit, so instead of trying to save money by heading to the frozen meal section – head to Grainger Market! With offers such as 3 tubs of strawberries for £1 and 2 bags of peppers for £1, there is no excuse to missing out on your 5 a day – one of the market stalls even offers 10% student discount!

2) Invest in a recipe book! There are thousands of recipe books aimed at students, offering you simple, quick (and most importantly), healthy meals with step-by-step instructions. Instead of that Pot Noodle you were going to stick in the microwave tonight, why not cook a warm noodle salad or even a pad thai if you are feeling adventurous!

5) Do not snub own-name brands! Admit it, we have all turned our nose up at an own-brand product and instead reached for that Heinz Ketchup (especially if our mum is paying) but your student budget might not be able to stretch that far forever. Often ownname brand products taste just about the same. Brands cleverly package products to make them look much better and charge a higher price when in fact it is literally the same product when you check the ingredients. Next time you reach for that Dolmio pasta sauce, try the supermarkets version instead.

Stay healthy and save money, it is possible, just follow the tips. Charlotte Hall

3) Make a list! Before you head to the supermarket, sit down, plan your meals for the next week and make a list of the things that you need. Why? It will (almost) eradicate all those unnecessary purchases (do you really need that 12 pack of jam donuts?) and in turn save you a handful of cash!

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STUDENT CULTURE Drinking Culture

DRINKING CULTURE Recently, quite shocking information was revealed about under age drinking. Over the past year, more than 6,500 children under 18 were admitted to A&E with alcohol related illness. Around 300 of those included in this figure were under 11; these children are still in primary school. Personally, I find it quite disturbing that people half my age are overindulging in something they shouldn’t really be coming into contact with. So what happened? When I was 11, I only knew little about alcohol. I was much more interested in things like Pokémon and wanting to be become the Doctor. To be fair, I’m still interested in those things but that’s just a reflection of my maturity. Back on topic, they’re somehow getting access to alcohol, and enough of it to cause themselves injury. There’s no way that they could have bought alcohol, so they must have either got it from friends or, more worryingly, their parents. Peer pressure is a leading cause of under age drinking and sometimes it’s the parents, either deliberately or accidentally, that make access to alcohol so easy. The need to fit in is part of growing up and, it appears, that drinking is also. Sure, it’s understandable that people under the legal age may dabble in drinking. Having a sip of wine at a family wedding or a half-pint of lager at a pub meal isn’t a crime. My parents thought that if they introduced me to alcohol gradually so by the time I could legally buy my own drink, I’d be sensible enough to know my limits. Drinking in the confines of your own home is legal from the age of 5 if an adult supervises you. It’s when the adults go or the drinking leaves the house when problems arise and that’s when the dangers of drinking are fully realised. Although underage drinking isn’t necessarily encouraged, it’s accepted as part of the UK’s notorious drinking culture. It’s not uncommon to see or hear about 16/17 year olds heading out and drinking at clubs and bars. This kind of activity has been normalised, to some extent at least, by the population’s acceptance of it. Drinking is what people of all shapes age, shapes and sizes do and that’s the end of that.

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Although our legal drinking age is no less than the average across Europe, this drinking culture seems exclusive to our nation. Germany has its beer fests and France has acres of vineyards and stacks of fine wine. It seems that Britain just pulled the short straw and ended up with teenage drunkards. Of course, the country isn’t plagued with endless swarms of drunken teens. We have our good old fashioned country pubs and our high-class bars, where there is just as much alcohol but nothing to be ashamed of. However, shows like Bouncers and 24 Hours in A&E are stripping away the varnish of drinking and showing it as it really is. Messy. Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chairman of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance, noted that “In under-11s, it’s mainly experimenting, but I think we see children in the 11 to 16- year-old range who are beginning to drink regularly.” Statistics show that 1 in 4 under age drinkers consume more than 15 units (roughly 7 pints of cider) a week. He also said that there is an alarming rise in the number of liver cirrhosis cases in people in their 20s. This disease is commonly attributed to those in their mid-40s.

STUDENT CULTURE Drinking Culture Despite all this, there is a silver lining, if it can be called that. Although 1 in 10 children under the age of 11 have drank in the last week, this is half what it was 10 years ago. It’s difficult to decide the best way to process this information. On one hand, it’s good that things are taking a step in the right direction. Then again, this is still a very high number and how is it that twice that number were drinking at the turn of the millennium? So, underage people are drinking. Is it that big a problem? It’s only natural to experiment with drinking when you’re growing up; it’s part of the teenage experience. However, it seems that these worrying figures are just a reflection of our attitude towards drinking on the whole and are a symptom of the culture we have readily accepted. In the last year, there were more than 1 million alcohol related admissions to hospital, costing around £3.5 billion. That’s a lot of money that could be better spent elsewhere.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that prohibition is the way forward (it didn’t work in the 1920s) and that we should all become tee-total. I enjoy a drink as much as the next student and I do sometimes get too drunk for my own good. It’s fine to indulge but, sometimes, moderation is key. There is a legal drinking age for a reason. I’m 20 and I’m just still not the most sensible around drinking. How would an 11,15, or even 17 year old know their limits if mature adults are still struggling with it? What do you think? Do we drink too much or is it just the way we are? Adam Crawley

“Statistics show that 1 in 4 under age drinkers consume more than 15 units (roughly 7 pints of cider) a week.” Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chairman of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance

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Northumbria graduates raise mugs to business success Sisters who set up a business selling low calorie chocolate drinks have been named runners-up in a competition to find the brightest young entrepreneurs in the region. Twins, Stella and Jodi Kean, took the second prize of £2,500 in the annual Blueprint Business Planning Competition, which celebrates the best business ideas from graduates, undergraduates and alumni of the five North East universities. Stella and Jodi came up with their idea for their business, called Choclateas, while studying at Northumbria University. With support from the University’s Enterprise Campus scheme, the sisters have developed their idea, which combines the worlds of tea and confectionery to produce sweet-flavoured tea drinks at less than 20 calories per cup. Enterprise Campus provides advice, support and tangible assistance, including access to office space and IT equipment, to students and graduates wanting to start or develop their own business. Choclateas products are now stocked by more than 20 companies including Fenwicks, Virgin Media and boutique hotels, and the sisters have expanded their range to include new flavours such as vanilla, liquorice and rhubarb and custard. Stella, who graduated with a masters degree in International Human Resources Management, and Jodi, who graduated with a degree in Early Years Education, are now in discussions to sell their range in large national retailers. Stella explained: “Coffee shop chains often sell the same kind of drinks and we wanted to create a healthy drink without many calories or additives, which was a bit fun and different.

“We had the idea for the business when we were both studying at Northumbria and we approached the University’s Enterprise Campus scheme to see if we could get any help to develop it. We’ve benefitted from loads of support in terms of developing our business plan and access to office resources and we have been given mentoring and guidance from experts in business, finance and marketing.” Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Engagement at Northumbria University, said: “Northumbria prides itself on being a professional university with a real-world business focus. We work with more than 560 employers; we are rated as one of the top 10 universities in the UK for graduates entering professional employment, and the opportunities available both within and outside of the curriculum to help students to develop their entrepreneurial skills are just some of the reasons why students are attracted to studying with us. “Enterprise Campus has supported over 70 businesses in a range of industries over the last two years, and we are delighted that Stella and Jodi’s efforts and achievements have been recognised by the Blueprint judges.” Stella added: “If any students have the idea for a business then I would definitely say ‘go for it’ as you never know what could happen. The support we’ve had from the University has been really good and has definitely helped us in terms of meeting the right people to help us take our business forward.”

Visit for more information on the types of support available to students, graduates and alumni of Northumbria University through Enterprise Campus.

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Choclateas products are available to buy online at




Did you know Northumbria has been ranked in the top 12 nationally for its sports facilities? And it’s not just our students who are making the most of them… If you’re into health and fitness, you’ll no doubt have already seen Northumbria’s talented athletes sweating it out during their strict training programmes in Sport Central – our £30m facility right on campus. And recently, Northumbria University confirmed a partnership with England Athletics by becoming a regional testing centre. Which means that Sport Central members will find themselves sharing their facilities with some of the best athletes the nation has to offer! The centre will provide physiological support for athletes, as well as coach support within the England Athletics Coach Mentoring scheme. This agreement formalises the local athlete support that Northumbria University has provided for over 25 years. The University’s state-of-the-art facilities, housed within Sport Central, make Northumbria the ideal choice as a testing centre for talented athletes. The University’s sport science facilities consist of a dedicated suite of laboratories including physiology, biomechanics, performance analysis, gait, integrated performance, nutrition, strength and conditioning and a 55m indoor running track. The centre also boasts an environmental chamber that can simulate extreme temperatures and high or low altitude conditions, a neuroscience laboratory to investigate the role of the nervous system during exercise and a body composition laboratory to measure body fat.

The use of these facilities will elevate athlete testing above and beyond the traditional physiological and biomechanical analysis carried out during treadmill running. The regional centre will be led by BASES (British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences) accredited Sport and Exercise Physiologist Phil Hayes, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation at Northumbria. He has published a number of research papers on the biomechanics of running, and has particular expertise in the physiology of running. Phil is also a Level 4 middle distance coach with over 20 years’ experience in both coaching and providing sport science support to athletes who have competed at club to international levels. This mix of scientific and coaching expertise enables Phil to provide a unique level of support for endurance runners. Phil said ‘Northumbria has a long history of providing sport science support to runners and we welcome the opportunity to both formalise and continue to develop this partnership. Working closely with England Athletics will provide Northumbria University staff and students with an opportunity to engage further with talented athletes, while enabling athletes and coaches to gain access to world class facilities and cutting edge sports science techniques. The North East has a long tradition of success in athletics and Northumbria is proud to be a part of it.’ To find out more about what’s on offer for students at Sport Central visit

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Talentspotted by

BASEMENT JAXX Imagine leaving University with a 3-month creative placement in the bag, £3k in the bank and the chance to work alongside legendary dance-act, Basement Jaxx… That’s exactly what Northumbria Graphic Design graduate, Heather Louise Smales, has achieved thanks to her outstanding design skills and creative thinking. Heather scooped first prize in JDO:Raw - a brand new competition from leading creative agency JDO Brand Design & Innovation, which was launched to uncover the UK’s best emerging design talent. The highly sought-after prize will see Heather’s designs influence Basement Jaxx’ new look, while boosting her graduate CV with a three-month industry placement with JDO, and £3,000 prize money. Heather said: “I’ve always been a fan of Basement Jaxx so as soon as I saw the competition I jumped at the chance to enter. We were asked to consider their brand identity and communicate it through a new single cover, typeface and logo, working with a number of possible song titles and themes. It was a really exciting project to take part in.” The shortlisting process also saw another Northumbria University graduate, Dan Underwood make the top five out of a vast number of high-quality entries. Dan’s submission included the design of headwear, which he has been invited to wear on stage at the Basement Jaxx concert in Newcastle.

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All entries were judged by a panel of industry heavyweights and creative gurus, as well as the Basement Jaxx band themselves. Fiona Florence, JDO Client Director, who devised the RAW concept as part of her agency marketing strategy, said: “We toured the UK’s leading schools of art earlier this year to launch RAW and the Basement Jaxx competition. I first contacted Northumbria’s course leader Andy Reay about the brief and we were delighted when we got two of the very best entries in the entire competition from Northumbria. “Both Dan Underwood and Heather Smales were whittled down to the final ten then, after a telephone interview, both made it to the last five who had to come down to London for their face to face interview with JDO creative directors. They both showed such passion, enthusiasm, out of the box thinking, and professional maturity – hard to believe they have only just graduated. They will be an asset to whichever agency they work for as they start their careers in design and we’re looking forward to Heather starting her placement with us.” To find out more about JDO visit


STUDENT’S DESIGNER CITY CUTS OUT CRIME IN THE CARIBBEAN A Northumbria University student’s research could have a real impact on life in a Caribbean country after she proposed a way to prevent crime through design. PhD student Victoria Gibson was invited to share her research on Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) - a concept of designing towns and cities in order to deter crime - at a conference held in Trinidad & Tobago earlier this year. Her proposed framework for building professionals has now been included in the Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of Planning and Sustainable Development’s draft National Spatial Development Strategy (NSDS). The NSDS is the overarching framework for the country’s vision of sustainable development. The document maps out the sociocultural, economic and environmental development priorities for Trinidad & Tobago over the next 20 years. Victoria, originally from Wideopen, in North Tyneside, said: “We’ve had a really positive response to our research and there is interest in putting it into practice. In Trinidad & Tobago, design is really bad in terms of crime prevention – with basic apartment blocks surrounded by 10-foot high concrete walls, a lack of open space, lots of dark alleyways and overcrowding, which all helps to generate a sense of fear. “Our framework has demonstrated how designing out crime can be applied to any context and how it overlaps and supports many other planning priorities. The strategy ultimately aims to remove opportunities for crime, improve quality of life, improve use of space and reduce the fear of crime.” The goal of CPTED is to prevent crime by designing features that deter criminals and allow people to enjoy a safe environment. This can be achieved through landscaping public areas to make them more appealing to use, improving lighting, designing streets to increase pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and reducing enclosed areas.

Victoria’s framework centres on embedding CPTED strategies and theories at the heart of the planning and development process by engaging with professionals in these areas. PhD supervisor Derek Johnson, a Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader, said: “This is a really inspiring development in this research work which we hope will now lead on to us doing some active research in Trinidad, and positively engaging with the planners and developers who are trying to incorporate crime prevention in to their designs.” Victoria and Derek will attend the 2014 Caribbean Urban Forum conference in Barbados to share more of their expertise in the field.

The strategy ultimately aims to remove opportunities for crime, improve quality of life, improve use of space and reduce the fear of crime. nu:life 37


SCIENCE STUDENTS discover a bright future in new physics lab

Whether it’s measuring the speed of light or searching for planets capable of supporting life, Northumbria’s new physics and astrophysics students will be at the cutting-edge of science thanks to investment by the University.

In the new laboratory, students have the opportunity to perform important experiments in quantum physics, thermodynamics, atomic physics, mechanics and electromagnetism. In addition, they also explore contemporary problems such as identifying exoplanets from real satellite data or assessing sources of renewable energy.

The new laboratory at Northumbria’s city centre campus has been created to enhance the experience of new students on Northumbria’s physics programmes, BSc. (Hons) Physics, and BSc. (Hons) Physics with Astrophysics – the only undergraduate physics courses available in Newcastle.

Dr Beattie added: “What’s great about physics is that on one hand it allows you to understand the origins of the Universe, while on the other it allows you to tackle diverse problems from climate change to healthcare.”

Science has undergone a cultural renaissance in recent years and physicists are in high demand across business and industry. Northumbria has recognised this by investing in world-class facilities that will ensure graduates develop the practical skills and innovation to hit the ground running with employers when they leave the University. Dr Neil Beattie, Senior Lecturer and Physics Programme Leader in Engineering and Environment, said: “Northumbria’s students develop key skills such as the ability to problem solve, create mathematical models, write computer programs and handle uncertainty, which provide them with excellent employment prospects across a diverse range of careers. “Our new physics laboratory provides Northumbria’s physics students with a fantastic learning environment that will enable them to explore and discover. Doing experiments is a key part of studying physics and working in our new physics laboratory allows students to investigate fundamental phenomena.”

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Science has undergone a cultural renaissance in recent years and physicists are in high demand across business and industry.



RILEY Northumbria Performance graduate, Riley Jones, talks about how his degree helped him secure an agent and launch a successful acting career. Riley’s impressive CV boasts a range of TV and theatre work which has seen him share the small screen with TV detective Vera, complete a national theatre tour of Lee Hall’s Pitmen Painters and tread the boards in Live Theatre’s recent sell-out shows Cooking with Elvis and Wet House... What did you study at University and what was involved in the course? I studied BA (Hons) Performance at Northumbria. It was a three year course which introduced me to a range of acting methods including vocal and movement training. We then tried and tested these skills through the various productions we put on throughout our study. We were also lucky to have visiting industry professionals, such as directors, who worked closely with us to give us a taste of how things happen in a professional setting.

What advice would you give performing arts students today? Work hard. If you put the work in, you get the rewards. Talent on its own isn’t enough. It only gets you so far. You’ve got to be willing to put the leg work in…and there’s plenty of it. Be prepared for long periods without work but stick it out and work hard. And listen when people give their advice. I’ve learnt so much from listening to other actors with more experience. I’d also say to soak up as much as you can. Take it all in, learn as much as you can because once you get out there into the professional industry you need it all! But the biggest piece of advice I would give is to enjoy it. Can you summarise your experience at university? It’s hard to summarise my learning experience at Northumbria as I could go on for ages about how important it was for me. The course wasn’t for everyone but it was one of the best experiences of my life and it has made me the actor that I am today.

How else did you prepare for You’ve toured nationally with leaving University and starting The Pitmen Painters and recently out on a professional career as returned to your native north an actor? east to work with Live Theatre We received advice from lecturers in their 40th anniversary shows about the steps we needed to take. Wet House and Cooking with I remember one really invaluable Elvis. What is it about the region experience was having an agent that brings so many of our artists visit us and talk about how to back home? secure an agent and build our CVs, Live Theatre is a great organisation etc. It must have been good advice to work with – they’ve got a big, because she ended up being my international reputation. So from a agent! It’s also really good to chat professional point of view, working to graduates who have studied in with them is great. But to add to the same way you have and later that, Newcastle is a great place. I’ve gone on to build successful careers. lived here all my life and I chose to Quite a few graduates shared their study here. Having travelled all over experiences with us which was the country I can safely say there’s great. The best experience you can nowhere quite like Newcastle. get is from those who have done it before you. Find out what’s on next at Live Theatre by visiting

nu:life issue 35  

nu:life is the only official Northumbria Students' Union publication. It's a handy A5 magazine with features covering everything from News,...