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The independent student newspaper of the University of Sheffield // www.forgetoday.com

Issue 25 // Friday September 17 2010

Slow Club Fuse page 3

The University is watching you

Students evacuated after nearby house fire Matt Burgess

Random checks could mean absent international students lose visas All students will have their attendance randomly monitored because of new laws introduced by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). International students who miss 10 ‘contact points’ could face deportation as the University is forced to report them to the UKBA. ‘Contact points’ are defined as daily academic activities ranging from lectures, seminars, and lab reports to meetings with staff and essay hand-ins. Attendance at these points will be monitored by each department and the data uploaded using software created by Corporate Information and Computing Services (CiCS). The University is to check all students’ attendance over 12 contact points a year to avoid discriminating against international students. Union International Students’ Officer Mina Kasherova said that she thought it was unfair that the new law applied to every university in the country: “The UKBA is checking that they have genuine students. “I think it’s a bit unfair to say that a Russell Group university would have bogus students as they would have a thorough enough admissions process. “International students already have to have an ID card with their biometrical data and I think that’s intrusive.

“The fact that the programme is called Student Attendance Monitoring sounds like it is policing students. “I think we have a lot of bright students and it is offensive to monitor them when they

have come here to show their potential.” Education Officer Joe Oliver agreed with Kasherova’s comments about using the system to support students: “I think the University are doing the right

thing in monitoring all students rather than just those from overseas to avoid the appearance of discrimination. “The University needs to make it clear that attendance monitoring can be part of the support system they offer, helping departments make sure students are progressing well academically, “I worry it might be seen as some sort of authoritarian attempt to spy on students. “Attendance monitoring should be used as a means of supporting those students who may be struggling, rather than as part of a reactionary disciplinary procedure.” University policy documents say that attendance records will be used for early intervention to establish why students are struggling to fully participate in their course. The documents say that early action is essential for international students to “avoid the potential prospect of having their visa revoked by the UKBA.” Currently, if any student is frequently missing course interactions they are reported to their faculty so that they can receive any necessary support. A University spokesperson said that both home and international students would face a Faculty Student Review if they were frequently absent without authorisation and were making poor progress. Continued on page 5

COMMENT

LIFESTYLE

FEATURES

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Riot like a German

Independent city

Exploit the dream

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FEATURES

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Lifestyle

Kirsty McEwen

Is student activism in Ditch big business and the UK too soft? discover what Sheffield really has to offer Comment Lifestyle page 8 pages 20-21

Why work experience takes more than it gives Features pages 11-13

23 Travel 26

Sport

Students living in Shore Court accommodation in the Ranmoor Village were evacuated after a fire broke out at a nearby building on Monday September 13. Fire crews were called to the student village at 4.56pm after security services discovered the fire at Tapton Court. The house is not currently being used for student accommodation and was empty at the time of the fire. Nobody was injured during the fire at the property, located between Shore Lane and Manchester Road. South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: “The fire is not being treated as suspicious and is down on our log as accidental. “Some building work had been taking place in the roof of the property that day and it is believed it is that activity which led to the fire.” The building was not demolished with the rest of the Ranmoor site as it is connected to the Ranmoor Annexe, which is a listed building. Shore Lane was temporarily closed by South Yorkshire Police and reopened once the fire had been extinguished. Pat McGrath, Director of Accomodation and Commercial Services, said: “There has been no damage to student accommodation at the Ranmoor Village and students arriving this weekend will not be affected by the incident. “We are currently investigating the extent of the damage to Tapton Court and the impact of this. All evacuated students were allowed to return to their accommodation at 7pm.


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FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

NEWS UNIVERSITY

£5million Union opens its doors after rebuild

Draft Browne review sees fees rise Matt Burgess A draft Government report into the funding of higher education has suggested that the tuition fee cap should be removed. The Browne Review, an independent review into Higher Education funding, is due to be published in October. It is said to favour higher tuition fees instead of a graduate tax paid after finishing university, according to reports. A source close to the review has claimed that the proposals would establish a competitive market for universities and cause fees to rise to between £6,000 and £7,000. The proposals defy Business Secretary Vince Cable’s suggestion of a graduate tax. If introduced by the government, they could mean that students will leave university with debts of £25,000. Union Finance Officer Tom Hastings said: “Our current funding system for higher education is deeply unfair in many ways. “A rise in tuition fees is a worst case scenario and a worrying concept. “It would impede many students from coming to University in the future. “It would possibly trap students into making decisions based primarily on price, rather than the course that they actually want to study. “If the choice were between a free market in higher education, with drastically increased tuition fees or a graduate tax, the latter would be a more welcome option. “We will have to wait for the details of any proposed option to know the precise effect on students. “We are sincerely hoping that the government will adopt a model which puts the interests of students and their education first. “This issue is one of the key priorities for all of the student officers this year.” The review, led by former BP Chief Executive Lord Browne of Madingley, has taken responses from all organisations involved with higher education in a bid to find the fairest option. Earlier this year the review met with students at the University. The government plans to have a bill in place for changes to University fee structures in Autumn 2011.

The old Union was transformed between November 2009 and September 2010. News Editors Students can enjoy the newly renovated Union after building work was officially completed on September 1. The project cost £5million and began in November 2009. A new main entrance was added to the front of the building The Students’ Union Shop has benefitted from an expansion and a new range of Fairtrade products.

The Glossop Road entrance to Bar One has been altered to allow disabled students access. Students’ Union President Josh Forstenzer said: “I’m very impressed by the transformation produced by the building works. “With a superb new front entrance, our Union now clearly stands as a landmark building in Sheffield. “I am very excited at the prospect of helping students put their mark on the renovated part of the building and truly showing

that this building is a space for students to express their creativity to the fullest.” Activities Officer Rachel Colley said she was delighted with the changes to the Union’s volunteering space, the Source. “SheffieldVolunteering’s office is now a key component to the new space. “I hope it will encourage many more student to seek it out and view the 200 fantastic options to help out in the wider Sheffield community, give something back

News

Lucie Boase

news@forgetoday.com Matthew Burgess Nicole Hernandez Froio Kirsty McEwen

Managing Editor

Comment

Helen Lawson

Deputy Editor

Rob Ellerington

WEB EDITOR Mikey Smith

comment@forgetoday.com Josefin Wendel

Features

features@forgetoday.com Lucie Boase Harriet Di Francesco Emily Travis

Lifestyle

Music

Travel

Games

lifestyle@forgetoday.com Kate Lloyd Victoria Watson travel@forgetoday.com Caroline Vann Jones

Sport

sport@forgetoday.com Jack Burnett Anthony Hart

to their city, and gain important skills for their CV. “Volunteering is also for personal development, and to feel part of something bigger, and is really exciting and rewarding.” The Union website and logo also have a new look for the start of this academic year. Finance Officer Tom Hastings said: “It’s our students that make the building what it is and so we are really excited to be welcoming our students back again, both old and new.”

Advertise in Forge Press with The Student Connection 0114 222 8540

Media Hub, Union of Students, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TG 0114 2228646 forgepress@forgetoday.com

Editor

Photos: Helen Munro (top), Sam Bennett (bottom)

music@forgetoday.com Lizzie Palmer Jordan Tandy

games@forgetoday.com James Garrett James Wragg

Screen

screen@forgetoday.com Ashley Scrace Alex Sherwood

Arts

arts@forgetoday.com Kristiane Genovese Alexandra Rucki

Fuse cover James Wragg

Forge Press is printed on 100% recycled paper Forge Press is published by the Union of Students. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the University, the Union or the editorial team. In the first instance all complaints should be addressed to the Managing Editor, although a formal procedure exists.


FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

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NEWS

Sheffield demolish Newcastle in first round of challenge

Interest rate rise troubles graduates Mikey Smith

Sheffield’s 2010 University Challenge team just before their defeat of Newcastle University. Photo: BBC Television undergraduates Hugh Bennett comfortable lead over Newcastle the wide breadth of knowledge Kirsty McEwen and Tom Thirkell, the team when Paxman starting giving students at the University of captain. them words of encouragement. Sheffield have and the team They successfully answered “We hope everyone will tune in showed immense talent. Sheffield’s brainy University “We wish them every success Challenge team triumphed in questions on topics such as to watch our second round match in the next round of the their first round match of the poetic criticism, South American scheduled for November 22.” Professor Paul White, Pro- competition.” televised quiz, comprehensively football, and amino acids under The University last excelled beating Newcastle University in the watchful eye of presenter Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Jeremy Paxman. Teaching said: “I am delighted on the TV show in 2008, when a 315 - 70 win. Team captain Tom Thirkell our students achieved such an the team reached the final before The team, representing the University’s 26,000 students, was said: “We’re all really proud to impressive victory in the first losing to Christ Church, Oxford. Sheffield has never won a made up of postgraduates Andy have represented the University. round of University Challenge. “I was only convinced we had a “The performance demonstrated University Challenge series. Bolton and Tristram Cole, and

Millions of graduates will be worse off this year after it emerged that interest rates on student loans are rising. The Student Loans Company confirmed last week that they were to scrap their zero rate of interest. From September 1, graduates paying back ‘new-style’ loans (pre-1998) will now pay 1.5 per cent interest. Interest on ‘old-style’ (pre-1998) loans will rise to 4.4 per cent from the -0.4 per cent graduates had been enjoying. It is estimated that around 3.3 million people will be affected by the higher rate of interest for both old and new loans. Union Finance Officer Tom Hastings said: “Obviously, any rise in the student loan interest rate is not ideal. “This rise will mean some extra pressure is placed on students’ bank balances after they graduate. “This interest rate rise is another reason why it is important that a more sustainable, fairer and stable system of higher education funding is implemented.” ‘New-style’ loans are set at 1% above the Bank of England base rate, which has remained at 0.5% for the past eighteen months. The interest for ‘old-style’ student loans is linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI), which jumped unexpectedly this year from its previous 50 year low. The previously negative interest rate for old style loans saw many graduates’ debts decrease. Hastings reassured current students that the interest rate change will only affect repayments after they graduate. “The actual loan amounts available are not changing. “Also, the value of the debt should not rise by more than the cost of living, meaning that students should not be unnecessarily worried.” Graduates in low paid jobs could see their loan balance increase, as the interest will be higher than the payments they make.

Minister labels international student levels ‘unsustainable’ Alexandra Rucki International Students’ Officer Mina Kasherova has deemed Immigration Minister Damian Green’s comments on international students overstaying their visas as “misinterpreted facts”. Green labelled the number of foreign students staying in the UK after their studies as “unsustainable”. A study conducted by the Home Office found that approximately a fifth of international students are still in the UK five years after receiving visas. Green also questioned whether institutions were attracting the best students, saying sub-degree courses needed to be closely examined. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Green said, “We need to tighten the

regulations so that every student coming in is benefitting us. “The foreign students attending these various establishments may, or frankly may not be, the brightest and the best. “I want to ensure those who come here to study at language schools or any other institutions play by the rules and leave when their visas expire.” But Kasherova claims that no students overstay their visas and that anyone still in the UK five years after arrival is remaining for further study, or has found employment in the UK. She said: “Green’s doubts whether students on sub-degree courses are the brightest and the best is offensive to students at our English Language Teaching Centre and at our partner organisation, the Sheffield International College. “Instead of condemning them, we should welcome them

Green questioned student visas.

as important members of the student community.” Kasherova also explains that Green’s figures are incorrect as monitoring of the amount of incoming international students has only just been introduced, meaning that immigration is not spiralling “out of control”. “International students are not taking the university places of British students. “Whilst there is a quota for British students’ places in universities set by the government, there is none for international students and the two are not related.” National Union of Students President Aaron Porter also disagrees with Green. He said: “To suggest that the levels of those coming to the UK to study is too high is a politically motivated misinterpretation of the huge contribution which international students make to

our colleges, universities, and the economy.” General Secretary of the University and College Union Sally Hunt said: “Populist policies on immigration might play well domestically, but on the global stage we risk looking foolish. “Damian Green is making his speech today after returning from a trip to India where he encouraged students to come to the UK.” The Home Office study tracked non-EU migrants who came to the UK in 2004. The largest group - some 185,000 people - were students, and 21% were found to have remained in the country five years later. International students bring over £12.5 billion to the country annually and are major contributors to both higher education funding and local economy.


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FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

NEWS LOCAL

Council supports museums

Search for mystery wedding couple in discovered photos

Nicole Froio

Helen Lawson

Museums Sheffield is receiving short-term financial support from Sheffield City Council due to a £650,000 debt. The organisation manages Sheffield’s four museums. Forge Press learnt from a recent FOI that the Council lent Museums Sheffield £838,000 for the reconstruction of Weston Park Museum. The money was then recovered from the European Development Fund Objective One, which aims to “narrow the gap between development levels of various regions.” However, the Council said that due to “other financial pressures £650,000 of the above sum has not been returned to the City Council.” The Council will support Museums Sheffield until a longterm solution is found. Council leader Paul Scriven said: “We believe it is important to support the museums through this period, but we are confident that over the next two months we will be able to work together and ensure the finances are back on track. ”We will also be working with them to develop long-term proposals to ensure that the organisation can avoid similar cash flow problems in the future.” During 2010-2011, the City Council agreed to give Museums Sheffield a grant of £2,322,400, and has lent a further £840,000 on top of that. The Council said in the FOI that Museums Sheffield will soon need to review its budget: “A recent review indicated that Museums Sheffield was providing services in line with the Services Agreement but above what was affordable. “It will require time to adjust its services down to match the funding in future years.”

A Sheffield philosophy graduate who discovered a set of wedding photos in a charity shop purchase is hoping to trace the thennewlyweds in the pictures. James Andow, now a PhD student at the University of Nottingham, bought two complete sets of darkroom equipment from the Broomhill branch of Oxfam and found the developed film inside one of the developing drums. Andow then digitally enhanced the photos and posted them onto his Flickr photostream, writing: “It would be cool to find out whose wedding this was.” The pictures show a newlywed couple and their wedding guests, and are estimated to date from the early 1970s. The full set of photos can be viewed at: http://tinyurl.com/ mysteryweddingphotos

Ambussadors aid passengers

Do you know this couple, or have any clues as to their identity and whereabouts? Contact James Andow’s Twitter (@andowjames) or email: news@forgetoday.com

Nick Clegg promises all profits to taxpayer as he sells Sheffield constituency home Mikey Smith

Georgina Burkoff Stagecoach Yorkshire is hoping to make bus journeys better by introducing conductors to several major routes around Sheffield City Centre. The company has already introduced two conductors on the 52 route through Crookes and the 120 through Broomhill, and plans to introduce two more. Conductors will sell tickets at bus stops and provide service information about disruptions. Rupert Cox, Stagecoach Yorkshire commercial director, said: “This is a very exciting development and is already improving boarding times, as well as reliability and punctuality.” The conductors, nicknamed ‘ambussadors’ by users, are said to be stirring memories for older passengers of the days when every bus had its own conductor.

A selection of the mystery wedding photos- can you help identify the happy couple?

The Deputy PM’s Sheffield home.

Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg has placed his Ecclesall constituency home on the market, and says he will keep his promise to pay the profit on the sale back to the taxpayer. Clegg’s Ecclesall home was the subject of controversy after it was revealed he had claimed £83,824 in expenses for mortgage payments, legal costs, decorating and a new kitchen. A spokesperson for Clegg said: “Nick Clegg is selling his house and will be renting a new one in the constituency to bring him in line with new rules regarding MPs expenses. “As he pledged to do as long ago as 2009, Nick will be giving any profits he makes from the sale straight back to the taxpayer.” Clegg made the pledge to Forge Press at an ‘Evening With The Liberal Democrats’ event hosted by the University before last

year’s general election. He said: “The home that I occupy, subsidised by the taxpayer, is not my home. It’s on loan to me from you, the taxpayer. “That’s why I think I’m pretty much unique in British politics in saying when I sell that property, any net gain goes back to you, the taxpayer. It’s not my money.” Paul Blomfield, former Union General Manager and Labour MP for Sheffield Central, said that Mr Clegg’s promise to return net gains to the taxpayer was a test of his honesty. He said: “He may as well sell it, because he’s got no roots in Sheffield. He doesn’t come here very often.” Clegg paid back £910 of the £3900 he spent on gardening between 2006 and 2009, after parliamentary auditor Sir Thomas Legg announced new guidelines for MPs’ expenses. Clegg also bought Ikea cushions, napkins, and a cake pan, and also spent £850 on curtains and blinds.

He regularly paid a gardener £160 a month, with his tasks including “pruning of apple and plum trees”, and maintenance of the rose garden. Clegg was also made to pay back £80.20 he had claimed for personal telephone calls to Colombia, Vietnam, and Belgium. He defended the claim, but said he “would not quibble” about paying it back. Clegg said: “[Sir Thomas] has come up with an annual limit of what he thinks MPs should have paid on maintaining their gardens and their properties. “In hindsight he then calculated how much should have been spent for each MP. “I could have quibbled about that. A lot of MPs are.” But Clegg denied that the amount he had spent on the property was extravagant, saying it was right of him to keep the garden in “basic good nick” because it was an “eyesore”.


FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

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UNIVERSITY NEWS

RAG cash saves cancer centre Lifeline donation saves Barnsley Cancer Relief centre from imminent closure after RAG’s Treasure Hunt Europe gives £6,000

Photo: Rachel Colley

THE participants ranged far and wide across Europe whilst fundraising for those in need. Nicole Froio A RAG donation of £6,000 has prevented Barnsley Cancer Relief from shutting down. RAG’s last event of the 20092010 academic year, Treasure Hunt Europe (THE 2010), raised a total of £18,000. 140 students took part in the event, following cryptic clues across at least five European

countries. Students had to raise a minimum of £250 in sponsorship to participate, with the winning team received a £1,000 cash prize. The money raised was donated to three local Sheffield charities, including Barnsley Cancer Relief. Activities Officer Rachel Colley, who was RAG Chair last year, said: “Sheffield RAG are delighted

to donate £6,000 to Barnsley Cancer Relief and we are very happy that they can continue to keep their doors open. “This organisation has a massive impact on the local community, and provides help and support for those who need it the most when facing very serious health problems. “RAG donated 82% of their fundraising to local charities, because as students we love to

Student survey results are steady Matt Burgess Student satisfaction levels at the University of Sheffield have remained the same for the third year running according to the 2010 National Student Survey. Overall the University came joint 7th out of 277 participating Further and Higher Education institutions, holding the same position it has held since 2008. Students were surveyed across a number of areas including teaching, assessment and feedback, academic support, and personal development during their time at university. Assessment and Feedback was the lowest scoring area of the survey, with only 54% of students saying that feedback on their work has helped clarify what they did not understand. Only 55% agreed that they have received detailed comments on their work.

The University did however score highly with final year students with 89% saying they were satisfied with the quality of their course, beating the national average of 82%. Teaching also received high levels of satisfaction, with 92% of students saying that staff are good at explaining things. A spokesperson from the University said: “The results once again highlight the extremely high levels of satisfaction of our students, particularly with their teaching and learning. “When compared against the 20 top research-intensive universities in the UK, we are again up there with the best with our students rating us joint fourth overall in the world-class group. “In response to feedback and to further enhance the total learning experience here at Sheffield the University has a range of developments in place.”

The University of Buckingham scored the highest overall with 95% satisfied with their course. National Union of Students President Aaron Porter said: “This year’s National Student Survey is a wake-up call to university vice-chancellors. “They must buck up their ideas and do far more to improve the experience they offer students. “The National Student Survey gives final year students a unique opportunity to inform future students about the quality of their student experience. “Prospective students will be able to compare standards in a number of institutions giving them valuable information, which can help in making choices about their Higher Education. In total 252,000 students took part in the survey, which is published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and can be read at www. unistats.com.

contribute to our community in the years when Sheffield is our home.” In total, RAG raised over £163,000 last academic year. Over £133,000 went to Sheffield-based charities, with £7000 still to be allocated. Colley adds: “It is truly wonderful news, and the perfect end to a very successful year. “I wish RAG the best of luck for the coming academic year.”

Union joins funding cuts protest Matt Burgess Sheffield Students’ Union has announced that it will join The National Union of Students (NUS) and the University College Union (UCU) in demonstrating against government funding cuts to higher and further education. The ‘Fund Our Future; Stop Education Cuts’ protest will take place in Central London on November 10. The Comprehensive Spending Review being carried out by the Government is likely to mean funding cuts of 25% or more for colleges and universities. In a letter to their affiliates, the NUS and UCU said: “Cutting education is bad for society and bad for our economy. “The reality of the cuts is that many thousands of people who would benefit from attending a college of university will end up on the dole alongside the thousands of teachers and support staff facing redundancy.” The Students’ Union plans to raise a campus-wide public debate about the future of Higher Education funding. Students’ Union President Josh Forstenzer said: “We fully support the joint NUS-UCU National Demo taking place. “It’s a crucially important opportunity to get both students and academics working together to defend the quality education we currently receive at the University of Sheffield. “Cuts are a choice and we have to let this government know that cuts to Higher Education would be the wrong cuts at the wrong time. “As a Union, we’re eager to get as many Sheffield students as possible down to London on the day, to show that we appreciate the full importance of properly funded Higher Education.” NUS President Aaron Porter said: “These are tough times and they require tough choices. “We need to be there to make minister’s decisions tougher and prevent them from making wrong choices, and to protect the’ priorities of the NUS.”

Uni forced to watch us Kirsty McEwen Continued from page 1 Kasherova said: “I think it’s admirable that they would do it for all students as it needs to be used as a support scheme. “You need to find out why a student is not attending classesis it stress, is the class not useful, and so on.” Students without taught modules such as postgraduate researchers will have fewer expected contact points. Year abroad students are expected to contact a Student Services Information Desk representative every two weeks. The Government says the system will help stop people entering the UK on a student visa when they mean to stay permanently to work illegally. International students now need to receive a Confirmation of

Acceptance of Studies, costing the University £10 each, to prove that they are genuinely studying. A University spokesperson said: “The necessary budget adjustments have been made in the course of the University’s regular financial planning. “All students will be made aware of the importance of attending contact points as part of their induction process. “The University will also ensure that all students are directed to information about the system through the University’s website, student handbooks and other explanatory material. “In addition, all departments are being asked to inform students about attendance monitoring.” The University hopes that by December it will have a ‘Highly Trusted Sponsor’ licence, meaning it can prove that international students are legitimately studying and so controls can be less strict.


FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

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LETTERS

Have your say

Write: Forge Press, Union of Students, Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TG Email: letters@forgetoday.com Please include your name, course and year of study. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and space.

Championing students and giving you a voice; welcome from your officer team Dear Forge, Hello and welcome to the new academic year! Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Joshua Forstenzer and I’m the President of the Students’ Union. Along with seven other student officers, I was elected by the student body to represent you in seeking to shape policy within the Union, the University and the wider world. Our goal as an officer team is to champion the cause of students. We do this by organising and relaying your concerns and ideas. But, to do this we need your help. We need you speak up. We need you to get involved. It is our job to help you in your endeavours - to help you grow, in small and big ways, and make a difference in the lives of others. But

we are powerless without your involvement. With the prospect of deep budgetary cuts, and a review of the home undergraduate payment system, this stands to be a critical year for the future of Higher Education. We, as a Union, will be campaigning very hard to ensure that students don’t get left out in the cold. And we believe that the best way of doing this is to show that students care. And in our view, students care not just about the quality and cost of their education, but about the future of Higher Education and about the extent to which University is accessible to all on the basis of merit, not wealth. We reject the idea that students are selfish and apathetic, and we embrace the reality we have each

experienced first-hand of engaged and caring students, deeply committed to a world which remains to be shaped. In this first semester, we will be building up to a national demonstration in London against cuts in Higher Education on November 10. This is a chance for us students to make ourselves heard. So, consider yourself invited to join the debate and the demonstration. Plus, we promise we’ll make it fun! But if nothing else, I hope to leave you knowing that you have a voice and that the Union is here to help you make it heard! Yours, Joshua Forstenzer Union President

What are you excited about this year?

Michelle Lukano Politics and International Relations Second year

Paul Andrews Politics and Third Year

Philosophy

Chen Shujie Urban Design First year

Torturing my brain with new information!

Coming back to Sheffield, it’s always a nice and welcoming city.

Studying and living in Sheffield for the first time.

William Garland Biochemistry PhD

Jessica Abbott Medicine Second year

Mayank Bajaj Management MSC

The Union is pretty cool, it’s nice to see the change and explore it.

About the new Union and the new Union night on Thursday.

Meeting new people and the beach party. I’m also excited about my first week


FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

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COMMENT

Debate: Should students put gap years on hold, and go straight from school to university?

University gives you life experience too

Mature students are more appreciative

Jon Marum

Luke Martin

With over two million hits on YouTube the “Gap Yah” video has ensured that “social, political and cultural exchanges” are the target of much derision. The term “gap year” has almost become synonymous with the idea of over-privileged and under-appreciative young people who think the world owes them to “go on the lash” in some far flung corner of Thailand. This is, unsurprisingly, a skill most students pick up very quickly at university. It would be unfair to tar every older student with the same brush, indeed many people work hard during their gap years, but I believe that prospective university students would be better off heading straight to further education.

The remit for writing this column was for a mature student, or at least one who has done a gap year or two. Well, I’ve done twelve. I know I’m not really old but I feel it some days around this place. Having ventured to university at 31, I have found myself feeling extremely old. In my first seminar I found out that I was 6 years older than my seminar tutor. I had come to University to be educated by people older than me, not younger. But I have come to respect the people who were teaching me regardless of the age gap. The students were a different matter. This has been the hardest problem about my time at university. Other than the practicalities of the course, I have nothing in common with the younger

“Study routines are lost in the haze of full moon parties” It is hard to appreciate at the time, but schools provide a vital foundation for students and help develop good habits necessary for success at A-Level. These habits also stand undergraduates in good stead for their degree. Study routines are lost in the haze of South-East

Asian full moon parties, or even in the everyday life as an office worker. Once lost, it is tough to slip back into a routine of consistent deadlines and hours on end spent in the IC researching, writing and referencing essays. One reason often given as to why a gap year is a great idea is that it enables young people to see the world and gain new experiences. However, the start of university in a new city, amongst new people is also exactly that. Speaking from personal experience, Sheffield, both as a city and a university, offered me myriad opportunities to discover things and to develop new passions. All these things present the chance to meet new people and experience something different. Both socially and

academically going straight to university is the best option. At least it worked out well for me that way. This is not to say that gap years cannot work for some people, because they can. The life experiences gained can actually help some people settle in to university more easily. Sometimes people just need a break from studying, and after 7 years in secondary school who could argue that it isn’t well earned. But I would personally advise prospective undergraduates to go straight to university, and wait three or four years before discovering the sights and sounds of South-East Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe or wherever it may be – not to mention the reality of the working world.

students. A little of this may be the fact that the vast majority are very middle class. I’m not. I realise that sometimes I carry my working class around like big bag. I will be the first to admit that I could have tried harder with the younger members of the course, but sadly I’ve not.

“I was six years older than my seminar tutor” After school I found myself in a job and the bright party lights were calling me. Ten years later I found myself in a job, which was very well paid, but intellectually insufficient. The trigger to come to university has been a slow burner. I always regretted not going when I was 18. After three careers, a failed marriage and a stint in rehab, I decided that life must change. My job led me to visit a university campus in

California. As I walked around the campus, I realised that money was not everything and my university dream began. I had to find out what I didn’t want to do, before realising what I did want. My degree is in Politics, which always creates tension whatever the circumstances. The debates have been great within seminars, if a little heated. I find that when I’m arguing from personal experience, the majority of the others are arguing from the experience of A-Level course books. Both circumstances are correct and whatever your experience from life, it is still your experience. The problem is that whether I wanted to or not, I have gained valuable life experience, without even realising it. I feel us mature students have a lot to offer from the experience we have. Both younger students and the university benefits from this. My advice would be to come to university after gaining a bit of life experience. This gives you both the foresight to be able to learn academically, and also the ability to gain humility from others.

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Wanted: Bachelor of the Art of Lap Dancing Sarah Mokrysz

A study by the University of Leeds recently found that one in four women working as British lap dancers have a university degree. While this is shocking, it seems to blow the traditional view of lap dancers being uneducated and having no choice right out of the water. Instead, it seems many women enjoy their work. Many of these dancers

are new graduates who cannot find a graduate job, seeing lap dancing as a better-earning alternative to bar work. They are self-employed, work flexible hours and take home an average of £232 per shift according to The Independent. This works out at up to £48,000 a year – more than any traditional graduate job I’ve heard of. What’s more, with the job market as it is and student loans to repay in the near future, is it any wonder some graduates are turning to this controversial

occupation? One could ask who is really being exploited, the dancers or the men spending ridiculous amounts of hardearned cash to watch a few unclothed girls? Surely there are cheaper alternatives, for example going home to your girlfriend! The Fawcett Society claims the job exploits women and there are occupational dangers such as dealing with abusive customers. In fact, researchers have recommended an

end to private booths in lap dancing clubs as some women have been abused this way. However, violent and

abusive incidents seem to be isolated cases. If graduates, and current students too, understand what the job entails and the risks, I see little problem with it. Perhaps what is more telling about this statistic is just how bad the lack of graduate jobs may be, at least in the short-term. E v e n after a few months some graduates have essentially gained a job

for which you need no qualifications, instead of anything resembling a high-flying graduate scheme role. Maybe if this is all some graduates will achieve after a £3,000-a-year degree, the university should take a humorous step and just offer a Bachelor’s degree in Lap Dancing? It may seem like a perfect answer to some, but I’m sure many female students, including myself, will be steering clear of Sheffield’s Spearmint Rhino after graduation in a year’s time.


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COMMENT

Mensch! Protest properly: riot like an angry German

of Sheffield, we are too polite about our political activism. Activism isn’t about being polite; it’s about being louder than the other guy who disagrees with you. Surely, part of what makes life at university so good, is that you have the chance to be vocal about your politics. Why not do it properly then?

Justus van Leeuwen

Having just returned from my year abroad in Berlin, I can safely say that German students are insane. At least when it comes to politics. Since the sixties, generation after generation of German students have been hurling abuse, stones and the occasional petrol bomb at the police, McDonald’s restaurants and other symbols of fascism. This tradition is still very much alive and seems to be the standard thing to do in Berlin as a student. I spent last year working in Berlin, and can honestly say that I have never seen a place which is so politically charged. The area I lived in was described to me as the “anti-fascist heartland”,. That is, a place where people with short hair are frowned upon and the beer and vegan food flow freely. I didn’t know that the city was carved up along political lines to such an extent. It was almost as if the wall hadn’t fallen at all.

“The beer and vegan food flow freely” The majority of people living or squatting in the area are either students or graduates. Everyone seems part of some movement: be it the ‘Antifa’, i.e. the ones with balaclavas who riot and throw stuff, or the ‘Guerilla Gardeners’, i.e. the ones who craftily destroy the system from within by planting flowers. Political apathy is just

“Activism isn’t about being polite”

not an option in Berlin. I thought it was brilliant that students, who genuinely cared about politics, were prepared to make an effort and take risks to make themselves heard. Now, back in Sheffield, students just aren’t like that. Which is not to say that we Sheffield students are politically apathetic, far from it. The difference is the way in which we aim to change whatever we disagree with.

Sure, we have our Union societies, and groups like the Sheffield Activist Network, who sparked controversy last year by sitting in an empty house for a few days. Nothing though, seems as eye-catching as what the students in Berlin get up to. For instance, while I was there, roughly 800 students occupied the main lecture theatre of the Humboldt University because it had been made more difficult to get on to a master’s degree

course. Students went on to co-ordinate similar occupations in over 30 other universities across Germany and Austria, and made a real impact. The occupation of Humboldt’s lecture theatre lasted for most of the academic year, with the lecture theatre being turned an open student space for debate. I have a sneaky suspicion that in Sheffield, students would have grumbled for a bit and that would have

been that. A couple of years ago I remember seeing two stalls out on the concourse: one from a pro-Palestine group and another which sympathised with Israel. Surprisingly, the two groups barely looked at each other. In Berlin, having two groups of students with conflicting views in such proximity would have resulted in riot police doing their best to keep the two groups apart. What I’m trying to say is that at The University

D.A.R.T.S.

We could take a leaf out of the Berliner’s book and insert some ‘oomph’ into our student movements. Clearly, the energy that can be seen in Berlin, is lacking in our city. For example, the only real instance of any form of political activism I can recall, that leans towards what students do in Berlin, was the occupation of the Hicks building in 2009 in support of the situation in Gaza. Although by comparison, students in Berlin had at that point already reacted to the same issue by causing a small scale riot and set a Burger King on fire. I don’t condone their use of vandalism, but at the same time I have to admit it brought a lot of attention to the Gaza issue. The occupation of the Hicks building did for once succeed in bringing attention to something they felt strongly about. This I think is a really positive thing. Daring to be more of a pain in the arse, in order to catch the attention of those who have the ability to make a positive impact, is something we should all learn. And it should be encouraged by universities rather than discouraged.

Forge Press takes its satirical aim

Guess who has been putting the twit into Twitter? Meet Captain Buddy Sheffield, the official guide for freshers during Intro 2010. His debut tweet at least got this Comment Editor excited: “Flex muscles: Check. Wax chest hairs: Check. I think I’m ready, do I speak into this microphone or this one? Oh we’re live? Wow. Ahem. Hi...” We knew students were getting younger, but has it really come to this?

Gems include: “My phone spell check corrects Ed Miliband to Ed Militant. Should I tell the Daily Mail?” We feel duty-bound to We appreciate the insight point you in the direction into the busy and intriguing of Education Officer Joe work of the Sabbatical Oliver’s Twitter feed. Officers.

Oliver helpfully tweets everything from embarassing quotes by fellow Officers (Welfare Officer Nikki Bowater on motivating student volunteers: ‘What about when people are just shit?’) to his meeting with Vice Chancellor Keith Burnett in the toilets of a conference. Dignity, always dignity. Cast your eyes to the right, and witness our personal favourite so far.

“When I was trying to learn British ways I watched Hollyoaks as an educational tool.” - Franco-American Union President Josh Forstenzer, as tweeted by Education Officer Joe Oliver. Scary.


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Editorials Two-year degrees make University time is so much for ‘academic sweatshops’ more than mere study Clare Fraser

A new degree structure is threatening the academic tradition. The new fasttrack option would give the same qualification after only two years of study instead of the conventional three. Time is saved by teaching through the long summer vacation and fitting extra tuition into the term time week. One of the great attractions of a university like Sheffield is the opportunity to develop new interests and establish independence, alongside a flexible academic schedule which has neither the restrictions of school nor the rigours of full time work. Speed may be useful for those taking time out from work, but it is uncommon to find a student who wants to minimise their time at university. Ostensibly a response to the greater number of recession-hit and mature students, this provides degree-level qualification as quickly and cheaply as possible. For all the talk of ‘momentum’ and ‘stimulation’ cited by the University of Buckingham, one of the HE institutions offering two-year degrees, the reason for their necessity is obviously and fundamentally economic. Clearly, it is advantageous for students who are struggling to pay for the costs of university to be able to enter the job market a year earlier, and pay one less year of fees. But the non-financial price

 for this is considerable. The introduction of twoyear degrees implies that the long summer holiday is an artefact of an outmoded education system. Along with the supposedly relaxed pace of the term time week, this is a luxury ill-afforded in the current economic climate.

“Students stand to lose far more than they gain” But this ignores the fact that university is much more than just a degree. Many of the lessons learnt at university are not just academic, and many of the opportunities and activities currently available to regular degree students would not be possible in the intensity of

the two-year degree. It is a trade-off in which students stand to lose far more than they gain. Vince Cable, the coalition government’s Business Secretary, is unsurprisingly in favour of the two-year degree. He has said that university degrees will have to be ‘leaner and more focused on results’, and that the two-year degree is ‘good value for money’. This makes them sound worryingly like “academic sweatshops”, as Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College union, notoriously commented. She also expressed fears that two-year degrees would lead to ‘teachers on the dole, and students in larger classes’, thereby downgrading the quality of education and Britain’s global research competitiveness. Thankfully, though it may become popular among

Photograph: David Sillitoe mature undergraduates, it seems unlikely that the two-year degree will become widespread. It is hard to imagine the University of Sheffield trading in its excellent extra-curricular credentials to offer degrees on the cheap. However, universities cannot hope to avoid the spending cuts sweeping the public sector. Staff cuts have already become hard reality across the country, Sheffield included. Even if this scheme is thwarted, there are still threats of reducing research grants, the closure of some universities, introduction of graduate tax, increased top-up fees and students living at home. It seems that one way or another, the government are not prepared to cosset universities, and thereby students, from the gloom of the recession for much longer.

Welcome to the first issue of Forge Press for this academic year. For some, you’ll not only be new to the University but also to Sheffield. It’s a beautiful green city, though its winters can be cruel, and I cannot encourage you enough to maximise your time as a student here by bursting out of the campus bubble and heading beyond its boundaries with an open mind and wide-open eyes. Pick up every flyer, try anything once, and become part of the city, not just the shiny new Union building. There’s a heap of stuff that you’ll never pick up from a student handbook, and that the rest of us continuing students have come to learn. In the spirit of kindness, here’s a few points for starters: It is of the most vital importance that you learn, and learn swiftly, that you don’t want to wear clothing or footwear of value to Corporation on a Wednesday night. Don’t lean on the walls either. If you’re going to buy a pint of Coke from the Union bars, purchase it from Bar One and not Interval; it’s cheaper. Yes, it’s completely ridiculous, but that’s the Union for you. If you’re in the vicinity of the Arts Tower, value your modesty, and are sporting a skirt or dress, then beware the blessed building’s wind tunnel-esque surrounds. Many an innocent passer-by has been transformed into an inadvertent flasher by a sudden gust. There’s so much more to know, but that’s exactly what your degree is for. Well, aside from the academic stuff, which is fairly important, too.

We want you for a new recruit

It is without a smidgen of shame that I appropriate the remainder of this column to explain a little about Forge Press and the rest of the Forge Media clan. There’s also Forge Radio, Forge TV, and ForgeToday.com, and you can get involved at every level of their production. This here Forge Press is the editorially independent student newspaper of the University and Union; it exists to give students like you a voice amongst the layers of management and bureaucracy in these establishments. However, a small committee like ours cannot begin to make a credible claim to be fully representative of such a large and diverse student population. And that’s why we need you. Forge Press is produced entirely by its student contributors, so if you’re a writer, artist, photographer, blogger or designer, then come along to visit our stall at the Activities Fair in the Octagon to sign up to our mailing lists. We’d love to see you at the Forge Media welcome meeting on Monday September 27 at 5pm in Dainton LT1, and at our many meetings throughout the academic year. Email contribute@forgetoday.com from then on to find out more.

Forge Press Editor, Media Hub, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TG, forgepress@forgetoday.com

International students bring Are league tables all they’re cracked up to be? value to Sheffield Mikey Smith According to immigration minister Damian Green, the number of foreign students let into the UK is “unsustainable”. Apparently of the 185,000 students who came into the UK in 2004, 21% were still in the country five years later. This was presented in such a way as to suggest these are people remaining illegally after the expiration of their visas. As expected, he neglects to mention that of those 21%, a third have stayed

here for further study (on long courses, such as medicine), and the rest had either married British citizens or had been issued with work visas. Neither did he mention the estimated £5.6 billion value to the British economy added by international students, and the huge contribution they make to university funding through fees. Combine this with the reduction in student places and the cuts to University funding, and one has to wonder about the coalition government’s commitment to improving access to education. Of course I would never

Jo Wendel

suggest that a Conservativeled administration would try and engineer a situation where only the rich were able to go to university, but if government won’t pay for it, and they don’t want international students to pay for it, who will?

Yet again, league tables have shown how unreliable and subjective they are. One week the national media are reporting that a British university, Cambridge, is the best university in the world, beating even Harvard. The next week we see reports about how poorly British universities have done in another ranking. Suddenly the already kneeling universities are threatened even further by looming budget cuts.

All the while tuition fee advocates use the same Times ranking as an example of how higher fees are needed if Britain wants to keep up internationally. The US managed to get more than twice as many universities onto the Times Higher Education World Universities Ranking. But most rankings are seriously flawed. As worldly as their rankings claim to be, they tend to be English language heavy. The UK has 29 universities on the Times top 200 ranking, but Germany only has 14. This year The Times’ criteria changed to be less focused on heritage and

reputation, and more based on research influence. And Oxford and Cambridge instantly fell to joint 6th place. Have they really been rating universities simply based on former merits all these years? University league tables might not be able to roll over or give paw on request, but they can do just about everything else to serve a PR purpose. The University of Sheffield always seems to fare well in the Academic Ranking of World Universities carried out by a Shanghai University. No wonder that’s the ranking published on our University website.


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exploiting the dream Work experience should be an invaluable way of gaining industry know-how, but for many it’s becoming a bankbreaking, soul-destroying rite of passage. Forge Press investigates. Words & pictures: Lucie Boase


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A

re you being paid?”; “Of course not!” The waiter in my favourite Beirut café was incredulous. I spent a month this summer interning on a well-known Englishlanguage newspaper in Lebanon; writing, researching and wandering the winding streets popping questions to unsuspecting passersby in a peculiar mismatch of languages. The thought that I might receive some recompense for my efforts – other than some self-esteemboosting bylines - did not even enter my mind. Work experience has become the over-arching spectre of our age. Ask any student or recent graduate and they’ll tell you that a degree has become merely a piece of paper in the eyes of would-be employers, superseded by that other allimportant piece of paper: a CV, preferably one bursting with details of experience gained from work placements and internships. The idea of work experience is at heart a simple one: giving industry hopefuls the chance to get a feeling for their future profession, and build up some useful skills in the process. But many people question its premise at a time when scores of students and graduates are forced to undergo unpaid work experience for months on end in order to render themselves attractive to potential employers, while companies reap the benefits of not having to employ qualified staff to carry out the same tasks. And just like the lucrative gapyear market, where volunteers are encouraged to fork out thousands to participate in deserving projects overseas, the murky world of work experience has gone full-circle too. Last year, a week-long internship at American Vogue was auctioned off at the sum of $42,500, proving that we’re not just desperate for work experience, and prepared to do it for free, but we’re now willing to pay for the privilege. A recent poll by the National Council for Work Experience (NCWE) found that two thirds (66%) of young people feel obliged to work for free because of the recession, and of that same group (some 1,500 students and graduates), the experience leaves two thirds feeling exploited or undervalued. The potential for companies engaging graduates in unpaid, longterm internships has only increased in the light of the recession, a situation which the Low Pay Commission, a government watchdog, scrutinized at the end of last year. Although some internships pay travel expenses or a stipend for lunch, the majority do not, and many commentators complain that job opportunities are skewed towards those who can afford to live in London and work for free for months on end, thus excluding many from less stable financial backgrounds. But the reality is that many industries are based in London; living there is often not just a choice but a necessity. As a 2010 graduate now working for a well-regarded magazine notes, “It’s expensive, sometimes depressing and definitely exploitative, but for the lucky few who have family in London and some savings left over for frivolous necessities (like food), it works.” The Institute for Public Policy Research published a paper this July

“ warning that employers who take on unpaid interns are breaking the law, according to the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. As Kayte Lawton, the report’s coauthor, explains, “There is a mistaken belief that employers can take on people on a voluntary basis if both sides agree – but that’s not what the law says. If an intern is doing work for a company, then they need to be paid.” The problem is widespread and has permeated every sector; even MPs have been highlighted for violating the rules, with 18,000 hours being clocked up per week by unpaid interns working inside parliament, creating a saving of more than £5m a year on the national minimum wage. Brendan Caldwell, a recent graduate of the University of Sheffield, highlights the absurdity of the Catch-22 situation most graduates find themselves caught up in, in his blog post ‘The Internment of Youth’: “For want of money, we cannot hope to get an internship; ...for want of an internship, we cannot hope to get experience; for want of experience we cannot hope to get money.” “We cannot eat lines on a CV”, he goes on, before advocating that interns sue their employers or take them to employment tribunals if they refuse to pay the minimum wage. Some believe that demands for employers to pay interns a minimum of £2.50 an hour are unrealistic and could spell the end of work experience, as struggling companies will be unable to afford the extra cost. It is thought instead that the norm will become something more along the lines of the American Vogue internship - although hopefully without the astronomical price-tag - with interns paying rather than being paid to work. After all, people already invest huge figures in studying vocational courses, and work experience is often a much more effective method of learning. Talk of ‘exploitation’ may seem to many more suited to describing the experience of five-year-olds in sweatshops, not those who undertake months of unpaid work in cushy offices in order to get their foot on the career ladder. But the financial aspect is just one, albeit ugly, part of a many-faceted problem. Internet message boards are awash with interns complaining about being under-appreciated, unnoticed, or only charged with the most basic and menial of tasks. A friend of mine, now a successful features writer for The Times, told me that the crowning moment of his own greasy pole ascent occurred during his work experience stint on The Guardian after scooping a student media award. “I sat for a week doing almost nothing, completely ignored by my section editor. At the end of the week he came to see me, checked he’d got my name right and said, “I’ve got a job for you.” “Then he placed a dry cleaning ticket on my desk, and told me to head off on a 10 minute walk to get his suit. I honestly felt like crying.” This anecdote is far from unique; most young people can tell similar tales of the many mind-numbing hours which are wiled away on photocopying or tea-making duty. However, some view such qualms as smacking of dog-in-the-manger. As Nicky Woolf, in his ‘Comment

My section editor ignored me for the week, then asked me to fetch his dry cleaning Times feature writer

We cannot eat lines on a CV Brendan Caldwell, University of Sheffield graduate

is Free’ piece in The Guardian, observes, “The hard truth is that interns are rarely all that useful... If you’re canny, you can pitch ideas, which you may be allowed to see through. If not, then you’re just a burden.” But arguably, the intrinsic value of work experience is lost if there’s no authentic experience to be gained; employers ought only to take on people to do work experience if there’s something useful for them to do. One 2010 graduate I spoke to takes the view that work experience placements are what you make of them. “People moan about unpaid work experience, but really it’s the only way. “Living and working in London for free appears exorbitant and exploitative, but enterprising would-be hacks can turn a stint at a national into a handful of bylines and a set of important e-mail addresses.” Now working for an international news agency, he puts his grail-like position straight out of university less down to good fortune than honest, hard graft and vigorous networking. Marie Kinsey, Director of Postgraduate Journalism at the University of Sheffield, takes a similar stance, believing that it is just as much the responsibility of the employee as the employer to make work experience as fruitful as possible. “Many students don’t prepare themselves properly for work placements; that does no-one any favours,” she says. “When you’re doing work experience, be proactive – don’t always wait to be given something. A placement is a privilege and not a right. Your attitude counts.” A growing number are eager to give voice to this issue, but it’s still difficult to find anyone who is willing to be personally identified, for fear of damaging their future job prospects. The general consensus seems to be to keep quiet and put up with the situation, and hope that a job materialises at the end of it. However, as companies rely more and more on the flow of cheap or free labour in the current financial climate, some prominent figures have started to add their support to campaign to change the current state of affairs. Veteran documentary maker Paul Watson has put his weight behind one such drive, the Television Workforce Rights Advocacy Petition (TV Wrap), which aims to force changes to working practices within the television industry. Say what you will about work experience – but few will deny that it’s still an important stage in the process towards getting a job. Emma Gaffney completed a Masters in Web Journalism this year, and has spent her university holidays during the last few years travelling up and down the country to attend work placements. “I wouldn’t know half the things I do if it weren’t for doing them,” she says. “Work placements are also a fantastic way to make valuable contacts; many people I know got their first graduate job because of making good impressions on placements.”


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Sticky business Sheffield Hallam students Jonny Hall and Sam Halkyard tell Forge Press about their business venture, Sour Jam Words: Harriet Di Francesco Pictures: Joseph Feather

T

he recent surge in the number of graduates has left many students pessimistic about their future employment. Combined with the recession, starting your own business seems unimaginable. Yet relaxing with a pint at the West End Pub are two young entrepreneurs who over the past year have fashioned their own clothing company from scratch. Jonny Hall and Sam Halkyard, fourth year Hallam students, spent their placement year nursing a fledgling t-shirt company called Sour Jam. “We had the option to do a work placement but they were either in Barnsley or just rubbish,” Hall says. Studying Marketing, Communications and Advertising, the boys were given the opportunity to spend a year getting work experience. As well as this, Sheffield Hallam runs a scheme whereby budding business men and women can receive a bursary to put their skills into practice. “We received over two grand each which we put straight into Sour Jam.” Coming up with the idea was straight-forward. There was no Dragons’ Den sales pitch or profit forecasting involved. Hall and Halkyard were able to receive funding with just a basic idea of what they wanted to do. Telling it straight: “We thought, ‘everybody wears T-shirts.’ Plus we know a lot of amazing artists through university who were eager to provide designs.” Having contacts

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We thought, ‘everybody wears T-shirts’ Sam Halkyard

that were willing to contribute kept costs low. “As well as providing a platform for artists to express themselves, being employed by us boosts other students’ CVs,” Halkyard explains. Fuelled by the idea of creating something that served a purpose., the duo was not driven by making profits. Instead they were inspired by a niche in the market, providing other university students with the opportunity to express themselves and become more employable. This concept itself is the company’s unique selling point. “We just knew so many potential artists, it seemed obvious. We could make a business whilst they can add to their portfolio,” they say. Whereas many students despair over the thought of unpaid graduate internships, this relationship sees no one getting exploited. After they graduate Hall and Halkyard have the option to remain self-employed and expand their business straight away. Their course, arguably one of the so-called “Mickey Mouse” degrees, has provided them with the tools to be good middlemen. Along with university funding, Hall and Halkyard have developed in ways that many Law students could not compare to. Having started with no practical experience whatsoever the pair have come a long way. “To tell you the truth it wasn’t difficult,” says Halkyard. “The biggest task was the web site but we managed to find a friend to design it.” With the miracles of the internet their site receives hits from across the world. The name of the brand itself is sui generis, coming first place on a Google search. “I was just a fan

You just got to give it the beans Jonny Hall

of the word ‘jam’ at the time so we literally went from there.” It sounds easy. In fact, both are very laid back for full-time entrepreneurs. The boys are proud of their creation. “Sour Jam is a proper company, tax-registered and everything. We’re so tempted to keep it going. It’s opened so many doors; we could branch off in so many ways and start making some real money.” Hall concedes that he’d be sad if they abandoned their efforts. “It’s such a good feeling seeing people wearing your product. But most importantly the best bit is being your own boss.” According to their story, combining employment and creativity isn’t as hard as the newspapers are suggesting. Halkyard gives his view on the issue: “All those things you want to do, you can do with a business. At the moment we’re not filling our pockets but we could.” Can anyone do it? “You just got to give it the beans.” Jonny answered. “As long as you know your market and you can do something different there’s always a lot of money to be made.” Their message is to be confident and have initiative. Ultimately there will be funding available somewhere. “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Hall asks, with a grin. “Mistakes are brilliant.” The boys maintain that you can only learn from doing wrong. Although anyone could do it, not everyone would. “No doubt it takes a certain character. I guess it’s not as simple as having a good idea, some people are just happy to be employed by somebody else.”

Above: Sam Halkyard (left) and Jonny Hall (right) discuss the future of their business in Sheffield.

The best bit is being your own boss Jonny Hall

Halkyard concurs: “You need to be taken seriously by other companies for it to work.” Neither commented on any particular hardships and there was not even a mention of the current economic climate: “We haven’t felt it. We have nothing to compare it to and as far as we’re concerned most students have the free money to spend, recession or no recession.” Halkyard’s words are a far cry from statistics issued by the Higher Education Policy Institute in the past year. Unemployment among graduates aged below 24 rose by 25 percent from December 2008 to December 2009. There is obviously a ‘graduate problem’ in the UK, yet the duo have found a personal solution: “You just got to be positive. Whether you do medicine or psychology, there’s always funding available for creative minds, you just got to look for it.” Sat in front of a mural designed and painted by one of their employees, the boys are confident about their future. Even in an unstable economy with rising unemployment rates, small businesses continue to survive. Sheffield is a hot bed for artistic creativity; the city showcases a variety of street and live art. Sour Jam, alongside many other nascent enterprises, has profited from the Steel City’s character. Applying this example to a broader context, entrepreneurship is neither dead nor dormant. As thousands of students fret about their graduate prospects, there are opportunities in the business world that remain unexplored. Although the full story remains untold, for characters such as Jonny and Sam, the outlook is far less nebulous and daunting.

Below: T-shirt designs by Tache, Josiah and LIX


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Say hello! TO FORGE MEDIA. Whether you’re a budding journalist, broadcaster, photographer, presenter, graphic designer, camera operator, radio producer, director, web developer, podcaster, artist or out-and-out media mogul, you’ve come to the right place. Forge Media is made up of Forge Radio, Forge TV, Forge Press and ForgeToday.com. You don’t need any prior experience to get involved and we’re always on the lookout for new contributors throughout the year. To find out more, come along to our welcome meeting or email: contribute@forgetoday.com

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Life in the balance

In remote villages rooted in Africa’s harshest lands, the medication shelves run desperately low. Those shelves are instead stocked with bottles of Coca-Cola. Forge Press speaks to the man who wants to make sense of this juxtaposition, and who can correct the balance

Words: Millie Travis Pictures: Ellie Stonely, Tim Dench, and Bertie BosrĂŠdon


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FEATURES

I

n the late 1980s, a group of aid workers travelled to Zambia as part of a British Aid programme to deliver supplies and offer support to the African nation’s community. The aid workers came across utter desperation. Drought, civil unrest, and a disconnection from the global community had left the people of Zambia in a state of plight – one in five children would die before their fifth birthday. Yet when the mothers of Zambia’s children went searching for medicine, all they could find were bottles of Coca-Cola. Crate-loads of the stuff. And the aid workers found them too. One of those workers was a man named Simon Berry. In 2008, Berry launched ColaLife. The project aims to solve old, inherent issues with a new, collaborative approach. It joins the dots between those empty medicine shelves and the affluent supplies of Coke. “Our ultimate goal is to contribute to the reduction of child mortality,” explains Berry. “We want to show how collaboration can work across sectors to really achieve something good for this world”. The collaboration Berry talks about is his aspiration of using Coca-Cola’s delivery chain to simultaneously deliver aid packages. “I was thinking about somehow modifying the crates, adding pockets at the side of each crate,” he says, referring back to the time of his idea’s conception shortly after his experience with the British Aid programme. “But I knew the idea would be too much. Coca-Cola would almost definitely not be willing to do that.” In order to ensure its success, the fundamental principle of ColaLife is to slip into Coke’’s delivery chain, not ask for change. It is a shrewd observation when you consider the nature of the company ColaLife aims to collaborate with. And collaboration is the word that Berry and his team keep in mind. “I thought again and in 2008, I thought of replacing perhaps one bottle in every ten crates with a ColaLife bottle containing aid. “But that was also no good because, as my wife who also cofounded the project pointed out to me, replacing a bottle would visually weaken the brand – it would undermine the label and again, the idea would not be supported. ‘Today we have the AidPod. A container designed to fit between the bottles when they sit in the crates.” When talking about what goes in the pods, Berry refers to ‘social products’.

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FEATURES This includes contraception, oral rehydration salts, water purification tablets, and vitamin supplements. ColaLife also plans to trial a New Mothers Kit; a specific pod which contains helpful products such as supplements and sterile wipes. “We also hope to include things such as shampoo, little treats that make a difference to their quality of life.” The project was originally planned on supplying medicines in the pods, but research has thrown light on how this would not be possible. “You have to take into consideration things like the delivery chain not being cold – and most medicines need to be refrigerated” explains Berry. Research into what the pods contain, and the redesign of the pods themselves, is all part of the evolution of this project. Its ability to endure such changes signals a project that is sustainable, and therefore promising. But the key part to any sustainable project is its support. When Berry launched his idea in 2008, he did it by using platforms on social networking sites. Before then, he argues, before social networking took off, there was no way he could have achieved the attention,

We want to show how collaboration can work across sectors to achieve something good for this world Simon Berry, Founder

Below: Model AidPod in a Coca-Cola crate. Far Below: Simon Berry, founder of ColaLife

and therefore the success, the project has received today. “Nothing was ever viral,” he insists, “Facebook has been steady. We get blips following public events or media coverage. But we do have nearly 9,000 members on our group and nearly 3,000 on our page, which is good going I think!” It wasn’t long after the launch online that the project caught the attention of the BBC. Berry consequently was able to broadcast his ideas on Radio 4, signalling the biggest ‘blip’ for the group, and vitally, the attention of Coca-Cola itself. With ColaLife making its voice heard, it started to attract the support of highly respected academics who wanted to see the project go further and move onto the next stage – a trial. “We’re looking for people to support the idea of a trial – an independently evaluated trial of the ColaLife idea. “We do have a couple of high profile individuals such as Dr Ian Goldman, who specialises in strategic and development planning, and Professor Don Nutbeam, Professor of Public Health and also Vice-Chancellor at Southampton University.” University participation is something Berry is keen to emphasise as an immensely beneficial asset to ColaLife. The University of Warwick has been the first to establish a student support group, organising awareness projects and fund raising events. Yet despite the positive attention the project receives, ColaLife has also had to face questions surrounding its very nature – that it works in direct cooperation with Coca-Cola. The company has been heavily criticised in the past for hindering development in poor countries, in particular how it causes severe water depletion in the places water is most needed. Berry answers that these concerns miss the objective of ColaLife: “Now, campaigning against these multi-nationals is an important task and a task that I respect” he argues. “But ColaLife isn’t about that. “We say ‘Look, we have a problem, but we have a way to fix it. We can use the commercial structure ...we can do this!’” Another concern facing ColaLife is ensuring the AidPods arrive at their destination safely. “We have ideas. We’ve looked at the principles of the Coca Cola delivery chain, what we see is a financial motivation for everyone involved at each stage of the chain. “That’s also how corruption is avoided in the drugs trade. A financial motivation would also persuade those crates with aid in them to be prioritised over those without. Therefore more aid would be delivered.” The technological revolution since the 1980s has also provided a solution to this potential obstacle. Satellite phones could be given to a representative from each community as well as checkpoints within the delivery chain. This would allow the pods and their contents to be registered regularly up until their arrival, and also enable the financial reward to be given. “This is another reason why the project could not have survived before technology,” Berry reminds me. “In the 1980s there was no way we could have used satellite phones, let alone hand them out in Africa.” Berry has recently returned from the ColaLife Participation Ride where over the course of 8 days he as well as a small group of ColaLife supporters, have cycled from Boulogne to Biarritz, a total of 696 miles. The team has not only managed to achieve their sponsorship target, but exceed it as funds raised are expected to reach £6000. The money generated will allow the ColaLife team to travel to Africa and to meet the local key stakeholders and start initialising the next stage - a trial. “We plan to make a two week visit to we hope Zambia. The first week will

In the 1980s there was no way we could have used satellite phones, let alone hand them out in Africa Simon Berry, Founder

be about meeting people; talking to those who will benefit, to those who will be involved. And then the second week we’ll bring everyone together into a workshop. “These stakeholders, the people who live and work there, they are the people who are going to be directly affected by the project and so we want, and need to collaborate with them in creating and designing a fully functioning trial.” Collaboration and co-operation, that is the theme that runs through our conversation. But how far does that go in terms of the future? Does Simon mind if other multi-nationals want to take the idea? “We don’t want to put up barriers. In fact, we’re keen that other multinationals take inspiration from what can hopefully achieve and to practice it themselves. “That way aid will be gradually more readily available throughout the world.” However, it seems to me ColaLife is a project that is not just about working together, but also about development; development in working together, but also development in technology. Yet there still exists one atrocity that has not developed since Simon first travelled to Zambia in 1980: one in five children still do not reach their fifth birthday.

Above: Children with a model AidPod in Tanzania. Right: Coca-Cola distribution in Zambia


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Lifestyle

Places to shop The Dram Shop, Commonside Probably the most extensively stocked off licence in Sheffield, selling tipples from all around the world. Antique, Devonshire Street A treasure trove of unbelievably cheap jewellery. It’s worth a visit, but take cash.

Arcade, Division Street Sells lots of kooky random goods and cute jewellery and clothes, as well as prints by their artists. Beanies, Barber Road Vegetable shopping has never been as enjoyable! The vegetables are cheap and fresh and they also sell good quality vegan produce.

Wavelength Music, London Road A record store that’s popular with,

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Fashion Food & Drink Health & Fitness Technology Sex & Relationships

Your guide to independent Sheffield You can visit any city in the country and spend your nights drinking in Vodka Revs and your days shopping in Debenhams with a Starbucks in hand. The convenience and constancy of chain stores is ever alluring. Lifestyle suggests, however, that you ditch the corporations and, this year, investigate the shops, cafes, bars

FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

The real Steel City Places to sip coffee and eat Thyme Cafe, Broomhill Delicious deli fare and a relaxed atmosphere: it’s pricy, so take your parents and get them to pay! Its evening meals are amazing, too.

and attractions that are exclusive to the fine city of Sheffield, discovering what it really has to offer. We decided to make exploring the Steel City a little easier for you, so called upon our lovely contributors to share the hidden gems they have uncovered. Here is our guide to the best of independent Sheffield.

Cream, Broomhill A café perfect for meeting friends for that coffee and catch up. There’s also an art gallery upstairs. Nonnas, Ecclesall Road Amazing Italian restaurant; we recommend the gnocchi. Sahib, West Street From the outside, in comparison to West Street’s shiny bars, it looks a little unkempt but Sahib serves some of the best and most

reasonably priced Indian food in Sheffield centre.

UK Mama, Broomhill Loved essentially for the name, this Caribbean restaurant has won awards for its African cuisine.

Jabu, London Road A wacky restaurant for the adventurous. You select a couple of soups/stocks in which you cook a variety of meats/veg yourself at the table. Choices are as unusual as Japanese lotus fruit and frogs legs. Noodle Inn, London Road A Chinese restaurant that’s popular with young Chinese students, which is most definitely a good sign.

Rude Shipyard, Abbeydale Road A welcoming atmosphere, books to read/buy/borrow, fancy tea flavours like Russian Caravan (pretty nice),

and good food, including a bangin’ Guinness Cake.

Pho ‘68, London Road A modern restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese food. Cafe Bragazzis, Abbeydale Road Good if you like your panini fairly authentically Italian and your decor leather, retro and luxurious.

Fancie, Sharrow Vale Road A pretty tea shop, known for its delicious cupcakes. There’s also an outlet in the Union.

Cocoa, Ecclesall Road A quaint ‘chocolate boutique and tea lounge’ that hosts knitting nights and chocolate tasting. Well worth a look. Northern Sole, Broomhill The most legendary student

takeaway in Sheffield. Fact.

BB’s, Division Street A friendly Italian restaurant with great cheesecake. It’s a favourite with students, mainly because it’s BYOW. Bring your own wine. RISE, West Street Amazing pizzas cooked in an open stone oven. And it’s BOGOF, Monday – Thursday.

Greedy Greek Deli, Sharrow Vale Road The best fresh Greek ingredients, to eat in or take away, to cook for your housemates. Andrew’s Cafe Tea Rooms, Chapel Walk Andrew’s offers old school afternoon tea with triangular sandwiches and hunks of cake and has the air of your granny’s living room.

the music crowd.

Party On, Division Street First port of call for any fancy dress party.

Places to relax and be entertained

Sakis, Division Street High end high street brands for the trendy man.

Rare and Racy, Devonshire Street A quaint shop filled with second hand books and records.

Weston Park Museum, Western Bank Free museum with changing exhibitions and lovely park too.

Within Reason, Devonshire Street Designer kitchenware, trendy homeware, furniture and jewellery. Great for birthday gifts.

Freshmans, Carver Street Despite rumours that some of their ‘vintage’ items have come from TJ Hughes, it’s still the best and friendliest shop selling good quality alternative, sometimes vintage, fashion.

Rollerpalooza, Skate Central Held on October 8th, it’s a combination of bands, booze and a roller disco, a fun filled evening!

Places to drink and dance Bungalows and Bears, Division Street Pricy but cool bar. The perfect first date venue. Often has live music, quirky events and board games - anyone for Jenga? It has strong cider, strawberry beer and lovely burgers, too. DQ, Fitzwilliam Street A tiny club that gets some big names playing. It’s the hang out of many of Sheffield’s hipsters and holds many an alternative dance night. Penelope’s, Arundel Gate Home of Na Zdrove!, one of the most unique nights in Sheffield. Playing Balkan beats and gypsy brass, punk and dub, it far from your average Union club night!

Dempseys, Hereford Street Sheffield’s premier gay club. Has an underground feel, two floors, cheap drinks,

Botanical Gardens Perfect for sunbathing on a hot day, or just some alfresco socialising with friends.

bubblegum music and a cage.

The Folk Train On the fourth Tuesday of each month, the 19.14 train to Manchester is overtaken by a folk band. Reaching The Rambler Pub in Edale at 19:47 the music session continues there until the last train home.

Corporation, next to Opal One Usually home to Sheffield’s metal heads, but cheap drinks and entry in school uniform lure in the student crowd on a Wednesday.

The Cremorne, London Road Nice traditional-looking pub. Pretty trendy and has a range of ales to try. It has lots of live music and hosts an indie night once a month called Death by Shoes.

Bank Street Arts, Bank Street A lovely veggie café and exhibitions of local art: a nice place to be.

The Harley, Glossop Road A lovely little bar and gig venue, this place is almost constantly open, definitely a good thing. Common Room, Division Street Technically a sports and pool bar, but a classy one at that. Good food and even better cocktails.

Plug, Matilda Street On Thursday it hosts student fun, playing a mix of music, but Plug also has tonnes of live music. A popular gig venue, keep an eye on who’s coming.

The Showroom, Paternoster Row One of the largest independent cinemas in Europe with four cosy screens. There’s also a nice restaurant too. Art: Natasha Maisey

Castle Market, City Centre Even if you don’t want a cheap cooked breakfast or something that used to be sold in Woolworths, Castle Market is worth a visit to see its eerie architecture, random exhibitions and unusual cliental.


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Lifestyle

INTRO WEEK - YOUR SURVIVAL TIPS Don’t believe the hype Trust us, very few people spend every night drinking from a funnel, having unprotected sex, starting brawls and urinating on war memorials, don’t feel you need to do those things.

A new academic year is about to begin, and a new horde of students have made their way to the Steel City for it. Yes, Freshers’ Week is upon us once again. Out of both nostalgia and nosiness, Lifestyle asked Sheffield students about their Freshers’ experiences: the myths, the truths and the stories they’d rather forget.

But do get involved Whether it’s going on the RAG bar crawl, organising a flat meal, joining a society or wearing fancy dress, do make an effort and don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Don’t go crazy and label everything in the fridge Remember you have to live with the people in your accomodation all year. But do tidy up and make an effort not to ‘borrow’ other people’s food without asking This is harder than first appears when you are drunkenly craving a piece of toast at 3am.

Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people People want to meet you in Freshers’ Week. Go and meet people in the other accomodation around you and on your course - you may just find your best friends there. Don’t get so drunk that you vomit or pass out Strangers don’t want to look after you, you’ll probably end up with a horrible nickname and you’ll have missed out on valuable friend making time. Good one. Venture outside the Union There are lots of things to do to entertain yourself around Sheffield. Explore.

If you are too lazy to go exploring . . . or to read a book, buy Age of Empires, Rollercoaster Tycoon or Football Manager; you’ll have a surprising amount of time to kill. Accept flyers and coupon booklets You can find some great offers and big discounts on hair cuts and the Freshers’ Fair has free pizza, doughnuts and spatulas (v.important). Remember to register... For your course and the health service. Maybe buy your books?

Think before you act Don’t be rude to anyone. You will most definitely bump into everyone you meet again later in your time in Sheffield. On a similar note, it’s probably for the best not to pull anyone who lives in your flat…

Most of all, as cliché as it may be, be yourself If you aren’t honest about who you are and what you really want to do in the week, you won’t end up friends with the right people.

“When I was a Fresher . . .”

Photo: Sarah Watson Natasha Daniels started at the University in 2009 and studies English Language and Linguistics My Freshers’ week was a disaster. The day before I arrived at university, my friends at home decided to take me out for a ‘sayonara meal’ at a Japanese restaurant. All was well and good until I got up on that morning, and proceeded to throw up all over my neatly packed boxes and then, an hour later, over my mum’s shoulder in the car. I finally arrived at Endcliffe, foot trapped in the seatbelt, and fell out right into the pathway of someone who would later become one of my best friends at uni. I eventually managed to lug my vomit-stained boxes upstairs, and met one of my flatmates who decided her herbal remedies would do me some good. Her aptly named ‘Nux Vom’ genuinely worked wonders - for the next ten minutes. I was so hyped up on the medicine (herbal and chemical!) I had taken, mixed with the obligatory first day wine, that I was talking nonsense. But it did teach me a lesson. First impressions can sometimes be entirely misleading. I thought it would be me making judgments about others, but I felt like I was being judged on a side of my personality that was just not me. Despite vomiting into the many hedgerows of Endcliffe after attempting a Cheeky Vimto, I actually made many friends.

but it was worth getting up early and staying out late, to meet everyone and try everything. Whether you’re experiencing Freshers’ Week for the first or fifteenth time: do that last tequila shot, put the traffic cone on your head, climb in the giant bin and definitely play the drinking game!

Phil Dodds is a third year Politics and Philosophy student and was a fresher in 2008 Freshers’ Week is a very strange thing. I had quite an antisocial flat, so there was no intense bonding to be done. This was, I think, a blessing, because it meant I could float around and do my own thing. I also had one or two friends from home that were just starting at Sheffield too, so I joined them and their new housemates for a couple of nights out. I explored the city in the day time too; quickly feeling at home. I think the most important thing is to keep busy. If, like me, you think you won’t love the nights at the Union, then have a look at what else is on and see if you can find someone who wants to go with you. If you can’t, just go anyway - you’ll probably enjoy it! Tim Wood is an English Literature student about to start his second year When I was left with a parting gift of £50 by my parents, I had an image in my mind of a week cloaked in a drunken haze, laced with shameless debauchery. However, I found that Intro Week is not quite as wild as those who have gone before would have you believe – at least not for the majority.

Photo: Sarah Mokrysz But, the first week is one to be embraced - it’s possibly the only time of year that almost everyone is going to be on the same page as you. Get out there and live it, you have all year to recover. Fay Guest is starting her second year of studying English Language and Linguistics I was absolutely terrified the night before I came to Sheffield. However, when I arrived, I met the best set of flatmates I could have hoped for, and had a brilliant time. We went out every night to the Union for the first week, and had loads of fun getting to know each other. University seems to be the only place on earth where it is socially acceptable to go and introduce yourself and become best friends with a complete stranger in the space of five minutes. Embrace it!

Sarah Mokrysz was a Fresher in 2008 and is studying Business Management On my first night one of my flatmates and I decided to stay in and unpack. While I may have missed out on a night out, decorating my room with pictures certainly helped with the homesickness. The first couple of days were a whirlwind of excitement and new discoveries. Everyone was so friendly and desperate to make those allimportant new friends.

Photo: Tim Wood

Sarah Watson is a third year English and Drama student My Freshers’ Week involved going to the Union nights out, getting drunk and desperately asking unsuspecting victims in the toilets if they were doing the same course as me. Of course, even if they were doing the same course they weren’t going to admit it to the crazy drunk girl. I suppose I was lucky in that I made a friend before I even got to Sheffield: on the YouGo website. I met my best friend Katie on there which meant I had someone to go out with on the first night and someone to be hungover with and watch Hairspray with the day after. Beth Main studies Chinese with Russian and is now in her third year Freshers was a daunting time and

Photo: Beth Main

Photo: Beth Main


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TRAVEL

I’m a student... get me out of here

Need a break from the Intro Week hype? Look no further Words: Caroline Vann Jones

I

f you don’t fancy straying too far from the Freshers action but still need a few hours of solace, then you’re in luck. The Sheffield Ski Village is only ten minutes from the main campus but with an isolated position high above the city and a chilled out atmosphere, it couldn’t feel further removed from it. The artificial ski slope is open from Wednesday through to Sunday (2 - 9pm on weekdays and all day at weekends) and although it’s not quite Val d’Isere, testing out the few short runs they do have is a relaxing way to pass an hour or two. Then it’s time to move on to the après ski in the village’s White Rock Bar which is full of alpine charm - well, as much alpine charm as you’re going to find in Sheffield anyway. The bar is open until 10pm and the outside deck is a great place to relax on a sunny evening, whilst admiring the city views below. With skiing prices starting from £9 for students and a taxi journey from the Students’ Union to the

resort costing around a fiver, this is a great way to have a (very) minibreak without breaking the bank or running up much mileage. If you’re keen to go a little further afield but without the stress of exploring a new city, then the Peak District is the perfect destination for a day’s getaway. The village of Hathersage in particular is one of the highlights of the Peaks and is popular with visitors to the area. Rumour has it that Little John of Robin Hood fame spent his last days here and is buried in the churchyard. On top of this, Hathersage is also the setting for the classic story of Jane Eyre. Charlotte Brontë was visiting a friend in the village when she found inspiration for her novel. Many landmarks mentioned in the story remain there today, including the George Inn (now known as the George Hotel) so if you happen to be a Brontë enthusiast, it doesn’t get much better than this. If the thought of a literary trail

Organising a trip is never easy and it’s often more difficult getting round to seeing those places nearby than planning a big trip abroad. You know they’ll always be there, so it keeps getting put off, and then it’s virtually impossible to find a day when everyone can go or a train ticket that everybody can afford. Well, thanks to the Union’s Give it a Go scheme, your organisational nightmare could be a thing of the past. At the beginning of every

semester, the Union release a plethora of activities for those of you wondering how best to get involved in university life. A particular highlight of Give it a Go is the organised day trips. As well as giving you the opportunity to travel to a number of the UK’s finest cities and landmarks, there are also plenty of chances to discover all Sheffield and the Peak District have to offer. With this semester’s trips ranging

doesn’t do it for you, head over to Hathersage open-air pool. It is open from 7.30am - 6pm most days and costs £4.40 a session, but the season ends at the end of September so get there quickly to enjoy some relaxed swimming in incredible surroundings – and don’t worry, it’s very well heated. There is no shortage of places to eat and drink in the village either but the Little John Inn offers tasty, traditional pub food at very reasonable prices and a selection of local ales.

The Peak District is the ideal getaway

You can access Hathersage by bus on the 272 service from the Sheffield Interchange from 6.40am 10.20pm. The last bus home leaves from Hathersage Post Office at 11.45pm, Monday - Saturday, and 10.52pm on Sundays. The journey takes around 35 minutes and tickets are £6 return.

Finally, if you’re more of a city person, then you’re in the right place. Sheffield is surrounded by loads of great towns and cities, one of which is Nottingham. Situated only 50 minutes away by train, Nottingham is the perfect location for a day trip with plenty of attractions on offer. Make sure you visit the Galleries of Justice Museum in Nottingham’s old courthouse for an in-depth history of crime and punishment in the city. You can also take a tour, with the theme varying from ghosts to local villains, depending on which day you are there. Alternatively, take in some international culture at the independent Broadway Cinema which specializes in foreign films. You can take drinks from the bar in with you which makes the whole experience even more enjoyable. You’re spoilt for choice when dining out in Nottingham but French Living on King Street is a particularly good restaurant, which offers a three course set menu for £16, as well as a variety of good value starters and mains. Follow this up with cocktails at Shanghai inspired bar, Coco Tang on Bridlesmith Gate. Return train tickets from Sheffield to Nottingham start from £10 when purchased with a rail card on the day of travel and are even cheaper in advance.

Tried and tested: Give it a Go from a cultured day out in Stratfordupon-Avon to a decadent tour of Cadbury World in Birmingham, there’s something to suit everybody’s tastes. The trips are great value (prices vary but start from as little as £12) and are an unbeatable way to see some places you might otherwise neglect. You can check out the Give it a Go diary online at the Union website. Katy Mack

COMPETITION For your chance to win a trip to York for two people on Saturday October 9, courtesy of Give it a Go, just answer this simple question: What is York’s famous cathedral called?

Send your answers, along with your name and a contact number to travel@forgetoday.com by Monday October 4.

Foreign Correspondent Thomas Wood Before I came to Singapore to study, it seemed that a lot of people had previous impressions of the place which tended to cover the same basic themes. “Will it be very hot?” Well, Singapore is pretty much on the equator, so of course it is. Actually, there are two seasons in Singapore: inside and outside. If you go to the library, one of the endless shopping malls or the cinema, then dress up for winter to combat the brutally cold air-conditioning. Outside, it’s essentially a sweat-fest with only thunderstorms bringing some coolness to the air. “Singapore is so clean.” It is; like Kim and Aggie meets authoritarianism. Luckily this does have limits. At the Buddhist Hungry Ghost Festival, which took place a few weeks ago, people burnt incense and left copious food offerings on the side of the road. These visible aspects of Singaporean culture cannot be found in the spotless malls of the city.

Kim and Aggie meets authoritarianism

“What language do they speak?” Most Singaporeans are Chinese, Malay or Tamil so they speak Chinese (Mandarin and dialect), Malay and Tamil. The common language is English. In class and, I presume, professional life standard English is spoken but otherwise most people converse in Singlish. Singlish, despised by the government who see it as degrading Singapore’s global image, is a brilliant and often hilarious form of slang. It’s simple and to the point, without the prepositions of standard English, which is due to its origin in the direct translation of Chinese. If I were to translate that last sentence into Singlish, it would be something like “Singlish so simple one, so like Chinese mah!” Possibly my favourite bit of Singlish I have heard so far was when a cute girl sitting at the back of a hot and crowded bus remarked in exasperation to her friend “Ai! No oxygen lah!” Aspects of Singaporean life like that cannot fail to make me smile.


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FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

PUZZLES & HUMOUR

Coffee Break SUDOKU

PICTURE OF THE FORTNIGHT

overheard in sheffield Wasted guy and confused bar staff in Space: Wasted guy: “Can I have a double coke and lemonade please?” Bar Staff: “A double coke and lemonade?” Wasted guy: “Oh! I mean a double vodka and Sailor Jerrys” Bar Staff: “In the same glass?!” Wasted guy: “Er, what? Oh, hmm. What did I say again? I want a double vodka and coke. No, wait, I mean lemonade!” Walkabout on a Friday night:

Long Monkey (with castles): an astonishing piece by Sheffield street artist Phlegm on Westfield Terrace, located off West Street.

Photo: Lucie Boase

Guy 1: “What you drinkin’ pal?” Guy 2: (Sniffs the air) “Is it me, or does that woman behind us smell of Yorkshire Pudding?” Guy 1: “Oh yeah, she actually does!” A tutor outside the Mappin Building:

sheffield true or false?

“...So he was complaining about how I gave him a 58 and all I wanted to say was that it was crap, fuck off.”

1. Union Finance Officer, Tom Hastings, is a very talented chappy, and turned down a role in Michael Flatley’s Lord Of The Dance 2. Sheffield sperm expert Dr Allen Pacey has discovered that men who consume three tablespoons of Henderson’s Relish a week increase their sperm count by 13%

mOST POPULAR web CONTENT

3. Sean Bean is barred from The Casbah after an incident involving a hat

1. Mary Anne Hobbs to head student media 2. Appy Feet - Meadowhall’s foot-loving fish

4. Peter Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper, was captured by police just off Glossop Road in Broomhill

6. FALSE Jarvis actually turned one down from the University of Sheffield 5. FALSE Maybe he’s not so sex-on-cleggs as we thought compartment 4. TRUE He was found with a prostitute, with a hammer in his car glove 3. TRUE He was barred after refusing to remove his hat 2. FALSE 1. TRUE He turned down the role before starting his first year at university

10. In Sheffield there are more student admissions to A&E than any other city in the UK

6. Single Reviews

7. FALSE This is just an urban myth.

9. The Magna Carta was not signed at Runnymede but at the site that is now Sheffield’s Dore Station

5. Endcliffe residents hit hardest by damages fines

8. TRUE The extent of the tunnelling is unknown but several have been located

8. Sheffield has a network of secret tunnels under the city

HM Meadowhall Prison?

throughout the city including under a police station

7. Meadowhall was designed so that if it were not successful as a shopping centre, it could easily be turned into a prison

4. Soldiers’ sexual exploits published in ‘slag mag’

9. FALSE It really was signed at Runnymeade

6. Jarvis Cocker turned down an honorary degree from Sheffield Hallam University

3. New Union entrance unveiled

10. FALSE We know how to look after ourselves here

5. At ‘adult club’ La Chambre in May, Sheffield Hallam MP and Deputy PM Nick Clegg was voted an Honorary Member in the club’s General Erection

7. Students’ Union is awarded gold status 8. Q & A Skream 9. Sheffield’s Gang Scene unmasked 10. Review: Exit Fate & Guardians of Paradise Visit forgetoday.com to keep up to date with all aspects of Forge Media, from articles and podcasts to listen-again shows and video content.


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SPORT

Scrutineering Jack Burnett

Back the bid but brace yourselves for nil points W

elcome, freshers, to Sheffield; a glorious city worthy of your selection of it as the venue for the fulfilment of your academic potential. It’s a city also worthy of the England 2018 bid team’s selection of it as a venue for the fulfilment of a dream for so many that live in this country: the FIFA World Cup here, on home soil, in our lifetime. You’ll notice the giant ‘Back the Bid’ posters sprawled across the city, urging you to voice your support for the bid. Of course, you’ll have already seen them if you come from any of the other illustrious cities selected for the bid, be you from London, Manchester, Liverpool or, er, Milton Keynes. And by all means, do back the bid – it won’t hurt our chances of being awarded the big gig. Unfortunately though, you probably aren’t on the 24-man FIFA executive committee that will decide the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. That’s alright, though, because we can trust these people to vote according to which bid has the best stadiums, fans, and capacity to host a truly memorable competition, right? Well, not exactly. The voting at FIFA’s Zürich headquarters come December 2 will far more likely resemble

the Eurovision Song Contest (What’s that Cyprus? 12 points for Greece? Again?) than any respected democratic vote. And that would be absolutely fine – if, that is, we had any friends. Even before ex-Football Association chairman Lord Triesman unwittingly revealed to the world that he – and thus, everyone at the FA in the view of the rest of the world, too – thought the Spanish were cheats and the Russians partial to the odd bribe, we were hardly considered the most popular kid in school. If anything, we were that fat kid in the corner throwing a tantrum as

yet another macaroni piece found itself glued to his face. Much of this ill feeling towards us can be attributed to our failed bid to host the 2006 World Cup. As well as showing more arrogance and overconfidence than a Cristiano Ronaldo and José Mourinho lovechild, that bid team also broke a gentleman’s agreement with Germany that, provided they voted for us to host Euro ‘96 (which they did), we wouldn’t compete with them for the World Cup. Not only did we fall at the first hurdle, but the other bidding nations effectively turned their

horses round to give us a good kicking before leaving us on our collective backside with a bloodied nose. The 2018 bid, in stark contrast to that of 2006, has distanced itself from a perceived divine right as the game’s creators to host football’s premier event. This time, though, the bid team’s prospective worst enemies lie within the 24-man committee rather than within the bid team itself. This committee includes Jack Warner, who criticised the bid for not doing enough to woo important people like him, only

to indignantly hand back the luxury £230 handbag that his wife as well as each of those of the committee members received. FIFA president Sepp Blatter, meanwhile, could not be described as English football’s biggest fan, although he may be tempted by the amount of money a World Cup here would earn FIFA. Indeed, at present this seems to be the main selling point for an English World Cup. Blatter is also known to enjoy a challenge, so his description of England as the ‘easiest’ place to host the tournament is more a slight than a compliment. Having championed the South African bids for 2006 and 2010, fears that he may side with a Russian bid as financially strong as England’s but considered to be somewhat riskier are entirely justified. Without even going into the complexities of which committee members’ votes are effectively cast by other, more powerful members, it’s quite clear that the England 2018 bid team have a number of substantial political obstacles in their way. Never mind that the World Cup here would be genuinely amazing – Jack Warner and chums need a foot rub before we can count on their vote. So back the bid, but if you’re going to put money on it, back the Russians.

Co-op saves Owls USA pick Sheffield for 2012 Jack Burnett Sheffield Wednesday survived an appearance at the High Court this month after The Co-operative Bank stepped in to guarantee the club’s short-term future. The summoning to court for the club over an unpaid £1.1 million tax bill to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs had led to fears that administration would ensue, a fate suffered by thenPremier League side Portsmouth in February as well as a number of Football League clubs. Wednesday, who currently lie in the promotion slots of League One, would have suffered a 10-point deduction had the club entered administration. On top of this, the status of the club’s Hillsborough stadium as part of England’s 2018 World Cup bid may have been reconsidered.

The club have been actively seeking investment since the resignation of Lee Strafford as Chairman in May, and though there has been some interest – most notably from Chicago-based firm Club 9 Sports – nothing has yet materialised. In an open letter to fans on the club’s website, current chairman and ex-player and manager Howard Wilkinson made clear the level of desire within the club for long-term stability, saying: “The club is now set up to throw off the problems of the past. “Our friends and potential partners know what can be achieved here, but we need investment, not words or promises.” Brightside MP David Blunkett has meanwhile been forced to deny speculation linking him with a consortium preparing an offer for the club.

Jack Burnett Team USA’s divers have chosen Sheffield as their base for London’s 2012 Olympic Games. The Americans will train at Sheffield’s state of the art aquatics centre, Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, in the run up to the games. The venue, which is used by some of the world’s best divers, was due to host the final leg of the FINA Diving World Series, but the event was cancelled due to the havoc caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland earlier this year. The decision by Team USA, however, will provide a boost to the city after missing out on that event, with Sheffield City Council leader Paul Scriven emphasising the potential economic benefits of hosting the Olympians.

He said: “We are delighted that Team USA will join us in Sheffield.

“There’s been a great deal of hard work gone into attracting US diving to Sheffield, but it’s all been an excellent investment. “Sheffield’s economy will grow as a direct result of hosting this team, generating tens of thousands of pounds into the city. Sheffielders can be proud that such a high profile sporting

nation will be here in their city training for 2012.” Sheffield came top of a long list of venues under consideration by Team USA. Steve Foley, High Performance Director for USA Diving, said: “USA Diving is extremely excited to name Sheffield as their preLondon 2012 training site. “Many venues within the UK and also throughout Europe were carefully considered but in the end, the outstanding facilities of Ponds Forge and the English Institute of Sport, plus excellent hotels and the superb location for easy commute to and from London, were the determining factors.” The USA become the second Olympic team to select the city as a training base, with Serbia’s Olympians set to use both Sheffield and Leeds.


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SPORT

Sema Husseyin and Chris Playfoot in Crete. Photo: Jeff Wade

Mottram wins Great Yorkshire Run Australian Chris Mottram snatched victory away from Chris Thompson at the BUPA Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield on September 5. Mottram’s time of 28 minutes 50 seconds was enough to force Thompson into second place, despite the latter leading for most of the 10,000 metre race. The final outcome came as a crushing blow to the Brit, who won silver in the 10,000 metres at this year’s European Athletics Championships behind compatriot Mo Farah and was expected to prosper in Sheffield by a number of punters. Mottram, who at the 2005 World Championships took bronze in the 5000 metres, also triumphed far ahead of other world stars including Italy’s Stefano Baldini and Chema Martinez of Spain. In the women’s race, meanwhile, Freya Murray fended off a challenge from Charlotte Purdue to retain her title, clocking in with a time of 33 minutes 1 second. Although her time was slightly slower than that which secured her win last year, Murray will have been pleased with her performance, perhaps with one eye on the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi this October. Moreover, her time will be particularly well received by the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, for whom she will be competing. Around 8,000 runners took part in the event, with a large proportion of these doing so for charity. A number of prominent locals also donned their running shoes for the day, including World Cup final referee Howard Webb and politicians Paul Scriven and David Blunkett. Jack Burnett

Cavers conquer Crete Caving Anthony Hart A group of students from the University of Sheffield discovered 139 new caves this July when they went on an expedition to the Greek island of Crete. The group included 15 members of the Sheffield University Speleological Society (SUSS), as well as two members of SPOK, a Greek caving club. Four of them had never previously taken part in exploratory caving.

Hannah Moulton surveys ‘Nelson’s Pot.’ Photo: Ian Peachey

The group of 17 spent 15 days in the Mavri Laki Valley in the Lefka Ori, or “White Mountains” range, where they discovered and logged 134 caves. The team surveyed 12 of these, and 10 of the caves were over 50ft deep, including the 170.9 metre deep Pandora’s Pot, the third deepest cave that SUSS have ever discovered. SUSS have been regular visitors to Mavri Laki, and have been discovering caves there since their first outing in the 1980s. The members of this year’s expedition had to carry all their equipment to the location of their

new base camp at around 1,700m above sea level, and a five hour walk from Anapolis, the nearest village. The nearby “Freezer Cave”, which was already known to the party, was rigged with tarpaulins under drips, to provide a constant source of water and to store perishable food. However, Freezer Cave was still a 30 minute walk away, and a round trip was needed every day to bring the food and water back to camp. Smaller caves were explored by free-climbing or using a wire ladder, then measuring the depth

with a tape measure. For the larger caves, a different approach was needed. Bolts were drilled into the limestone walls and ropes rigged for the team to descend using the Single Rope Technique, where the same rope is used for the ascent and descent. SUSS member Rosie Hadfield said: “This year’s discoveries have increased knowledge of the Mavri Laki Valley. It is clear from this expedition that there is still potential to explore a great deal of unchartered land in the region and potential for further expeditions by the University´s Speleological Society.”

Ali Mortazavi in ‘Oblivion.’ Photo: Michael Soulby


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FORGE PRESS Friday September 17 2010

www.forgetoday.com // sport@forgetoday.com

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England 2018 Page 26

Caving Page 27

Kirsteen is world champion in wakeboarding triumph

Uni wakeboarder Kirsteen Mitchell in action. Below right: Mitchell at the IWWF World Championships

Wakeboarding Jack Burnett University of Sheffield student Kirsteen Mitchell took gold at the 2010 IWWF Wakeboard Cable World Championships after seeing off strong competition in the Open Women category of the tournament. Mitchell, 23, surprised many by overcoming challenges from more experienced opponents, such as multiple World and European champion Maxine Sapulette, to win July’s event in Neubrandenburg, Germany. The victory was all the more impressive considering it was the Zoology student’s debut at the World Championships, after only taking up the sport three years ago, having previously competed nationally at diving. Her experiences diving at a high level have proved invaluable in a sport that relies heavily on air-awareness skills. Victory in Germany ensures

the addition of another medal to Mitchell’s already impressive collection, which includes gold in the 2009 British Cable Nationals as well as silver in that year’s European Cable Championships in Finland. She also helped the University to maximum points in the Women’s Cable in the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championship 2009-10. John Wood, Performance Director at British Water Ski & Wakeboard, was full of praise for the University’s talented young athlete. He said: “Kirsteen is renowned for being a tough competitor, which few would suspect from her open and friendly character off the water. “She has taken more than her fair share of falls in mastering tough tricks that few women attempt, and this toughness and work ethic, plus her natural ability, have been behind her rapid rise and success at the very top of the sport.” Mitchell’s success contributed to a fantastic medal haul for

Great Britain at the World Championships, with Nick Davies fighting back from a fall on a 900 degree spin on his first run that left him in third place. His impeccable second run led to a first place finish with a score of 74 points. In addition, Chloe Goudie and Daniel Grant took the World titles in the Girls and Boys categories respectively, while the Britons achieved gold in the team event to complete a hugely successful tournament for Great Britain. It was Mitchell’s success, however, that really turned heads in north-east Germany. Dr. Penny Watt of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences was impressed with her student’s performance, saying: “The department is delighted to hear she’s done so well - it’s fantastic news. Kirsteen is an enthusiastic student who seems to really be enjoying her course, as well as her wakeboarding.” University Club Sport Manager Andy Cox paid further tribute to

the star student, adding: “We were all so pleased and proud when we heard about Kirsteen’s success both at BUCS and at the World Championships. “Having such a talented individual at the University is fantastic and I’m sure a great inspiration for other students to follow. “Kirsteen’s individual success contributed to our overall highest BUCS total ever and we are confident that with students like Kirsteen around we can go on and improve next year.” Mitchell’s participation in the World Championships was partly enabled by the scholarship she received from the governmentfunded Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) last year. With most of her wakeboarding career still ahead of her, Mitchell, who also coaches springboard diving, trampolining and swimming, has stated her desire to land an S-bend-to-blind on water, a feat not yet achieved by any woman in the UK.


Forge Press Issue 25  

Issue 25 of Forge Press, The University of Sheffield's Independent student newspaper.

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