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editors note Hello and Happy 2012; the year the world is supposed to end but lets not that get us down. Welcome to this years second Knowledge edition!! Christmas is over and the January blues are setting in but never fear, as ever there are loads of amazing activities and events planned and its fair to say second term is going to be just as good as the first!! This edition is packed full of stories and all the information you could need about the union alongside competitions to win some quality prizes. Hope you enjoy Lots of Love Steph

As always, we are looking for people to get involved. If you have written a story you want to share with the student population, email us at Your story could not only end up in our print edition but could also feature on our website too so get writing!!


Editor Steph Driscoll Assistant Editor James Beck Designed by Oli Horne-Dog Contributers Tom Davidson Rich Garratt Jazz Singh-Khaira Emma Wilson Katie French Lewis Manuel Marcus Crandon Heena Mistry Jennifer Harris Becky Halford Josef Williams plymouthfreshers11


01752 588388



fancy working with us? £17,203 plus benefits. Scale 3 point

No interviews required

No experience necessary

Just enthusiasm to do a good job! UPSU is offering a fantastic opportunity within a busy students’ union for a group of individuals to work as a team representing over 30,000 Plymouth University students. We are looking for current Plymouth University Higher Education students and people who want to enhance their future career by taking a one year sabbatical position. In return we offer you the opportunity to lead your students’ union, develop excellent leadership and management skills, discover and deliver the needs and wants of all students, campaign (both locally and nationally) on issues that affect students, enhance your C.V. and have a great time doing a job that you will really enjoy. Full training & support given.

5 full time positions available (paid) • • • • •

President Deputy President VP Education and Welfare VP Sports VP Activities and Communications

part time positions available • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Parliament Chair Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Campaigns Chair Women’s Campaigns Chair Media Rep Racial and Ethnic Campaigns Chair Postgraduate Campaigns Chair International students Campaigns Chair Ethics and Environment Campaigns Chair Students with disabilities Campaigns Chair Mature students Campaigns Chair Education Campaigns Chair Welfare Campaigns Chair Part-Time Students Campaigns Chair Placement Students Campaigns Chair

8 Independent (Non-Portfolio) Representatives

For more info see: or email apply by Filling out a nomination form available from the Hive and

PRESIDENT: Tom Davidson 01752 588379

Sabbatical Report What I do Currently I’m in the enviable (supposedly) position of holding two positions on the sabbatical team, Vice President Sports and Acting President in light of Abi Pettit’s departure from UPSU. Needless to say these are keeping me particularly busy and my time is split between the two. As VP Sports I am responsible for ensuring that the voice of all students involved in Sport is heard by the relevant people in the University and across the South West; I ensure that the University remains committed to sporting development and the provision of sporting opportunities to our students. In this role I also represent South West institutions on the national BUCS Advisory Board, which gives me the opportunity to bring our sporting issues to a national stage. As Acting President I am responsible for bringing major student issues to the attention of University senior management staff and I regularly discuss such matters with the Office of the Vice Chancellor (OVC), ensuring that student opinion remains central to University decision making. Additionally, along with the rest of the sabbatical team, I help to set the short and long term strategy of the Students’ Union; using student opinion to guide the development of the SU. Last Term Over the past term I have overseen the implementation of the new Team Plymouth brand, which aims to make our sports clubs instantly recognisable wherever they compete. So far this project has been going well and a number of our clubs are already wearing Team Plymouth kit, so keep an eye out for them! Over the next 12 months, this kit is going to be increasingly used by

our clubs with the objective being to have all of our sportsmen and women in kit by 2013. I have also expanded UPSU’s fledgling intramural football league. This year we have eight teams competing every week in a semi competitive league that gives groups of friends another route into university sport in a less formal setting than BUCS competition. My hope is that this scheme will be continued by my successor and that in the future new sports will be added to this scheme. Finally, I have been involved in the creation of the University Sports Strategy, which sets out a four year plan to develop sport and physical activity at Plymouth University. This plan will hopefully provide the drive needed to develop sports provision at Plymouth into a first rate service. Plans for This Term This term is shaping up to be a busy one, with a huge mix of presidential and sporting items on the to-do list. From a sports perspective, Varsity 2012 will be given a lot of attention as it takes a monumental effort on the part of the organising committee to organise four days of sports fixtures across multiple locations. Hopefully it will all pay off though and we’ll come home with the Varsity trophy! I will also be planning the annual sports awards, an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our sportsmen and women at a high profile awards ceremony, which was hosted by Boringdon Park last year. It’s brilliant to see our clubs rewarded for their accomplishments both on and off the pitch, so I will be doing my best to make this a night to remember. On the Presidential agenda is a long list of OVC meetings, the UPSU five year strategic plan and some very

ambitious projects for UPSU’s future. I have monthly meetings with OVC on a number of different topics such as the student experience and the students’ union, which enable me to give continuous feedback on university plans and their impact on students, which is of course why the university is here in the first place! A little closer to home is the UPSU strategic plan, a document that will guide the union through to 2015 and give us direction in a number of key areas such as representation, democracy and our commercial services. In the next few weeks you may be asked to take part in some research and I would urge you to get involved, it may take a little time on your part but I can absolutely guarantee that it will benefit students in the long run. So to close, I hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading this and if you have any questions, no matter how trivial, please feel free to send me an email at or drop in and see me in The Hive. Cheers!

DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Rich Garratt 01752 588372

Sabbatical Report Buenos Dias as they say, if you’re Spanish. I am your Deputy President, Rich Garratt. I currently represent international, post graduate and mature students across all university campuses. I also look after all of the Plymouth University’s partner colleges, which we have 18 of. The majority of these colleges are mainly made up of A-level students and therefore it is quite challenging to make the Higher Education students, feel part of ‘University life’, and allow them the same opportunities those of us at the main campus enjoy. I know what you are thinking surely there is no more to your job role, however that is where you are incorrect: Each of the four faculties has a sabbatical officer that is there Rep. I am the person to see if you have an issue or indeed a question and study under the umbrella of ‘Health, Education and Society’ . As previously stated the University has eighteen partner colleges spanning from Bristol to Jersey. One of the major projects I wish to embark on this year is to hold a partner college varsity where sports teams representing their campuses can compete against one another. Not only will this allow an increase in the interaction with students from around the region but will also enable an opportunity to form relationships within student’s own partner colleges as well as allowing those who wish to play sport to do just that.The event will be taking place on 18th February 2012 and provisionally has been booked at Tavistock College the current trail of thought is to hold the event for team based sport such as 5 a-side football, rugby 7s, netball and hockey. Arguably these are the sports with which comes the widest participation, alongside offering both male and female involvement.

This is a project I feel could really take off and help Students who feel maybe a little left out of University life a chance to compete at something they are passionate about. P.S If you’re reading this as a Partner College student who is yet to express their interest but is keen to get onboard please do email me asap. Also on the subject of sport, I have been conducting weekly interviews which are posted on These involve asking an active member of one of our many sport clubs who is an international, partner college or mature students a number of questions such as who do you think would win in a fight between captain Jack Sparrow and the Joker, and why their feel joining a sports club has enhanced their experience at University. I have done this in a bid to encourage involvement in sport here at the students’ union and to enable people to hear first hand from students in similar boats how joining a club has helped integrate them into the student experience. Of course the interviews also give recognition to those who are already competing for their clubs, which is another huge positive. Alongside our new President Thomas Davidson we have been addressing the need for student representatives to be present on a more regular basis at teaching sites away from the main campus, something which will hopefully be aided by the establishing of a NurseSoc society, so if you’re reading this as a nursing student please do sign up. Since our visits it is apparent student feel much more in touch with the University and are now familiar with essential procedures involving course reps etc. My continued work with the University’s Partner Colleges’ has seen better

attendance in the representation department spanning from site reps coming up from Cornwall to attend student Parliament to the interest expressed to become a course rep. I have created a facebook page that you can befriend: ‘UPSU Partner colleges’ , this page is updated constantly to let you guys at partner colleges know of upcoming activities/opportunities etc that we are offering at the Students’ Union. We are aware that sometimes not all information filters down to the partner colleges so please do add it so you can be kept in the loop. This is now a cheeky little section I like to call my future plans: We have the AGM coming up 2nd February, this is a great chance for students to get changes implemented around the Students’ Union; motions can be submitted and then voted for by all in attendance. As stated it is really beneficial that the student body has as many people there as possible as it affects you, in the days leading up to the event you will find me and the rest of the sabbatical team out and about handing out flyers and informing students of exactly what the event is for. We are really hopeful of a record turn out this year. Obviously the organising of the partner college varsity and making it successful is my main goal and something which occupies many an hour of my time, in the next month I will be spending all my spare time pushing to drive it to be as successful and as widely attended as possible. I have gone on for a fair bit so will let you carry on with reading the Knowledge and before you go looking, no Tom Perkins there is not a ‘page 3’

VP EDUCATION & WELFARE: Emma Wilson 01752 588372 As VP Education and Welfare at UPSU I work within the Sabbatical Team who lead your students’ Here’s what my role entails:

Sabbatical Report Here is what I got up to last term: Student Staff Partnership Last term saw me spending lots of time working on the new University level ‘Partnership Agreement’ which was launched early this term. The agreement which steers clear of the legalistic way in which many universities have interpreted the government initiative requesting institutions to lay bare their responsibilities to students and outline what commitment is expected from students in return. I worked with several students to draft and finalise the charter which is fully supported by UPSU. The next step of the project is for each course to have open discussions between students and staff to come up with subject/course level agreements – so make sure you get involved. Easy Tiger Continuing to work in partnership with Plymouth NHS, UPSU are proud to report that during Easy Tiger week students undertook more Chlamydia Screens than ever before. UPSU staff and I helped the NHS collect over 60 screens; each student was entered into a raffle for an Apple I-pod. The lucky winner a second year medical student said; ‘“It’s really not much hassle to get yourself tested; you don’t have to collect any results or anything like that. I think it’s really worth doing. Even if you don’t think you have anything to worry about, it’s always nice to be sure.” Change Academy I attended the Change Academy residential in September along with several members of university staff including a Head of School and the Director of External Relations and Communications and to look unpacking

• Representing students at University meetings including Teaching and Learning Committee where I ensure that students views and opinions on academic matters are represented. • Training course reps at Plymouth University. • Representing students on the issues of their wellbeing and welfare whilst studying at Plymouth University. • Liaise closely with the Advice Centre to support students who experiencing difficulties whilst studying. • Representing students from the Faculty of Art.

the concept of ‘Students as Partners’ and what it means to be studying with an institution instead of simply studying at it. I left for the residential slightly sceptical and returned to work feeling very positive. The team drew up lists of existing projects where students and staff work together, came up with some BIG IDEAS including an accredited Leadership Course for students and many quick wins including more computers around campus– these proposals are currently being investigated and worked on. One of the Big Ideas was to hold a fair exhibiting all of the projects that staff are currently working on with students and use the exhibition as a platform for the generation of new project ideas. Over 20 projects were proposed and the Change Academy team is now working with the sets of students and staff on their ideas which range from students adopting professional staff members to a project aiming to create an audio trail telling the history of Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir using QR codes and mobile phones. School Reps At the beginning of last term I organised elections for School Reps representatives for each school. The positions were available to any Course Rep to stand within the schools. Reps have been meeting with Heads of School and also attending Faculty Boards – representing students in their school and making a difference for future students. To find out who your School Rep is visit content/742843/ . Projects for this term: SSTAR (Student and Staff Teaching and Representation) Awards I have been working hard with Course

Reps to get the SSTAR Awards organised again this year. The nomination period for the awards is OPEN NOW until the 24th February. The Awards which aim to celebrate excellence in teaching and student representation will be held on the 27th March. There are over 10 categories which range from Course Reps of the Year to Most Dedicated Project Supervisor and Most Useful Feedback. Please go to content/687323 to nominate a lecturer or course rep that you think deserves recognition. Personal Tutoring Review Together with a group of student representatives from different schools within the university I am currently sitting on a committee which is investigating the effectiveness of the current system for personal tutoring and also making recommendations for future guidelines and procedures for personal tutoring. UPSU hope that the outcomes from this committee will benefit current and future students be supported in their time at university by those academics appointed to be personal tutors. To let UPSU know about your tutoring experiences please email . Elections – As you will see elsewhere in this paper election time is looming – and I am especially excited as I have the privilege to be the Lead Officer for the UPSU Elections 2012. This means that I will be overseeing the process and trying to make sure that everyone involved has fun and feels like the elections have been carried out in a fair way. I do hope you will decide to nominate yourself and run for a position which has given me so many fantastic opportunities over the past 18months!

VP Activities & Comms: Jazz Singh-Khaira 01752 588378

As VP Activities and Comms at UPSU I work within the Sabbatical Team who lead the Union. If you don’t already know what my role entails here it is in a nutshell!

Sabbatical Report Here is what I got up to last term: Website One of the key areas within my manifesto was to improve the Students Union website- although it is still a work in progress I am happy to report that the navigation has been improved to 3 clicks to heaven and, thanks to the help of our in house designers Mark and Oli, it also looks a million times better! The Knowledge The student paper also comes within my remit, upon taking up my post I was informed that the readership of the Knowledge was quite low, and also that it was difficult to get writers to come forward- the society that was set up last year had also collapsed. The paper also costs a lot to print, as VP Activities and Communications I was wracking my brain to see what we could do. It was then at an NUS Communication Officer Event I heard from other Communications Officers how they have all the same problem at their Unithis turned out to be a trend affecting most print media, due to the advent of the internet, laptops and tablets. Many national papers are turning to the internet and so are other SUs, it makes sense; its instant and fresh, you can access it from anywhere with internet and it can be integrated with Student Radio and video content- not to mention it’s a lot greener! Online student media sites such as the Newcastle’s Courier: and Bournemouth’s Nerve* www. have high end websites that students post news stories, blogs and reviews- it becomes the hub of student media. To increase readership and cut cost I wanted to launch a trial of this at Plymouth; I was advised by our

• Oversee and facilitate societies • Help to run Student media, namely the knowledge and UPSU radio • All ‘green’ matters relating to students and UPSU • Academic representation in the Faculty of Science and Technology • Ensuring there is effective communication to students on who and what the sabbatical team are.

Communications Manager that this needed to be hosted within our website, meaning it would be quite a simple system & design, due to restrictions with our contract. The idea was that this to be accompanied once a term by a print edition featuring the ‘Best of’, the last term. Last year 6 issues of the knowledge were published, this year the number has been cut to 3 issues. The online version of the Knowledge has already gone live, it is still however in its infancy and has not got much activity as of yet- this is perhaps because it is set up more like a blog and does not appeal to students. We have now recruited some new editors who could help give a student perspective on the whole matter and we hope they take media forward at UPSU. Societies Last term I helped set up 9 new societies, among them are the Debate Society, Veggie Soc and PLUMS (Plymouth Uni Maths and Stats). We also elected the new Society ChairOliver Windsor. Animation. Many students at Plymouth know what we get up to on the social side, however nobody really knows how the Unions run and what we do with all the money we make. To highlight all the things we do on a representation and membership services level I set out to create a short, catchy and informative animation to capture all of this with the help of graduate company Mutant Labs. Check out the end result for yourself at Green Week This year I was the Lead Officer for for the Green Week campaign, the campaign ran in the end of November, the campaign aimed to encourage

people. Tips on going green were splashed about the place in which and to top it all off a junk band came to play on the Friday. During the week 150 green surveys were completed, this will help inform SU green policy and the Sabbatical Officers in their lobbying of the Uni. Sabbatical officer communications Following feedback we received from an evaluation initiative the SU undertook I felt it was necessary to boost the profile of the Sabbatical Officers, this included photo business cards, the vinyl of the Sabb Team and our new ‘fishbowl’ office. This term I hope to: • Following the Green Week survey results I hope to lobby the university to provide more water fill-up points on campus. • Get a team of editors and writers together to drive the Knowledge forward • Seek feedback from societies re support and training with a view to provide any additional training necessary. • Working on a student staff liason committee in the Faculty of Science • A greater effort to GOAT and GOAL, (Go Out and Talk and Go Out and Listen)

The fantastic, freakish, fun-filled month! By Katie French

February…a dismal month…it’s still cold, it’s still dark in the evenings and the ice, frost and snow has been replaced with that non-stop, clothes drenching rain that reduces us to grumpy, moaning students slumped in our lecture theatres, wishing it was summer already! So…I want to cheer us all up with a little insight into the bizarre and wacky festivals and celebrations that go on in the UK and around the world. Here’s an example…Get A Different Name Day! Yep…on February 13th of every year you can pretend that your mother did NOT call you Burt or Margaret…you can make one up! This is an example of the many crazy themed days that occur over in the USA….don’t you love our Yankee cousins!

Moving westward around the world to India, where this year Hindus will celebrate on February 7th the Thaipusam Festival. The festival commemorates the giving of a spear to the God of War and Victory, to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadum! On the day of the festival, devotees shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage, where they carry out many acts of devotion, ranging from the carrying of a pot of milk on their heads to the piercing of the skin, tongue and cheeks! Other forms of mortification include hooks stuck into the back, which are then pulled by the devotee behind them as they walk! I think I’d prefer spending my February cooking pancakes…don’t you?!

Continuing the American theme… Groundhog Day! Everyone must have seen the film with Bill Murray in it! Well…in the USA and Canada, on February 2nd Groundhog is celebrated to acknowledge the folklore surrounding the emergence of a groundhog from hibernation…if it’s cloudy on the day it emerges, the groundhog will leave its burrow signifying the end of winter. However, if it’s sunny on the day it emerges, the groundhog will return to its burrow and the winter weather will continue for another six weeks! I’m happy the UK doesn’t have Groundhog Day…another six weeks of winter is an unbearable notion! In the month of February, the USA also celebrates the birthdays of two of its Presidents Washington and Lincoln! Happy Birthday to them!

Continuing westward towards Europe (and lightening the mood a bit after all that spear business)…we join Italy in its Battle of the Oranges! Battle…of… the…oranges…what I hear you say?! Well…in Ivrea, a town in Northern Italy, the locals come together to form nine teams. Now, think of paintballing… except with oranges and in fancy dress…you got it! This celebration happens on the weekend before Shrove Tuesday and commemorates a defiant young woman who beheaded the man who tried to rape her on the eve of her wedding. This man so happened to be part of the invading occupancy at the time, so naturally when the townsman heard of the beheading, they revolted and stormed the palace! Much like the Tomatino festival in Spain (where they throw tomatoes instead of oranges),

the country prepares for this festival by collecting its fruit all year round and storing it for this crazy day! Arriving at our homeland, the festivities we celebrate seem rather dull in comparison! Have you ever heard of “Kissing Friday”? No? Well, the end of the week is now looking more alluring! However, before you jump on the girl or boy sitting nearest to you (if you’re reading this on a Friday that is), the acceptance of unleashed passion comes only on the Friday after Ash Wednesday. This has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day may I add; it’s an English tradition that kept in society till the 1940s. The tradition allowed English schoolboys to kiss anyone they wanted without judgement or rejection! Considering that that sounds rather outdated, see it as an opportunity for anyone, irrespective of age or gender to express their love for whoever that may be! Attention boys! Don’t think that a peck on your girlfriends cheek whilst you’re driving is suffice; as Albert Einstein once said “any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.” So when you’re cooking your pancakes and buying your Valentine’s Day cards this month…remember there are so many other amazing things going on in the world! February is truly a peculiar yet enjoyable month! Oh yeah…I nearly forgot…have a good Leap Month!

OPAL Plymouth Wildlife & Nature Photographic Competition OPAL Plymouth Wildlife & Nature Photographic Competition OPAL is launching a Plymouth-wide photography competition in the New Year and is looking for submissions of wildlife and nature photographs to four categories: • Macro • Landscape • Urban Wildlife • Photos taken using a mobile phone There are three age brackets for each category: Over 18s, 14-18 year olds and under 14s. The focus of the competition is on wildlife within the city of Plymouth and photos that capture nature living alongside us in our city. Plymouth is the greenest city in the south-west with eight local nature reserves home to many interesting species, but parks, gardens and even our streets are home to many creatures too. Beginners and new photographers are encouraged to enter. Photos to all categories must have been taken within Plymouth. The urban wildlife category encourages pictures depicting wildlife found in unlikely locations and the winning picture will demonstrate how wildlife is adapting to urban environments.

Opens for submissions: Mon 9th January 2012 Deadline for submissions: Fri 30th March 2012

If you are entering photos into more than one category please send one email per category with the above information each time.


Winners will receive a large high quality canvas print of their winning photo and winning photographs will be exhibited at a celebratory exhibition at the University. Winners will be announced Monday 9th April. There will be one winner and one highly commended photo per category.

Only digital photos are eligible. Photos must be emailed in JPEG format. Images must be at least 2 MB in size but not exceeding 10 MB (except for photos entered into the mobile phone category which may be less than 2MB). Photos must have been taken within the city of Plymouth. Professional photographers are not eligible to enter. You may submit up to two entries per category. Please email all submissions to and include the following information: •Your full name •The category you are entering the photo into •Your date of birth •Location of your photograph (name of the nature reserve/park, site name , full address or road name) •Date your photograph was taken.

Full terms and conditions and competition guidelines can be found at SouthWest-photocomp. By submitting your photo you agree to the terms and conditions listed on the website.

Plymouth University Secular Humanists Society By Lewis Manuel

Despite boasting a Hindu, Islamic, Christian and even a Krishna Consciousness society at Plymouth University, there is one thing which unfortunately is missing from the student union. Until fairly recently the topic of secular humanism and atheism has been a touchy subject which many dare not involve themselves in. Due mainly to an increasingly sceptical society, it has come up from the underground to the mainstream with politicians, celebrities and even renowned miracle workers proclaiming their disdain at the supernatural (perhaps the most surprising being the recent discovery of Mother Theresa s` admitted scepticism in her private notes). Previous attempts at starting a new society to cater for the increasing number of non-believers and agnostics at the university have failed miserably. Due mainly to a lack of support and publicity, the society in its current form is rather stale and in need of a boost. The full title for the society, were it to officially become part of the student union would be the Plymouth University Secular Humanists Society. Secular humanism seems to cause confusion

among those not familiar with this title. Secular humanism is simply the rejection of dogma, pseudo-science and superstition and the acceptance of rationalism, ethics and human reason. Whilst this rejection includes completely all forms of organised and dogmatic religion it does not discriminate against it, merely protests the force of beliefs upon those who simply do not agree with their statements. Whether humanist ideas and philosophy interests you or not, in terms of fairness and equality our University should provide for all those who wish to express their beliefs (or lack of) in a nondiscriminatory and professional way. It is unfortunate that so far all attempts to begin such a society have failed but with proper backing from the student union and enough publicity I am positive that something could be started in the near future. There are other groups in Plymouth like the Plymouth Humanist organisation which hold regular socials and quizzes whilst providing education in humanism through guest lectures and day trips. This is what the society would aim to do whilst also promoting dialogue between the different faith societies.

University Bid to Change Its Roots By Katie French

The University is urging the community and Students to help play a part in the redevelopment of the historic Drake’s Place Gardens and Reservoir on North Hill. At the moment the park is used mainly as a walk through and closed in the evenings for safety measures however the University wants to inject a new lease of life into the site and create a space suitable for leisure activities, training or volunteering opportunities and events alike. The University’s development officer for Drake’s Place says: “Drake’s Place is an important part of Plymouth’s heritage

and we want it to be a place everyone can enjoy.” The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLP) Parks for People has already awarded the project £60,000 to spend on development. The University wants to work closely with students, staff and the community to create plans which will shape the £500,000 bid due to be submitted to the HLF in August this year. If plans are approved, the university has agreed to match that funding. All views, opinions and ideas are valued and welcomed. You can get involved by logging onto:

Celebrating 150 years of Higher Education in Plymouth Plymouth University started out as a School of Navigation in 1862 and the year 2012 marks our 150th anniversary. This heritage is our

foundation and we continue to grow and develop. Today we are a leading university, with a world class reputation – a university very much on the ascendancy.

At Plymouth University we are transforming lives through education and enterprise is at the heart of everything we do, it’s about what we do and how we do it.

Throughout the coming 12 months, we’ll celebrate our special anniversary with a series of events and activities open to staff, students, partners and our community. We will show how Plymouth University is making a difference, how what we do here matters and how our approach to partnership is helping create a lasting legacy for our community. We will glance back and look forward.

Please join us in celebrating our anniversary during this very special year during which Plymouth University is proud to announce that it has been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. For more information about the 150th celebrations please visit our website at

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House hunting tips Its that time of year when you will be thinking about finding accomodation for next year. Remember to take your time, a contract signed now for a house in September 2012 is a legal document – lots can happen between now and next September. – don’t get caught in the moment and sign up for something that you may later regret. if you need any advice about accomodation please come and talk to the UPSU Advice service. UPSU Advice The first floor of UPSU Call Advice: 01752 588373 Email Advice: University’s Student Accommodation Ground floor, Mary Newman. Call Student Accommodation: 01752 588644 Email Student Accommodation:

Here are a few tips to consider when house hunting:

1. 2.

Take your time – there is a lot of choice. Don’t rush into signing a contract!

Talk to current tenants about the house and landlord or letting agent. Who manages the property?


Read the contract before signing – it is a legal document!


Don’t forget to budget – what bills are included?



Don’t pay a deposit unless you’re sure the property is right for you – and get a receipt!

The University’s Accommodation Office has a Database of Approved Accommodation on the Student Portal.


Check the tenancy agreement – it is a legally binding contract!


Are you liable for your housemates’ rent if they move out?


Which government approved scheme will your deposit be secured with?


Get it in writing – agreed changes to your contract and communication with your landlord should be confirmed in writing.

Have you

Padlocked your privates? How many times a week do you give away valuable personal information? Probably more than you think. From shopping online to signing up to deals in pubs and clubs, we give out personal information almost every day. While on most occasions it provides benefits, such as the improvement of healthcare or financial stability, it is always important to question the information you provide, and where it is going. What about your Facebook profile? Would you be happy for a company you have recently applied to for employment to see your photos of a night out? A recent survey by the Information Commissioner’s Office (the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights) revealed that four out of ten students online (42%) are concerned that personal information available about them online might affect their future employment prospects – highlighting the importance of protecting your personal information online, as you would offline. New figures published by the ICO (October 2011) highlight some other worrying statistics in this area, drawing attention to the fact that most students are not adequately protecting

themselves against the risk of identity theft. Results of the survey, carried out by YouGov, show that one in three students (33%) who have lived at a previous address while at university haven’t arranged the redirection of all their important post to their current university address - potentially allowing others the freedom to do what they like with their bank statements - and two thirds (66%) have never checked their credit rating, letting suspicious credit applications to go unnoticed. Whether you live in halls of residence or private housing I can almost guarantee that at some point, you will have received at least one item of mail with your address on, but that is addressed to someone else – but don’t panic, there are some very simple steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and safeguard your personal information:

• Store documents carrying any personal details in a safe place • Shed or destroy all documents containing any personal details before throwing them away • Ask the Post Office for advice on secure postage if you have to post any personal documents • Limit the number of documents containing personal details you carry around on a daily basis • Check your bank and credit card statements carefully for unfamiliar transactions • Use different passwords and PINs for different accounts • Be careful when using public computers to access your personal information. Remove personal details on screen and uncheck the ‘remember password’ box • Check your credit file regularly for any suspicious applications • Always think about who you are giving information to and why they would need it. Don’t be afraid to ask • Protect your home computer with antivirus, firewall and anti-spam software before going online • When you move house, redirect all your mail and inform your bank, utilities companies and other organisations of your new address

Adam Judd, a Bachelors (BEng) Civil Engineering student at Loughborough University, is an unfortunate example of identity fraud. Adam was a victim of bank fraud twice in his first year of university, during which approximately £600 was stolen out of his account for purchases on taxi firms and small electrical appliances. “I first realised something was wrong when I got a call from my bank’s fraud office to verify some transactions and the genuinity of them. Once it had been established that I was a victim of bank fraud all my cards were cancelled. Pending transactions though can sometimes take over a month to come through so even though my card had been cancelled, transactions that had been made before I realised what had happened were still processed a month later.” Adam recalled. “The situation took a couple of weeks to resolve and I’m still not sure how my personal information was compromised but I’m much more careful now. I shred all bank statements and other correspondence containing my personal

details. When paying for items I don’t let my card out of my sight, and I am generally more careful about where I shop online.” Adam was again victim of credit card fraud a few months later even after changing banks when approximately £80 was withdrawn from his bank in the Dominican Republic. Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham said; “In tough times, young people are clearly less relaxed about privacy, particularly in relation to information that they post online - but many may not know what they can do about it. The Student Brand Ambassador campaign is about providing students with the advice they need to protect themselves from obvious dangers such as identity theft and keeping their social lives private. It’s about empowering young people to take back control of their information and I hope the campaign is embraced by students at universities across the UK.”

For more information about how to protect your personal information visit or get in touch with Plymouth University’s ICO student representative, Luke Judd

Alex James interview By Marcus Crandon

Alex James, ex member of Blur and cheese enthusiast has visited Plymouth on His ‘Cheesy Rider’ tour in order to promote his new cheese range I got the chance to meet him at the new river cottage canteen and deli. It’s situated near the harbour with a stunning view and a peaceful, chilled atmosphere. I entered the canteen and ordererd a sweet cider and Waited for Alex’s arrival…

Marcus: Hi Alex, thanks a lot for meeting me here. So what are you doing in Plymouth? Alex: I’ve just come here from the ASDA cheese factory. ASDA has the exclusive of my new cheese range and I went there as part of my cheesy rider tour. M: So you’ve got a few different types of cheeses? A: Nine actually, well nine that will appear in ASDA, there’s a big variety. M: I’ve seen there’s a salad cream flavour? A: Yeah that’s for the cheese on toast. The salad cream and the ketchup flavour are both the blanket cheeses. I wanted to make something different, something a bit more exciting for cheese on toast. The best is when you put things together like a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella to create that creamy and stringy texture. The kids don’t like all the posh goats cheese stuff. Ill say to them, ‘for dinner we are having some of daddies goats cheese’, but they didn’t want it. It would make them sick even thinking about it, they wanted cheese on toast. So why not give them the best cheese on toast in the world? M: You have 5 children, is it hard being away from them? A: Yeah it is really hard, but luckily im only away from them for a few days at a time. M: Do you travel much? A: Yeah, all over the country. Ive been to the Midlands, the north, even Scotland on a students union tour with the cheese. Cheese is perfect student food. Its affordable, delicious and versatile. Easy as a pot noodle , actually , even easier. You have to add warm water to a pot noodle, cheese is there, more of a ready meal. M: Throughout this interview, I’m just going to keep it casual and relaxed and throw in a few cheese related jokes so here’s the first one….What cheese would you use to hide a horse? (Alex rubs his hair and thinks for a second…) A: Mascarpone M: Ah, a bit annoyed you got that, but well done…So I’d get shot if I didn’t ask you about music, what artists do you have on your playlists right now?

A: Led Belly, he’s sort of a 30’s 40’s 50’s guy, a blues singer. I listen to him on youtube all the time. M: Any new stuff? A: Anything that the kids listen to really, the black eyed peas a lot and AC/DC. All little boys like AC/DC since they learn to bang their heads. M: What inspired you to write your book? A: It just felt like the right time. My music career was coming to an end and I was getting married, it sort of symbolised a new beginning; Blur ending and my marriage starting, it’s what made me move on and follow my cheese passion. M: Next joke, what cheese do you use to get a bear out of the woods? A: Camembert? Ha, I’m impressed with all these cheese related jokes! M: I’m impressed you’re getting them all right! So tell me more about this blanket cheese? A: You go to a restaurant and they’ve got things already made, so why not have things like that at home? Cheese in the shape of bread. I’ve made four of the blankets, welsh rarebit is my favourite one, Its just a mixture of all things bad; egg, mustard, booze and cheese but tastes good. Cheese is a fail safe and cheese on toast is much nicer than pizza. M: Hmm I think I’ll have to defend pizza here A: Yeah pizza is good but my thinking is I could make the best cheese on toast in the world for the same price as the worst pizza M: So when is the cheese range available? A: It’s exclusively in ASDA until March and then will go into other stores. Ive got lots of stuff going on though. I’ve been visiting Ireland to look at cheese. They actually make better camembert than the French, but its undiscovered, I urge everyone to try it. M: Well if i ever pop to Ireland I’ll make sure i do! Thanks for coming today, really nice to chat to you, and I look forward to trying some of your nifty cheeses!

Overdue Books raise £1million for the University By Katie French

The University has managed to raise more than £1million by fining students for overdue library books. Across the UK, Universities have been chasing up overdue charges and stunning staff and students alike at the results. The University of Plymouth charted at 7 out of the country, raising a total of £1,058,777. Leeds came in at number 1 by collecting a staggering £1.8million in the last six years. The figures were released by Freedom of Information requests to all of Britain’s universities by the Press Association. Universities were asked to supply details of the amount of fines issued, the total received and the number of books unaccounted for from it’s libraries for the last six academic years from 2004/05. 101 in total responded, penalties at the universities noticeably varied, ranging from 10p for every day a book is overdue to a larger £1 a day per item at Universities such as Edinburgh. At the other end of the table, with books remaining unaccounted for and bills remaining unpaid, Oxford comes in having only collected £20,923 and the University of Kent with £19,613.

Students have also been reportedly turning to online store Amazon to buy replacement books to avoid paying the full price to their University for a new copy. “Sometimes a student who has genuinely lost an item will buy it through Amazon at a reduced price and give us the book – we are very happy to accept that” Edingburgh Napier University revealed in replying to the FOI request. “At the end of the day our priority is to ensure that materials we have in stock for student use are available so when an item is not returned we start the invoice process with the aim of replacing the item.” For persistent offending, students can have their library account suspended or lose access to their university’s IT system with a similar process also being offered here at Plymouth. Students at some universities can even find themselves being barred from graduating should they owe their university money. £5 debt at Exeter will prevent graduation, as will £20 at Lancaster and £25 at the University of Glasgow. The odd one out of all respondents was the University of Winchester who

does not fine it’s students but instead physically bars them from the library for the duration of their overdue time period. The top 10 universities raising the most in library fines were: 1. Uni of Leeds – 1,869,340 2. Uni of Manchester – 1,299,342 3. Uni of Wolverhampton – 1,252,253 4. King’s College London – 1,197,715 5. Uni of Hertfordshire – 1,147,238 6. Uni of Birmingham – 1,114,863 7. Plymouth Uni – 1,058,777 8. Uni of Nottingham – 1,025,560 9. Kingston Uni – 1,020,753 10. Uni of Durham – 1,005,426 Taken from:

Opportunities at UPSU By Heena Mistry

There are a number of opportunities every year at the students union. These range from sabbatical officers, parttime officers, graduate interns and placements for undergraduates. Currently I am the Marketing Assistant at the Students’ Union. The placements for the Students’ Union came up in March which was rather late in the year. However the job specification looked good and also, talking to the previous person in the role, I decided that i would love the chance to make an impact. My role is very diverse and mainly focuses on marketing and events. I generally have to split my time for these disciplines accordingly: with 75% of my time to marketing and the remaining 25% for events. I do a range of activities from making minutes for meetings to helping out at all sorts of events, the role is very varied and working for the SU develops all aspects of an individual’s attributes, not just emphasising the good, but improving the bad.

I have had many experiences and gained transferable skills which i will be able to apply to not just my next job, but to all jobs I may have in the future. I have improved skills that I already possessed. Organisation, written/ verbal communication and (to a lesser extent) my public speaking I have been able to drastically advance on. I went from being a timid public speaker to being able to present in front of 100s of students in Fresher Week. Fresher’s week was the busiest time of the year, by far, with over 100 separate events, meetings and activities happening over the short space of just 3 weeks really tested my ability to work under pressure. The role offers an abundance of networking opportunities such as the commercial stands that come to the Welcome Fayre (also in Fresher’s Week) every year. This fayre comprises of companies that the SU and Plymouth University directly deal with. This gives the companies the chance to get more involved in the Plymouth University experience. Having a job in the SU allows for great internal networking opportunities which can include prospects for the future.

The placement offers me so much more than being a part of the Students’ Union and, in turn, the University in itself. The placement offers me flexibility in managing my own time, planning projects in detail and gets me fully involved in Sabbatical campaigns. It has given me a greater insight into the organisation which is so important and vital to the Plymouth students and to University life. I really enjoy the all the time I am spending on my placement and even the office banter is brilliant fun. The placement has taught and encourages me to challenge and push myself further in every activity I partake in. The staff really listen and all take on board my ideas, which allow me to take responsibility for my own job, which you couldn’t get in many other different places. So if you are looking for a placement and you feel like there are none out there for you, then take a look closer to home (your University home) and inquire about a placement with UPSU.

My Busy Fun-Filled Placement Year…

so far!

By Jennifer Harris BSc Biomedical Sciences – Stage 3

Placement…we’re told about them… hear about them…but there’s so much to organise - surely?! Where do I start?! Who do i talk to?! There are so many options! This is exactly what came to mind during my first year studying Biomedical Sciences. I didn’t understand how I could do a placement with my course and I was told that very few undertake a placement year. On the other hand, placement presentations were being given telling me what a good opportunity to undertake one was. In a state of confusion I consulted my lecturer and thanks to his advice and contacts I ended up with not one project…but FOUR! Let me explain further…when I consulted my lecturer he explained to me how Biomedical Science research works, what the career path would entail and asked whether I would be interested. It sounded like my perfect job, so I was very keen to get started on applying to laboratories for work experience and placements. A bit of advice regarding placement year… exams finish mid to late May and your lectures for the next academic year don’t start till late September the following year…that’s 15 months off! So make good use of that time! Initially I thought of the laboratories that were on my doorstep in Plymouth – Plymouth University and Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD). The lecturer I had informed me of a project scheme that students in their 2nd year of university could apply to do in the summer after exams. The Nuffield Trust provides bursaries for students to run a 6-8 week project with a lecturer in a chosen area of work. Straight away my lecturer and I set on filling out our application form for this bursary and months later we found out we were successful! I was extremely happy that I had a mini-project that I could concentrate my time on without having to worry about exams or coursework. The summer was going to be the start of my training in a research career.

My luck continued when my application for work experience at PCMD paid off and I was accepted to do some work experience in the neurology laboratories shadowing a PhD on his project. I started this the day after my final exam, which was crazy but it was nice to get on with something to distract the mind from exam results. I was working at PCMD for 5 weeks full time and I learnt a wide array of skills, some reinforced from theory at university and some new which I would never have learnt on my course. This was also a fantastic opportunity, to attend seminars, meet other researchers in the field and see what the other research team were working on; overall a fantastic networking experience! It was also nice to see how a different laboratory works in comparison to what I already knew at Plymouth University. To add to these two short laboratory experiences…I decided to ask for another short laboratory placement at Oxford University. A lecturer from Oxford University had given a guest seminar at Plymouth University during the spring term, so I asked him. Thankfully, he welcomed me to the lab for as long as I wanted during the autumn term of 2011. I wanted to do something useful during the autumn term as my main placement didn’t start till January 2012 (wait for it… I’ll explain in a minute!), so I arranged to be at Oxford University for 7 weeks. This turned out to be one of the most useful placements I’d carried out so far as I was allowed to run my own project. They ordered equipment in for me, gave me full use of the facilities I needed and to top it off, I was instantly socially accepted into their crazy crew! At the end of my placement I gave a brief presentation on the work I had done and the results I had found…the scary thing about that was I was presenting in a lecture theatre! Once on the podium I wasn’t actually that scared at all! It felt very different from the assessed presentations given at university but it was good practice for the final year presentation, which has to be given on my course, for your dissertation.

Now onto the fun part! My main placement! My lecturer had given me a contact of a laboratory in Turin, Italy, that was happy to take on placement students. I devised a professional CV with a covering letter highlighting my aims and aspirations and sent it off to the laboratory and within a couple of weeks I received an email, informing me that I’d been accepted to carry out my 7 month placement with them. I was ecstatic! I arranged to start in January and finish in July 2012. I arranged residence at Turin University Halls of Residence and arranged a visit for October 2011. I arrived on the 3rd January 2012 after having a fantastic festive season with my family and friends. I am very excited and keen to get started on a long-term project and start learning the Italian language! Overall, having completed these placements, I hope to be more competent in the laboratory and aim to develop an array of new skills. Thanks to these placements, I am more than certain that carrying out a research PhD post-graduation is the right career choice for me! Also, I don’t even feel intimidated about my final year dissertation anymore! Bonus! It is a case of trial and error though, so don’t be afraid to give something a shot and say actually that’s not for me and hopefully one day you’ll say this is just right!

Steps towards success

steps towards your placement By Jennifer Harris BSc Biomedical Sciences – Stage 3

So, if you’re interested or unsure about placement…here’s a little checklist of things to think about and do in preparation…

1. Think about what area of work you’d be interested in trying out…start by thinking about what interests you most on your course perhaps? (in my case I was interested in research so I applied to research laboratories) 2. Do not worry about the content of the work you’re doing…all work experience is good work experience! (in my case I’m carrying out projects in various areas of biomedical research, however my career may have nothing to do with these areas, but that’s ok!) 3. Ask a lecturer for advice…after all they’ve already had jobs in your area of interest, or carried out PhDs and Post Docs. Use and abuse their contacts! 4. Start writing your curriculum vitae and personal statement. You have skills and techniques that you should show off! 5. Would you want to go abroad or would you like to stay in the UK? Going abroad entitles you to financial and accommodation help from the Erasmus scheme, so don’t think that going abroad is a totally unviable option.

And remember...don’t see this as a year out of university that’s going to lead to forgetting all you’ve spent the past two years learning. See this as an opportunity to become a professional a year before you’re supposed to! Get some real work and life experience that will make you a better candidate for a job post-graduation and actually make your final year that bit easier! Also, with 15 months off…no reason why you can’t fit in a sneaky holiday there somewhere! I managed to go to Portugal for 2 weeks and followed that up with 2 weeks hiking in Northern Spain! Be inspired! TAKE A PLACEMENT YEAR! (Trust me you’ll need the break after 2nd year!) If you have any questions regarding placement generally you can email the Plymouth University placement office at: If you want to email me with any questions then you can contact me on: jennifer.harris@students.plymouth. If you want to find out more on the Nuffield Studentships then check out the website:

THE interview Anthony James

By Richard Garratt Deputy President

UPSU catch up with University of Plymouth student and Commonwealth games silver medalist Anthony James. And first student to be granted a scholarship under the new 150 anniversary scholarships by The University. Where were you born? I was born in plymouth (a true plymouth boy through and through!) What course are you on/did you study? I am studying Psychology So how did you first get into swimming? Got into swimming just to learn how to swim, then kept going! Did you know instantly that swimming was the sport for you? No, but i really enjoyed it so i carried it on. So can you tell everyone a little about your swimming career and upcoming events you are training for? So far iv broken 14 british records, won nationals, made finals at 3 European Championships, made the final at the 2011 World Championships, won a silver and bronze at 2010 Commonwealth games (and im only 22- young for a swimmer!). Im currently training to compete for a place on the London Olympic team.

Do you have any sponsorship deals? I dont have any sponsorships deals, which is why the scholarship from the Uni is so helpful.

If you didn’t swim what would you do? If i didnt swim i would still do some form of sport- maybe running

What’s been the biggest highlight of your career so far? Biggest high point is winning silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games- my first international medal.

If you could be any animal what would you be and why? A dolphin, they look like they have a lot of fun!

Low point? Biggest low point is just missing the team for the 2009 World Championships by .04 How often do you train? I train around 30 hours per week. Do/did you still manage to play/swim for the University? Yes, i represent the University at the BUCS swimming championships

Swimming or water polo? Swimming Sand or snow? Sand- love the sun! Football or rugby? Rugby Trainers or flip flops? Trainers - i live in my trainers! Beer or cider? I never drink, so wouldnt be able to chose beer or cider!

How do you think the scholarship could benefit you? The scholarship will go towards training and competition expenses, including accommodation for Olympic Trials!

Skis or snowboard? Skis

What would your superpower be? A super power to read minds!- would be amazing to know what someone was thinking!

Thierry Henry or Ruud Van Nistelrooy? Thierry Henry

Who do you think would win in a fight between Cap Jack Sparrow and The joker? The joker would win that fight!- he’s a evil genius!

Blackberries or iphones? Blackberries- I have one, its so useful!

Jonny Wilkinson or David Beckham? Jonny Wilkinson Ian Thorpe or Michael Phelps? Michael Phelps

Running things! By Graeme Riley

Plymouth University student, Mike Wilsmore, was a deserved recipient of a sports scholarship worth £600 at the recent Evening Herald Sports Personality of the Year Awards. A fitting reward for some impressive times and performances, representing his club, the University, Devon County and the South of England on road, country and track. After a summer blighted by injury, Mike is back on track working hard through his winter training to build his strength and endurance in preparation for next summer’s track season. With several impressive performances under his belt already this winter, including a close 4th place at the Devon County Championships, Mike has one over distance race left at the Telford 10k where he is hopeful of lowering his current personal best of 32 minutes 20 seconds to a sub 32 minute clocking. The focus for the second year Physiotherapy undergraduate will then switch towards his favoured surface and distance of 800m on the track with a short indoor season where the main goal will be to retain his British University title won last year at 1500m when his strength and speed saw him run clear of an impressive field. Mike and his coach, Graeme Riley, who is also a student at Plymouth University studying on the Post Graduate Certificate of Education, are confident that he is capable of eclipsing the 1 minute 50 barrier and he may get that opportunity at the Olympic Stadium of all places! Unfortunately, it won’t be the Olympics for Mike this year, but with the British University Outdoor

Athletics Championships acting as a trial competition for the Olympic Games this is a great opportunity to make his mark in the new stadium. The signs so far this winter have been good with Mike’s training times improving and he posted some impressive performances at last month’s Varsity Match against keen rivals, Exeter University, with a one minute 22 second victory that placed him 17th on the UK rankings for this year. An active member of the University Athletic club, Mike is the Long Distance Captain and, as the other runners will testify, is a demanding taskmaster, setting some fiendishly tough sessions for the runners at their Monday and Wednesday Club nights. It can be safely reported, however, that Mike will not be on the sidelines but suffering the same as the rest as he builds his fitness towards the summer. With a number of other targets for the summer, such as capturing the Gold Medal at the South of England Championships and making the 800m final at the AAA’s Championships, the most prestigious and toughest of domestic competitions, there is no time for resting on his laurels and Christmas is a case in point. Mike’s programme reflects his self sacrifice and determination with a 2 hour session in the dunes of Perranporth on Christmas Eve, an easy day of a one hour run on Christmas day and a four mile race around Burrator Reservoir followed by a four mile easy run on Boxing Day! Phew!

With runners like Mike and Psychology Undergraduate, James Manthorp, at the helm as President, the University Athletic Club is going from strength to strength with a growing membership, a busy race diary on track, country and road, and a friendly social scene. If you are interested in finding out more then have a look at the website: http:// and get involved.


Unsung athletes of the 21st century By Josef Williams Surf Science and Technology Stage 2

There is no doubt, these days, that Surfing is a sport. Or at least there shouldn’t be, considering that there are now professional surfers making a living out of competitive surfing, with countless sponsors, corporations worth billions built on the sport, and a world title. Not to mention the books, scientific research, University degrees... etc. But Surfing is an art as well as a sport, and therefore (to outsiders) will always have an element of the intangible, the indescribable, and the mystery about it. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ignorance where Surfing (as a sport) is concerned. This is in part due to the sports misspent youth. California, where Surfing ‘came of age’ so to speak, was going through the ‘youth movement’ and Surfing’s carefree attitude boomed... As a spiritual practice for some and a drop out lifestyle for others. In most cases both. And so the art fell deeper into subculture obscurity within the media, but the sport developed and athletes wanted to take it to the next level. And did.

So why do we still have this disdainful attitude towards Surfing? During Kelly Slater’s heat against Owen Wright at the Hurley Pro surf competition (Kelly then went on to win his 11th World Title) the judges, in between sets, were discussing a radio show that they had been interviewed on. The DJ had played down Slater’s recent 10th world title, stating that Surfing was not a real sport. Therefore the fact that no other sportsman or woman had achieved such a feat over a lifetime career, did not apply. I personally encounter this unfounded, cynical attitude towards my sport, daily. This attitude, I believe, comes from misconceptions about the level of ability and athleticism needed to surf at a high level. So when offered to take part in a relevant experiment with the University of Plymouth, I jumped at the chance. In this experiment, the subject (i.e. me) wears a heart rate monitor and GPS tracker while being subjected to blood lactate sampling (you are pricked for blood samples repeatedly) and stress hormone sampling (from saliva). All of this

data shows that Surfers operate well beyond their blood lactate threshold and experience high stress levels (in significant surf). I myself paddled over two kilometres in the half hour experiment, achieving 85% of my maximum heart rate in solid 6-8 ft swell. All of this puts Surfing up there with any Olympic sport, in regards to stress on the body. But the purpose of this study is just to prove that Surfing is self-regulating. Meaning that a surfer will only work as hard as he or she wants to, rather than the power of the waves dictating how hard one works This would suggest that an athlete is always working submaximally while Surfing. This study is just one of many conducted on Surfers in the last decade and there will be many more. Hopefully these will help to dispel the stigma surrounding the sport and encourage a fairer appraisal of these athletes’ achievements

Vegetarianism Saving your money, health, the environment, and the animals By Becky Halford

Since the 1950s, the global demand for meat has shot up by 500%. On earth there are: 14 billion chickens 1.8 billion sheep and goats 1.3 billion cows 1 billion pigs Saving the Environment If you are highly interested in caring for the environment, then it would be sensible to consider vegetarianism. Meat production is a resource intensive industry and is relatively insatiable compared to grain cultivation. Take for example, the cultivation of 1 kg of wheat that consumes from 500 to 4,000 litres of water and the production of 1kg of beef that requires up to 10,000 litres of water! In our daily lives, the highest proportion of water usage is in the foodstuffs that we consume, rather than in drinking, washing and sanitation. The world is becoming increasingly worried over whether food supply will meet demand in the future. Thomas Malthus described population growth as growing geometrically (1, 2, 4,16, 32, 6, etc) whilst food production will grow at a slower, arithmetic rate (2,4,6,8,10, etc), This inevitably means that food supply will not be able to satisfy demand. Even with the questionably successful green revolution, concern over this issue is on the global agenda especially as land conflicts and degradation are on the increase. Despite this, meat production and consumption is still rising and it is expected that in 2050, livestock will consume as much food as the whole human population did back in 1970.

Saving your health A lot of people will find it surprising that a well planned vegetarian diet can actually bring a lot of health benefits, such as the fact that it helps to prevent certain diseases and to aid in weight control. Meat consumption is correlated with osteoporosis, arthritis, gum disease, acne and multiple sclerosis. Vegetarian foods provide all the essential nutrients needed minus the cholesterol and contaminants found in certain meat products. Saving your money As a student, being frugal with money is one of the top priorities on your list as you try to balance money spent on food with rent, clothes, materials for university, trips, societies and going out, so you will be interested to know that from 2007 to 2010, the price of red meat in the UK increased by 10% due to the increasing price of feed and fossil fuels needed to rear livestock. You can save money by switching to a veggie lifestyle. Saving the animals A staggering two million animals are slaughtered each day in the UK to end up on the dinner plate. Meat-eating if done, should be done so responsibly and thoughtfully, ask yourself where you get your meat from and what kind of conditions the animal was reared in. What will you do? Hopefully, this article will have helped you to decide whether to look into vegetarianism or not. Look onto the next page for steps to successfully becoming a vegetarian.

Guide to stepping into (and sticking with) a vegetarian lifestyle





Do your research into how to have a well balance vegetarian diet. Find out what your options are. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go cold turkey. Start out by reducing the amount of meat in your meal gradually. Ask for help. If you have a vegetarian friend or family member, ask them for advice! Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give up. If you slip up at one point, donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t become disheartened! Just remind yourself of your reasons for becoming a veggie and use these to keep going.

Good luck!

lunch breakfast @ the kitchen @ the kitchen served from 8.30am – 11.30am weekdays

From the 1st January UPSU took over the management of the Reunion catering outlet in the Students’ Union. The unit started trading under the management of the Students’ Union on the 9th January 2012. The deal with the University is the first opportunity to transfer existing services to the Social Enterprise arm of the Students’ Union, who’s fundamental aim will be to re-invest any surplus into delivering better services for our students. Over the next few months we will be asking for your help to suggest improvements.

served from 11.30am – 2.00pm weekdays

Tom Davidson, acting President said “This is an exciting phase in the development of the Students’ Union. Many students already thought Reunion was managed by the Students’ Union as we share the same building so this seemed a natural progression for us and the University. Over the next few months we will be consulting with as many students as possible to ensure we deliver to their expectations and ask students to give us as much feedback as possible. We also hope this is the first of many strategic alliances with the University as we develop our social enterprise agenda.”

“We will be refreshing the menu and looking at re-naming the area. To do this we need your help. We have drafted a short questionnaire, which will take no more than 5 minutes to complete and are asking all students to fill it out. The results of this will help shape the direction of our catering offer so it is a real opportunity for you to tell us what you want to eat and drink on campus.”

Help us develop The Kitchen tell we should develop The Kitchen

UP: Beat

The DJ Society

The past few years have seen massive change for UpBeat, the University DJ Society. The society has recently taken a new direction in relation to the way it operates and what it is involved with, and this has seen the society grow ever since. It was decided to change the name from PDJS to UpBeat to create a new image for the society and to give some identity to the work the society was carrying out. In the same year, UpBeat secured the weekly residency in Illusion on a Friday night in the SU, to provide an alternative to mainstream pop music, yet still playing music that people want to hear. UpBeat treated this as a platform to expand upon, networking with clubs and bars in Plymouth to gain more weekly residencies and get the UpBeat brand into the public eye and not just stay in the student bubble. By associating with clubs such as Oceana, C103 and Roundabout the society were able to establish good working relationships with many of the club promoters around town. Around the same time, a chance arose to become involved with BeachBreak Live, the UK’s biggest student festival. This has lead to a more involved role this year as the festival expands and increases in size.

Last year, UpBeat took further steps to progress as a brand and as a society. An opportunity came from Eatmusic online radio to host a weekly show every Saturday from 9pm till 11pm in a dedicated radio studio upstairs at Ride Cafe. The UpBeat show is live online and streamed via webcam with videos available to watch throughout the week. This platform has allowed for a larger audience with videos getting hundreds of views. The other route that UpBeat took was to start hosting their own music event nights. This prompted the formation of Re: Claim, a sister brand for the society whereby slightly more underground artists are brought to Plymouth to showcase their talents. Over the 2010/2011 academic year, several events have taken place to great success, hosting artists from Toddla T, MJ Cole, Ed Solo and Darrison. One of the aims from the Re: Claim night is to provide a high quality artist for small and affordable prices for students.

One of Upbeat’s main focuses at the moment is Re: Claim Presents Netsky, held in the Students Union on 9th February 2012. Netsky is a leading light in the new wave of drum and bass talent from Europe with his blend of uplifting melancholic melodies and heavy dance floor beats and bass. His popularity as a DJ and producer is second to none. His skills behind the decks are enviable and he seems to have a midas touch with the ability to transform the most subdued of crowds into an ecstatic bouncing rave within a matter of minutes. This is sure to be a night to remember. As stated before, one of the aims for Re:Claim is to provide big name artists for small prices, and UpBeat have delivered their promise with tickets at only £4 in advance. 2012 sure looks to be an exciting year for Upbeat so keep an eye out!

win tickets

UpBeat, the DJ Society, launched their sister brand â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Re:Claimâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; last year and now it is back this year with a bang! We bring you one of the brightest new talents in the drum and bass scene, Netsky. His production skills are second to none, with the ability to release hit after hit, as well as remixing artists such as Swedish House Mafia, Plan B, Jessie J and Skream. His skill as a DJ allow him to take the most subdued crowd into an ecstatic, bouncing rave within minutes to deliver a night that people will remember for a long time.

He has seen a meteoric rise to fame over the past few years and this will only continue in the future, after starting out as a small time producer to headlining festivals across the world. He has taken time out of his hectic schedule to come down for his only gig in the south west on the 9th February.

To celebrate, The Knowledge are giving away two tickets to this quality night which is not to be missed. To win, answer the question below and email your answer to with your name and contact number. Netsky originates from which country?




UPSU is offering a fantastic opportunity within a busy students’ union for a group of individuals to work as a team representing over 30,000 Plymouth University students. We are looking for current Plymouth University Higher Education students and people who want to enhance their future career by taking a one year sabbatical position. In return we offer you the opportunity to lead your students’ union, develop excellent leadership and management skills, discover and deliver the needs and wants of all students, campaign (both locally and nationally) on issues that affect students, enhance your C.V., have a great time doing a job that you will really enjoy. Full training & support given.


positions available • • • • •

President Deputy President VP Education and Welfare VP Sports VP Activities and Communications

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Parliament Chair Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Campaigns Chair Women’s Campaigns Chair Media Rep Racial and Ethnic Campaigns Chair Postgraduate Campaigns Chair International students Campaigns Chair Ethics and Environment Campaigns Chair Students with disabilities Campaigns Chair Mature students Campaigns Chair Education Campaigns Chair Welfare Campaigns Chair Part-Time Students Campaigns Chair Placement Students Campaigns Chair

8 Independent (Non-Portfolio) Representatives

Hello everyone. I’m Emma, your current Vice President Education and Welfare and I will be the Lead Officer for the UPSU 2012 Elections. The Elections are a hugely exciting time for UPSU it is a chance for you to decide who should represent you for the coming year and run your students’ union! So what does ‘Lead Officer’ actually mean? It means together with the dedicated UPSU Elections Team I will be overseeing the whole of the election period from nominations through to voting and election campaigns. I will be working hard to ensure that the candidates get the most from

the election experience and that the elections are both fair and transparent. If you are interested in running you can come and speak to me or any of the other officers about their current roles and what they get up to from day to day. You can ask me questions about election rules and regulations (if I can’t answer your questions I will liaise with the regional NUS Returning Officer on your behalf and get back to you). The most important thing from UPSUs perspective is that the process is fun for everyone involved; candidates, voters and UPSU staff – so if you would like to know more about anything to do with the election process please contact the elections team on

5 Steps to being elected Step 1: Nominations

Step 3: Manifesto

Open 30th Jan until 13th Feb At this stage you will need to complete a nomination form (downloaded from or collect from The Hive at UPSU. You will need to get the names of two students who wish to nominate you to stand for the position and hand this in to the Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union reception by noon on the 13th February.

The manifesto is the document which says who you are, what you intend to do should you get elected and why people should vote for you. The manifesto must not cover more than one side of A4. Because of the online voting system, it is vital that this is submitted to by 20th Feb. More information about campaign material will be given at the candidates training.

Step 2: Candidates Training This is an essential part of the Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union election process. At this session you will get all the information regarding the rules of the election and further information on how voting will work. It is an ideal opportunity to ask questions and clear up anything you do not fully understand. It is compulsory for all candidates to attend a session either on: Monday 13th February 18:15pm, Roland Levinsky 209 or Tuesday 14th February 13:30pm, Roland Levinsky 302, because any infringement of the rules could lead to you being disqualified.

Step 4: Campaigning Campaigning can never be underestimated; this is how you will engage with the very people who will hopefully vote for you. Campaigning, or at least public campaigning, can commence when voting opens. During the campaigning process it is important to focus on what you aim to achieve should you take office and this should ultimately focus on how you are going to make life better for students. Step 5: Voting All elections are conducted via an online ballot on, the system used for UPSU elections is the Alternative Vote (AV) method. Get campaigning and go after those votes!

for all election info see

Key dates

Mon 30th Jan Nominations Open Mon 13th Feb Nominations Close Candidates Training 18:15 RLB 209 Tue 14th Feb Candidates Training 13:30 RLB 302 Mon 20th Feb Elections Document Deadline 12:00 noon email to Thu 23th Feb Full time Candidates Speeches RLB crosspoint 12:30pm Fri 24th Feb Voting open, 12:00 noon Elections Launch Party UPSU, 22:00 Mon 5th March Voting closes, 12:00 noon Results announced from 19:00, UPSU Sublime Bar

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James Redfearn Vice-President Activities and Communications 2008/09 + 2009/10

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? Yes – From campaigning to get elected right up until leaving two and a bit years later I had an amazing time. I made some fantastic friends and brilliant memories, and had great fun almost every day working in a vibrant place with great colleagues and students. What experience can you take from being in office? The experience you can from being a full-time Officer can vary hugely, it all depends on what you aims are for your year, what happens in the University and nationally during the year, and ultimately how much effort you put in to it. Having said that I can almost guarantee that you will find the experience hugely valuable - for your future career, whatever your plans (the skills developed are transferrable for any role), and for your own personal development (confidence, adaptability, dealing with different personalities, general outlook on life etc) What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? It’s hard to say – there were probably things I could have spent more time on, or done in a different way for a better outcome, but ultimately I achieved a fair amount of what I set out to do on my manifesto. There were some tough situations to deal with at times, but ultimately they have provided great experience to build on in the future, so I wouldn’t change them either!

What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? I have a lot of great, fun memories from my time as a Sabbatical Officer, but I want to reflect on one related to the core purpose of elected officers; representing students. This was a student on a health-related course who had a disciplinary meeting with their course leader and Dean of the Faculty, and who was struggling with the procedures and getting quite stressed about being thrown off his course. In fact the student had only committed a minor offence, and just needed to be clear on his supervisor and School’s concerns, so I sat down with him before his meeting, and attended the meeting to support him. In the end he was able to continue with his course, and was quite happy with the outcome in terms of additional measures he needed to take. After the meeting he said thank you and that he would never forget the help I’d given him. What seemed like a fairly ‘small’ task for me in my working week, just 2.5 hours of my time, actually had a huge impact on the student’s future, and that’s what it’s all about. (Bit soppy I know – sorry!) NB: Before you worry about the pressure of supporting students in this situation, don’t – UPSU provides great training and support for Officers throughout! Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? You don’t need to know the complete ins and outs of the constitution and democratic structures of the Students’

Union no, but it always helps to have been involved in clubs and societies and becoming a committee member (especially for VP Sports and VP Activities and Comms) or attended Student Parliament before running – it ensures you know what you’re letting yourself in for, plus will help you get votes!! What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? - Passionate about the work of the Students’ Union - Outgoing and friendly - Willing to go the extra mile – attending Societies/Volunteering events outside of work hours for example - Lots of ideas and plans – but willing to take other people’s ideas on board and adapt What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? The people, without a doubt. The students who pop in for a chat about their latest society event idea on their way home from lectures, and who are so passionate about their cause (from anti-racism campaigns to chess!), and of course the UPSU staff who are so inspiring to work with and willing to help (and great fun too – many a curry night has been enjoyed!) Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? Without a doubt – as I said above, the experience has been invaluable. But as a representative of students to the external community you are also

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Darren Jones President 2008/09

invited to events and activities that mean you meet some great contacts, from University Governors who have friends in high places, to the City’s Lord Mayor and Police Service… whilst you’re meeting these people on behalf of students it’s always worth keeping in touch about your future career, and if you’re an effective and polite officer people are generally happy to help. What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? I hope people will remember me for making a difference and improving the Union, if only a small amount. The one big new thing I started was UPSU Radio – so perhaps that will be my ‘legacy’ (Hint to Marketing team: Maybe you could name it after me?!) Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? Absolutely – and my enemies, and people I don’t know – it’s a fantastic experience, and a great opportunity to make a real difference to people’s lives

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? Very much so - one of the best years of my career so far. What experience can you take from being in office? So many. Experience of helping to run a £3m charity. Experience of board level leadership, including on university board of governors. Experience of PR, campaigns and stakeholder management. The opportunities are endless. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? Try not to get so absorbed in the drama of it all - recognising that your main job is representing students. What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? Having lunch with the Prime Minister at Number 10. Also getting to go to China and the USA. Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? It would help if you cared about it and had some ideas, yes! I wouldn’t worry on technical knowledge though, you’ll learn this quickly.

What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? Strength of character - it’s a tough job. What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? The ability to make a difference. Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? I’m currently training as a commercial lawyer, this only happened because of my experience at UPSU. I was a human bioscience graduate! What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? Leading organisational change Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? Absolutely, can I have another go?

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James Hutchinson Education and Welfare Officer 2001/02

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? Absolutely! It was a superb year, I couldn’t have imagined the impact my year as a sabb had on my future career and life choices when I first submitted my nomination. What experience can you take from being in office? My year in office provided me skills and experiences that have served me well in my future career. Critically, leadership, decision-making, financial acumen, diplomacy, public speaking, teamworking, performance management and most importantly, the impact individuals can have when they come together in a coordinated and unified way. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? Enjoy the moment more and make the most of, what is in effect, a very short time to make a difference.

What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? Too many! Probably a General Meeting attended by over 800 students, the ViceChancellor and his executive team on the back of the announcement to close three of the University’s campuses. The University’s great hall was packed with print and broadcast journalists doing their best to get it. Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? I didn’t know a thing! I had been involved in the rugby club and used the Union facilities, but I didn’t have the first clue about the running of the Union. At points this was a real advantage.

What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? The ability to take difficult decisions and have the courage of your conviction. What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? Working within a team of sabbs who are all in the same boat. Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? It was the best possible training for my future career - I am now the Chief Executive of a Students’ Union! What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? Giving it 100%. Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? Without a doubt.

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Mike Austin Vice President (Exmouth & Exeter) 2007/08

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? Yes What experience can you take from being in office? Being a sabbatical officers enables you to develop a number of skills that a regular graduate wouldn’t necessarily achieve. Your communication skills will improve, you will learn how to read financial accounts, think strategically, lead a team of officers and work with the relevant staff to reach the best outcomes. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? I’d have taken all the training I could get and asked more questions. The staff really are quite good. What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? It sounds odd to say but my whole term in office was my most memorable moment because your time goes by so quickly and a year feels like a month. Campaigning for the future of Exmouth Campus, achieving grade II listed status of the Exmouth SU Building, and working closely with the staff team are all great memories.

Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? No. I knew very little coming from a smaller campus. What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? A commitment to equality & diversity is a must, a passion for making a change for the good of students at UPSU, good oral communication skills (although being a sabbatical officer made me a lot better at this). What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? Now that I’m a member of staff in another Students’ Union, I don’t miss being a sabbatical officer but I do miss the staff team and being able to make the important decisions that make life better for students.

Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? If I hadn’t been a sabbatical officer I wouldn’t be doing the job I’m doing now. Nearly 4 years later and I’m looking at management roles in students’ unions. What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? I was a campus President at Exmouth, so I’d hope those students and staff would remember me for the work I did to try and protect the future of the campus for educational purposes following it’s closure and relocation to the Rolle Building in Plymouth. I also would like to think that I made the final year for the students at Exmouth as fun as possible with plenty of opportunities to engage and providing the most successful end of year ball ever seen on that campus. Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend?Yes

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Matthew Chan Deptuy President 2010-2011

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? I did indeed, it was one of the hardest and best thing I have even done! Which is very rewarding whenever I look back. What experience can you take from being in office? I had the experience of working with the best people at the SU, organising and managing exciting events and campaign for students! But most of all, the experience of working in an environment where I was getting the best out of myself all the time. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? I would definitely take more time off if I had the chance, a bit more travelling throughout the year! What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? A lot of very memorable moment, but the best one would be the food festival “Oh! The World In Our Kitchen!”. 30 dishes from 14 different nationalities with over 100 participants, I was very proud of what went on that evening!

Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? If you know how to spell “UPSU”, then you are good enough to be a Sabbatical Officer! Because UPSU evolve every year base on the different personalities, aims, objective, background and point of views from the students and sabbatical officers. Therefore, if you get elected, then you are the best person with all the knowledge to be the Sabbatical Officer that students want!

Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? I have to say, two years ago. My experiences on my CV were very limited to my degree. But now, I can walk in to any job interviews and demonstrate my skills based on solid evidence of the work that I did with the SU. The role also allow you to widen your network with potential employer across the country, something that might take years for other to build.

What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? Good looking, Committed, Professional, Loyal to students and Good time management!

Remember there will be someone who has got the same degree like you when you go to an interview, but if there is only 1 position, you must be able to distinguish yourself form everyone. You can say you have the experience of managing and being the trustee of a multi millions organisation, representing 30,000 students across the South West and make a different to the students who are in need.

What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? The responsibilities that I had were something that you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else, they helped me to develop my employability skills and I am very grateful for that! Obviously, the pay cheque as well!

What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? Never really thought about this actually, but I suppose if people remember me as Matt, the Deputy President whom enjoyed his time at UPSU, that will do for me! Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? Yes! I would, as long as they have got the right attitude and willing to work hard!

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Chris Rees Vice President of Sport 2008/09 + 2009/10

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? Yes, it was an experience that I will never forget and one that is unique to anyone that undertakes it. It opened my eyes to things I wouldn’t have ever dreamt of previously and I was fortunate to make some great friends in the process. What experience can you take from being in office? The skills that I learnt during the 2 years I was an officer has been the key to many life decisions that I have taken since. The confidence and energy you get from working with students is second to none and seeing change can be extremely rewarding; especially when it continues to play a large part of UPSU’s future. The people that you meet and the networking opportunities within it can open up many doors for personal and professional development. Although it was hard work and at time I was placed outside my comfort zone, I will always remember the many many laughs. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? Nothing. What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? Seeing Sport becoming a larger part of the student experience and helping to ensure its future was taken seriously was great. The team that I worked with

was also fantastic and without them I doubt it would have been as rewarding, however, the most memorable moment has got to be winning the election and then being re-elected (knowing that all the hard work had paid off!!). Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? You certainly need to be heavily involved in some way or another. I was always very active in more than 1 sports club (either as Chairman or participating in training) and that helped when it came to election time. I wasn’t too aware of UPSU’s vision; however, I knew what students felt towards sport and had a passion to make a difference! What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? I don’t believe that there is a fixed mould for sport and any individual can bring a different dynamic to the role. For me personally I’d like to see someone that has the following qualities: - Have pride and passion for sport - Conscientious and empathetic towards people (can listen to students!!) - Good leadership skills - An ability to act on information and instinct - A desire to progress personally and professionally - Is professional but has a great sense of humour.

What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? Making a difference to students lives, being around the buzz of student activity, working with the individuals at UPSU (the 3 N’s!) and knowing that you didn’t turn up to work because you had to but because you genuinely wanted to be there! Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? Without a doubt! It is more unique than anything you can get on a CV; you cannot pay for this experience or the people and information you are part of. What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? Ooh, that’s a tough one. I hope that people think I was: - Hard working - Part of a fantastic Sabb team 08/09 - Made a positive difference - Passionate - Truly developed sport Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? Yes!!

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Norbert Bonnet Deputy President 2007-2008 Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? I certainly enjoyed being a Sabbatical Officer and now that I have completed my studies and working, I am sure being Sabbatical Officer was the best decision that I have made as I can apply in my current job the skills developed while being in the Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union and I can even suggest and implement new ideas based on what I have seen or done while being sabbatical officer. What experience can you take from being in office? As deputy president, working closely with the marketing department was the best experience because I was involved in various tasks and exposed to various decision making processes which allowed me to widen my knowledge. Many things that I have learnt in UPSU are helping me in my current job. Having been involved in different committees at different levels to represent the opinion of students has provided me the opportunity to be exposed to a range of perspectives of considering any topics being discussed and develop my critical thinking abilities. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back? Attend only productive meetings which would result in concrete actions and stop going to meetings which were used a platform for individuals to say what people want to hear without actions. What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? Brining international students to the forefront of the scene by raising issues faced by them to come up with the

relevant solutions and by using UPSU as a platform to organize several activities where international students had the opportunity to mix with British students. In my first year of study in Plymouth, the integration of international students was not really strong and I am pleased I did not only succeed in changing this but what I have introduced is still ongoing. Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? I think you should at least have some knowledge about the studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; union, how it operates and what the environment you will be working. If people think that the role of a sabbatical officer is to come into the job and change everything, then this is completely wrong. While you have to be flexible and understand that ideas that you might have are not achievable due to many factors that you did not take into consideration, you should also use your intelligence and not continuously let yourself being dictated on what you should do on a daily basis. I can use one specific example to highlight the importance of being flexible as in several cases that I have seen or heard where sabbatical officers did not complete their terms in office, it seems this is because of the lack of flexibility. Being the first elected Deputy President (sabbatical officer), one of my key tasks was to represent students from partner colleges. I was told that one of my key role is to ensure that students from partner colleges come to our campus and use our facilities. While this turned out to be accurate for students who live near our campus,

when visiting the partner colleges far from Plymouth, in remote areas and talking to the students, I have seen that a large majority are not even aware of the facilities and services provided by the University. So how can we expect people to use something if they are not aware of what is available to them? As a result, while I started my sabbatical year thinking of encouraging as many students as possible from partner colleges to come to the main campus, I eventually found out that focusing my sabbatical year on an awareness campaign about the university facilities and services would be more useful, appropriate and realistic while still facilitating the visit of any students to the main campus from students who wanted to do so. What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? Open to learning Outspoken Flexible without being dictated on what to do Action should match the content of speeches What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? Challenging and questioning speeches or promises that are unrealistic or never put to practice

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Steve Ricketts President 2003-2005 Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? Without any doubt YES. After completing my studies, together with more than 300 other candidates worldwide, I applied for a job with Hilton Hotels Middle East and Africa. There were 5 recruitment and selection stages and while many candidates had a few years of full time hotel work experience on their CV, on mine, I described my one year full time off work experience with UPSU by highlighting the key tasks performed and results achieved. I was eventually offered a job and the skills developed and experience acquired while being sabbatical officer has played a major role. What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? Challenging the status quo at various levels and brining diversity at the forefront of the scene at University of Plymouth not only by talking but by organizing campaigns and activities with a major impact and measurable results both at university level and also with press coverage. Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? I would recommend to a friend to be a sabbatical officer only if he/she has some basis knowledge about how UPSU operates and he/she has a few realistic and achievable target and objectives to implement. If I have a friend who thinks that being sabbatical officer is a year of enjoyment where the main benefit is to enjoy parties and nights out, I would certainly never recommend the job of sabbatical officer

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? Yes it was a great couple years being the figure head for the Students in Plymouth. What experience can you take from being in office? It was great work with the good and the bad from from elected representives to the staff. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? Be more professional and take a more mature approach to the position. What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? Being suspended for 2 weeks and missing the May Ball due to campaining for better sports facilities. It was tragic that I was suspended by my own Union! It raised the issue and my profile more so the positive outweighed the negative.

Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? The less you know the better - If you know to much you may well be a UPSU nerd who canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see outside the SU bubble. What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? Strong leader, passionate, determined and wants to make a difference. What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? Being very important on Campus lol. Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? Yes, as it is a great way to make loads of mistakes and wise up to the real world. What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? A good guy who wanted to make Uni great for everyone. Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? Hell yes! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an opportunity and in my experience its best to take that opportunity.

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Alison Smith VP Education and Welfare 2007-2009

Did you enjoy being a Sabbatical officer? Being a sabbatical officer gave me experiences I would not otherwise have been able to gain in an early career job. The privilege of representing such a large student body to the University and community was a highly enjoyable and fulfilling experience. What experience can you take from being in office? Being a sabbatical helped me greatly in applying for jobs afterwards. The experience of presenting papers at important meetings, dealing with the media, designing and leading campaigns and speaking at national conferences were great assets to take into the world of work. What would you do differently as a Sabb if you could go back and change anything? With a bit more perspective I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get so stressed about things!

What was your most memorable moment being a Sabb? Negotiating between a group of Chinese students and the Free Tibet group, the Rock Against Racism gig I organised and being re-elected. Do you think you need to know a lot about the UPSU before being Sabbatical Officer? No, as you can learn these things. As long as you have a passion for the role you are running for, you can learn anything else. I was not heavily involved in UPSU before I ran in the elections and many Officers have been in the same position. You have been a student at the University and therefore you have as much right as anyone else to run in the elections. What qualities would be good for someone looking to do your role? An interest in student welfare and compassion for others is fairly crucial to the role as you will essentially be striving to help people and make their lives a little better.

What do you miss about being a sabbatical officer? The ability to have a voice at a high level in the University. Do you think being a sabbatical officer has benefited you to further your career? Immeasurably. I think this will be even more beneficial for students running in the elections now. With so few jobs out there, this can be an almost guaranteed way into a good career providing you make the most of your time as an officer. What do you hope you have been remembered for as your time as a Sabb? Leading anti-racism campaigns and sticking up for students who needed help. Would you recommend being a sabbatical officer to a friend? Yes - see above!

Statistical breakdown

Elections 2011 3865 voters

RAG week 2012

Hey everyone! It’s your uni’s local RAG society here, and we’d like to tell you about our annual RAG Week, this year starting on the 5th of Feb. If you’ve been living under a rock, in a cave, on another planet, in a parallell universe, RAG is your uni’s primary charity fundraising society (we’re not ViP, although they do fantastic work in related areas). And while we’ve always got something interesting going on year-round, RAG Week is when we really pull out the stops and hold one event per day for eight days, each event for one of our eight primary charities. So, here’s what we’ve got in store for you this year... (Note: this is subject to change... but hopefully won’t.)

Sunday 5the Feb:

Monday 6th Feb:

Tuesday 7th Feb:

SU Quiz for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust To kick off RAG Week, we’re taking over the SU quiz, starting at 8pm and supporting the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

Pizza Eating Competition for Alzheimer’s Society If you can face eating the day after Endurance, come along to the SU in the evening and enter our pizza eating competition. Long a favourite of Plymouth RAG, this event always sells out! The Alzheimer’s Society aims to improve the lives of people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, as well as their family and carers.

Wet & Wild for WaterAid Weather permitting, Tuesday brings us an afternoon of various waterbased attractions, fittingly supporting WaterAid, a charity that brings clean water to areas that desperately need it. We’re aiming to secure a dunk tank for the afternoon... fancy dropping a mate in it?

So, this is the plan! Monday and Thursday aren’t yet 100% confirmed, but everything else will be happening... we look forward to it, and hope you do too! For any more information, or for bungee jump sponsorship forms, drop us an email at or find us on Facebook as “RAG Plymouth” :)

Wednesday 8th Feb: Endurance for Cancer Research UK If you were here last year, chances are the word “endurance” sends an unsettling chill down your spine... especially if you were one of the SU’s cleaning staff. This is an eating competition with a twist... how far will you go? Supporting Cancer Research UK, the world’s largest cancer research charity.

Thursday 9th Feb:

Friday 10th Feb:

Saturday 11th Feb:

Sunday 12th Feb:

Just Dance 3 Kinect Tournament for Parkinson’s UK On the Monday, we’re going to hold a JD3 tournament in the SU during the afternoon. The game’s always a good laugh, and there’ll be prizes for the best (and worst) dancers!

SU Superhero Raid for the Samaritans On Friday evening, we’ll be dressing up as superheroes and raiding the SU for donations for the Samaritans, an invaluable and financially ailing charity dispensing unconditional emotional support to those who desperately need it.

Bungee Jump for Guide Dogs This is the big one! On Saturday, bring yourself down to the Barbican Leisure Park (outside Oceana) and throw yourself off a 160ft crane. Entry is £60, which can be paid on the day or before, and which you can of course make through sponsorship (don’t stop once you hit that target, though!). Guide Dogs is a fantastic charity that improves the lives of blind and partially sighted people everywhere.

SU Quiz for the British Heart Foundation And we’ve come full circle... we’ll again be taking the helm of the SU’s weekly quiz. This week will be themed on love and relationships, just to make single people feel even better than they usually do around V-Day.

WIN rebecca Rebecca Ferguson



On the 15th March 2012 finalist of the X Factor Rebecca Ferguson is coming to Plymouth Pavilions promoting her debut album Heaven. Her soulful and expressive voice marked her as one of the biggest talents within the show and she wowed fans to vote her second place running up to the winner Matt Cardle.

Through her remarkable voice, she is establishing herself as the voice of her generation and a superstar. To celebrate her visit to Plymouth, The Knowledge is giving away two tickets for her performance in March. To win the tickets all you have to do is answer the question below and send your response, name and contact number to Good luck!! What popular branded food product does Rebecca Ferguson advertise? A. Mars bar B. Walkers Sunbites C. Fanta

19th - 21st March So here we are again! After a year of waiting, countless competitive matches and an unbelievably strong performance from many of the University’s clubs, the time has once again come for our annual Varsity Clash against UCP Marjons. Varsity originated between the rugby teams of both institutions at a time when the two biggest educational bodies in Plymouth were a polytechnic and a college. Since its humble beginnings, Varsity has grown to the week long spectacle that we have today; a festival of sport that gives hundreds of students an opportunity to compete on pitch, court and pool for the title of Varsity champions. A phrase that needs no further explanation. Not only does Varsity raise the profile of university sport around Plymouth but it is also an important charity fundraising event. This year both institutions have selected a charity to support: ‘What Just Happened’ is a charity started by a Plymouth student that aims to provide support

for families that are unable to visit their children in hospital and will give vital support to families across the country. Varsity will also be supporting the ‘Simon Adams Foundation’. Started by a Marjons graduate who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, this charity has an ambitious target of raising £1 million in support of MND research. Last year was a record breaker in terms of fundraising so lets be sure to top it again in 2012! So, for those of you that are competing, remember what you are playing for and be sure to battle with pride, passion and ferocity in the culmination of a years sport at Plymouth University.

Likewise, if you have turned out to support our teams then make sure they get the best you have to offer as Plymouth students. Be proud in your support and cheer our sportsmen and women home when they bring in the big wins! And finally, I would personally like to give a huge thank you not only to our sports teams for the hard work they have put in this year but also to the Varsity committee, without whom we would not be able to celebrate a year of sport in a week long clash for the top spot in Plymouth. Many thanks and enjoy all the performances! Thomas Davidson Vice President Sport

VARSITY HISTORY: 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Marjon Marjon Marjon Plymouth University Marjon Plymouth University Marjon






CALL NOW: 01752 600 485

11-12 Gibbon Lane, North Hill, Plymouth PL4 8BR

Every student at Plymouth University has a vote in the Studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Union Elections. Cast your vote and you could win an iPad 2. Voting is open Friday 24th February until Monday 5th March. Cast your vote at 5% off Apple products at

NATIONAL STUDENT SURVEY What is it? In January and February of each university year since 2005 the National Student Survey (NSS) has run across most Higher and Further Education institutions around the UK. The survey is entering its eighth year; this is your opportunity to give your opinions on what you liked about your time at Plymouth University as well as things that you felt could have been improved.

It asks final year undergraduates to provide feedback on their courses from all the institutions involved in the survey. Students are also given the opportunity to give positive and/or negative comments on their student learning experience as a whole at their university/ college. There are 23 core questions, relating to the following aspects of the student learning experience:

From previous surveys these are some of the results which are on Unistats:

1. Teaching on my Course 2. Assessment and Feedback 3. Academic Support 4. Organisation and Management 5. Learning Resources 6. Personal Development 7. Overall Satisfaction 8. Students’ Union (Association or Guild)

Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course – 80% (2819 out of 4001) Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching- 85% (2819 of 4001) I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to- 79% (2807 of 4001)

The results of the NSS are published on the Unistats web-site. The site also includes data on students’ entry qualifications, progression through course, degree results, and data showing the types of career and further study that students go on to. The results will only be presented in the form of statistical summaries reported by institution, subject or department. These summaries will only be presented where there are enough responses to preserve individuals’ anonymity. Take a look at the University page on the NSS and also see for yourself how your voice can make an impact to your University.

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Sports and Cultural Student Volunteering Opportunities in the lead up to London 2012 Games. After three years of preparation, THE year is finally here and is entering its final leg - suitable sporting analogy there! As you would imagine, from such a fantastic project, this definitive year will be packed with action, surprises, creativity and inspiration and we thought that you would like to see a little taste of what we have in store for student volunteers. For students and volunteers, this is an incredible opportunity to gain experience and employability skills which many have found to be invaluable to career development. As a RELAYS volunteer we can offer you training and coaching qualifications and of course a RELAYS t-shirt, all we ask in return are some volunteer hours from you!

So please keep an eye on our websites and facebook page for news and events over the coming months. Check the UPSU website under the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Volunteerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; page and also please visit www. Relays, or see Jo Reed in the Volunteer office in the Hive - and we hope that, as members of the project, you will help us celebrate our successes past and future and come along and support our events. Hope to see you there! Jo Reed and the RELAYS Team RELAYS Devon and Cornwall Some RELAYS volunteer opportunities coming up: sports coaching/assisting? If so please contact Jo Reed.


February 20-26 is Student Volunteers Week 2012. In the last major study 63% of surveyed students reported formally volunteering since they had started university, and gave just over 3 million hours to communities in the 2009/10 academic year. Student Volunteering Week 2012, celebrates this contribution, as well as encouraging and supporting students and organisations in voluntary activities. Volunteering is open to everyone and we can search for opportunities to suit your needs, or you can join in with one of ViPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s student led-projects. It is free and you can often access all sorts of free training and treats as a result of your work. When you have completed 50 hours you get an exclusive recycled mug!! The Volunteer Department is going to be running a series of activities and events throughout the week, from a tea dance to projects at the Barn Owl Trust, Moor Trees, the Monkey Sanctuary and the Sustainable Communities Group. The Plymouth Guild Volunteer Centre will be running a drop-in session on Tuesday 21st from 11-3 in the Hive, providing information on unusual and unique volunteering opportunities here in the City and helping any student who would like to search for volunteering work both here and further afield. So if you want to find out more, or get involved, then please get in touch or check out our volunteer pages on

Apple and Plymouth University partnership development Apple is working in partnership with Plymouth University to offer staff and students a special discount of up to 15% on Mac products (3% off iPad). This offer includes a free three year warranty and one year telephone support. Apple’s Regional Campus Manager, Laura Hawthorne, will also work in partnership with corporate marketing, careers and employability, business creation and Business School teams, supporting the University’s student enterprise activities, providing sought after prizes as well as participating on employer panels and in competitions such as FLUX.

Apple have teamed up with Plymouth University to offer you a special discount of up to 15% on Mac products (3% on iPad). This offer includes a free 3 year warranty and one years telephone support. Simply log onto Plymouth University’s portal and access apple. com/uk/go/save. Powerful, easy to use and loaded with the software you need, a Mac is perfect for student life. And now you can buy yours for less!

SSTAR AWARDS The UPSU SSTAR Awards have been organised by students with the support of the Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union to reward the many excellent university staff members and dedicated course reps we have here at the Plymouth University.

We want to hear why your lecturers are great and how they make your educational experience as a student an exceptional one. Or why you think your course rep has done a fantastic job this year in ensuring that the voice of students is heard by the university. The awards will highlight what we as students consider to be excellent and inspirational teaching and support and fantastic representation. This really is your chance to give something back to those staff and students that go the extra mile for you and to celebrate those that make the subject or course that you study a special one. Nominations open 16th January until 24th February. Awards night 27th March

see to nominate and for all info


Most Inspirational Teaching Most Dedicated Dissertation Project Supervisor Outstanding Personal Tutor Excellence in Supporting Employability and Personal Aspirations Outstanding Support Staff (Individual) Outstanding Support Staff (Team) Most Useful Feedback Course Reps of the Year Awards Parliamentarian of the Year Award

Cervical Cancer… do you have it? Mercedes Curnow passed away on the 14th December 2011 from Cervical Cancer…aged 23. When Mercedes visited her local doctor’s surgery in Cornwall expressing concern for the symptoms she was experiencing, the doctors ignored her…because of her age. Cervical smears are offered in Scotland, Ireland and Wales at the age of 20yrs. The age in England is 25yrs. A simple cervical smear was not carried out for Mercedes until it was too late. Within a year, her condition had deteriorated beyond the help of medical consultants.

Whilst Mercedes was battling cervical cancer, she spoke of a desire to set up a foundation for the early detection of cervical cancer. When Mercedes died, her mum fulfilled this dream and set up an unofficial foundation on Facebook. In just over a week the Mercedes Curnow Foundation for the Early Detection of Cervical Cancer has over 1,000 supporters, including Cornish MP Matthew Taylor and has had media coverage by the Cornishman newspaper! The foundation is also collecting signatures for a petition to lower the smear test age to 20yrs.

Let’s make this a nationwide success! Support a local cause and help raise awareness of Cervical Cancer! Join the Mercedes Curnow Foundation for the Early Detection of Cervical Cancer on Facebook! Request a petition form by emailing Sandra on: For more information on Cervical Cancer:

THE interview Edward Castle-Henry

By Richard Garratt Deputy President

Plymouth University partner college students take over Snowboarding and skiing is not only arguably the most popular hobby throughout the University but also the coolest.

If you could snowboard in one spot in the world where would it be and why? Too easy, would have to be Japan for their powder, more commonly know as JAPOW!!!

Recently Edward Castle-Henry, a student from our many pools of partner colleges, showcased his talent at BUSC’s main event competition in Tignes, France. Winning the hotly contested Big Air in breath taking style. For those of you who are not familiarly with the University snowsport circuit this is the annual competition which sees contestants from all corners of the UK’s Universities come together to see who is top dog.

Do you currently ride for anyone? Yeah, I ride for me, its great. Ride how you want when you want.

We have taken some time out, to catch up with this afro rocking steezy young chap Which of the University partner college’s do you study at? Camborne College What course are you on? FdSc Renewable Energy Technologies So how did you first get into snowboarding? I started snowboarding back in 03 maybe, I did a German exchange for 2 months through my school and so went riding each weekend and continued to ride back at my local dry slope in Hemel Hempstead.

What setup do you ride on? I normally ride an Atomic board with K2 bindings and Vans boots unless theres some races. If you could have one super power what would it be and why? Being able to regenerate would be useful. Who do you think would win in a fight between Cap Jack Sparrow and The joker? Would have to say Jack as that man always cheats somehow. If you didn’t snowboard what would you do? It seems to be filming more recently but I guess I wouldnt do that either if I never boarded. So I think it would be music, have been wanting to get on it for a while but not the time. If you could be any animal what would you be and why? Dolphin I think, they have too much fun.

Do you have any advice for any snowboarders trying to get noticed? Well the best thing to do would be too start going to comps around at local slopes and around the UK, if your riding stands out you will get approached. Main thing to do is have fun while doing it, is far more importent. Sand or snow? I find snow puts a much bigger smile on my face. Football or rugby? I think rugby, less cheats. Trainers or flip flops? Trainers as I dont get to the beach enough. Beer or cider? Theres a time and a place for each, aslong as its proper. Skis or snowboard? Snowboard although where all there for the same thing, skiers just have abit more trouble showing it. Blackberries or iphones? Its all about Sony Ericssons mate, where have you been?

The Knowledge 2012 issue 2  

Issue two of the offical UPSU student newspaper

The Knowledge 2012 issue 2  

Issue two of the offical UPSU student newspaper