SO, WHAT HAPPENED AT
NUS CONFERENCE 2011?
Aaron Porter remains calm, cool and steady
In his opening remarks to the NUS National Conference 2011 in NewcastleGateshead, outgoing NUS President Aaron Porter told delegates that now is the time to move on from recriminations and focus on the way ahead.
UCU’s Sally Hunt toasts to the student movement.
Lembit Opik addresses Conference floor
Sally Hunt was this year’s sororial speaker at National Conference. It is tradition for conference to receive greetings from a representative of a partner organisation in the opening session and this year was no different with Hunt, General Secretary of the University and College Union (UCU) kick starting the proceedings and setting the tone for the following three days.
Conference broke from motions for a guest talk from former Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik who also praised the work of students over the past year and acknowledged the failure of his fellow party members over the issue of tuition fees saying, “never give up and never surrender.” Opik, a former President of Bristol Students Union and twice failed NUS presidental candidate spoke of one of his wins within the NUS, to create the ‘block of 12 representatives’ who work to keep the work of the NUS President and Vice Presidents in line. As politicians do, Opik spoke about his desire to run in the London Mayoral elections next year, citing that his name was an anagram for ‘I like to be MP’. Er... stick to politics, mate.
New Leadership Elected
Porter paid tribute to the work of student activists and the trade union movement during his speech: “I want to thank our allies in the trade union movement for standing alongside us in the fight for a better education system...I want to thank the National Executive Council, all the members of NUS committees, and every student officer and activist for the work they have done this year.” Talking about the building of new activism against government cuts, he said: “This is a hugely exciting time, of new movements and new tactics, of groups coming together spontaneously to campaign and we have to find a way to be part of that.” Porter used the speech to shed light on his decision not to seek re-election. Explaining the decision, he said: “I realised that if I was a candidate it would have turned this conference into chaos, and if I won, we would have been unable for a year to talk about the issues because the biggest issue would be my leadership. The student movement is much, much bigger than one man.” Earlier on in his speech, Porter made an effort to confront his critics: “I know I’ve been a controversial figure over the past months, and there are some of you who wont want to listen to this speech, but I was democratically elected to this post last year and I am obliged to report on the last twelve months” before requesting that delegates “heard him out”. As expected, he was heckled by one person on conference floor who yelled “you’re a scum bag”, despite this, Porter remained cool and continued to the sound of applause rather than boo’s. Urging the student movement to unite against its opponents, Porter launched an attack on the ministers responsible for cuts to the education sector. He said: “At least the Tories are doing what we expect them to do, however ineptly. “The real villains are elsewhere. We call them the Liberal Democrats, because they are liberal with the truth and democratic with the blame, spreading it around and hoping they don’t get caught. But they have been caught. And then there is Michael Gove, the EMA slasher-inchief. The schools secretary who doesn’t know how many schools he has, or how many he’s going to have.” Closing the speech, Porter warned against a divided student movement: “We must remember that those are the people we have to fight, and the true enemy is never within.”
In addition to passing motions, NUS elects it’s leadership at National Conference each year. This year’s election saw the usual balance of Labour and Socialist slates running for the NUS’ top jobs, with the occasisional Independent’s, there was even the odd Tory here or there. After the votes were cast and the results were counted NUS revealed that the winners were (drum roll please)... Hunt said that she was undecided over whether or not to open with a joke, before saying, “I’m on stage and my press manager isn’t here, so I will”. She told us one we had all heard and probably shared before: “Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he said he wouldn’t” as well as a few from the Thatcher era that are probably too lewd for these pages. She led praise over the student movement: “I’m here to give thanks to you [the student movement] for the work put in, helping us, helping those you represent and for helping those around the country who’ve needed a voice and have lacked a means or a way” adding “NUS has shown that there is another way”. Hunt had spent the morning on a picket line at the nearby Newcastle College. She described it as a “rich college” and said that it had made a £10 million profit last year and had just announced 171 staff redundancies shortly before announcing two new major building projects.
NUS National President: Liam Burns Vice President Further Education: Toni Pearce Vice President Higher Education: Usman Ali(re-elected) Vice President Society & Citizenship: Dannie Grufferty Vice President Union Development: Ed Marsh(re-elected) Vice President Welfare: Pete Mercer
Speaking about partnerships between the student and trade union movement Hunt said: “showing my age, I’ve seen a lot of NUS Presidents come and go, but one thing Aaron [Porter] and I did was sign an agreement to find time to hold a mass mobilisation of staff and students provisionally set for London in 2010”. That agreement of course translated into the NUS & UCU’s joint National Demonstration against education cuts, which took place last November and was attended by over 52,000 people. She concluded with final thanks, musing, “You did something by bringing us all together that changed the political debate in this country. It provided the first real opposition this government had faced and galvanised young people into action who wouldn’t have otherwise gotten involved.”
Motions, motions, motions. As ever, there was a high level of commosion over motions at Conference this year with delegates debating everything from direct action and sit ins, to whether or not the NUS NEC team should be able to sit on stage during conference. Discussion also went full circle over education and global campaign policy, as per usual with strong arguements for and agaisnt proposals. There aren’t enough column inches to detail every single motion that passed or fell this year, but they can all be found by trolling www. nusconnect.org.uk/conference/policy, www.nsjsn.wordpress.com or by emailing the NUS team at firstname.lastname@example.org
NSJSN launches ‘The Delegate’ Whilst delegates and observers were busy pushing policies and debating on conference floor, a small team of student journo’s worked tirelessly within the press room to produce Conference’s first ever daily independent paper - The Delegate .Starting with a circulation of 200 copies a day, the four pager became a twice daily affair, with 500 copies snapped up each day, making the free copies of the Independant newspaper look like, well a zine... Digital copies of The Delagate are avaliable at www. nsjsn.wordpress.com
T PO THE FIVE TYPES OF STUDEN BY NATASHA WYNARCZYK
“IN IT FOR THE LASH” – normally a complete LAD of a sports sabb (sabbatical officer), they will be the hung-over one in the corner spewing up the remnants of last night’s three trebles for a fiver proudly supporting a love bit from a blonde education officer. Will probably vote Thomas Byrne “for the bants” and will stand up every time somebody does a ridiculously mental speech about nothing.
“STRESSED PRESS JUNKIE” – a new addition to Conference this year, they are often a Communications officer or Media sabb wearing something “a bit weird”, holding onto a coffee and packet of cigs for dear life whilst chasing candidates for interviews and looking like they want to die.
“THE PROUD OF THEIR JOB” – we’ve all seen this type of student politician at every single NUS event wearing the same hoodie with their name and position on the front. We get it, being VP Community of the University of Wherever is great, but buy a new jumper for the love of god. Although it does help us remember your name.
“DITHERING WANNABE CAREERIST POLITICIANS” – most people sitting on stage as part of the NEC(National Executive Committee), usually members of the Labour Party, will be Labour MPs in five years time, won’t make their mind on where they stand on things, Aaron Porter, blah blah blah.
“TROTS” – often spotted heckling the NEC on conference floor or shouting into the microphone about Palestine. Also refer to themselves as the “repressed minority” or some shit.
GRADUATE ART SHOWS Barefaced, Free Range 2011 Barefaced is a collective of twelve students from the Roehampton University Photography programme. From the 16-20th of June they will be participating in Free Range, Europe’s largest undergraduate art exhibition. Barefaced will be located in Shop 14 on Brick Lane, and will feature a selection of images from the students’ final major projects. This exhibition is free, and features a wide range of contemporary projects, from portraiture to social documentary and landscapes. It is ideally located in a vibrant area of East London, with Brick Lane and the surrounding area playing a significant role in the city’s creative industries. This will be the third year that students from the Photography programme have exhibited at this event, and it is the perfect opportunity to see students’ work in the wider context of the London art scene. For those not able to make it to Free Range, the work will also be displayed before the event, in Southlands Queen’s Building from Monday 16th May, alongside the rest of the projects from the 2011 graduating Photography class. For more information follow @barefaced13 on Twitter or email email@example.com
People Show 122, Wandsworth Arts Festival For many the hard graft of lectures is over until after summer (or maybe forever! Sob!), and you may be looking forward to warm days chilling on Froebel Lawn, BBQ’s at the ready, Pimm’s in hand. But this isn’t the case for everyone. A portion of your lovely third year Drama, Theatre and Performance students have been working away since term began in January to produce a fantastic show for you all to come along and enjoy! They have been working alongside the People Show to bring about a performance play for Wandsworth Arts Festival in Battersea Park. The People Show are the UK’s longest standing devising company and have performed across the world in locations such as New York, Paris, Amsterdam and Hamburg, and the show they are doing with the Roehampton Drama Students will be the 122nd show they have created, so this really is an exciting prospect for the Roey Drama Students! The People show have performed in a variety of locations from telephone boxes to toilets and fields and also, somewhat more in the ordinary for a theatre company, in theatres too. This time they will be performing at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park, the show will be taking into account the Pump House’s 150 year old relationship with the people of Battersea. The show makes use not just of the Gallery but also of the entire park space, so spectators will be entertained from the moment they arrive in the park. A few things to expect include: ghosts, human fountains, storytelling, choreography, choirs, live music and visual artistry which will make this a week to remember. But this is about more than just a show, during the day there will be an exhibition within the Gallery relating to the show and on Sunday 15th, for those who are not
feeling too tender from Frigby, there are is also the chance to get involved in creative workshops with the Pump House Project, so if you’re up for trying something out of the ordinary why not pop along one evening, enjoy the change of scenery, try something new and support your fellow students. However you get more than the average student production, you get to see professional work at student prices! You don’t have to be interested in drama to enjoy this as the People Show is not your average drama company. You can jump on the train from Barnes and be at Battersea Park within 20 minutes to enjoy a nice summer evening of entertainment and culture, so pop along after you’ve finished that BBQ on Froebel Lawn! People Show 122 (They name their projects the number they are, similar to Factory Records) is at The Pump House Gallery, Battersea Park, near Queenstown Road Station. Performances will happen at 6pm and 8pm on Wed(11th)/Thurs(12th)/Fri (13th)and 2pm, 6pm and 8pm on Sat(14th) May. Tickets £10/ £8 concessions (So Roehampton students!) and Wandsworth residents. Box Office 020 8333 4457 (booking fee applies) Ticketing services provided by Tara Arts. More info on www.peopleshow. co.uk The gallery is open outside of performance times with an exhibition relating to the project. Wed/ Thurs/Fri 11am – 4pm and Sat/Sun 11am – 2pm FREE ADMISSION On 15th May, 11am – 1pm, People Show 122: The Pump House project will be the backdrop to the first of our newly launched monthly Family Days; a chance for you to see the exhibition and get involved with drop-in creative workshops.
SOCIETIES Our Societies President bids you a fond farewell... Well the year is pretty much over, and once again students have seen campus is all its glory. From the brown and orange leaf covered lime tree walk, to the snow covered lawns across campus to the glorious sunshine! Where has the time gone? I started the year as a newly re-elected Societies President and hoped that I could make a real difference. With the knowledge I’ve acquired over the past two years I can honestly say that I think societies are in a much better shape than when I arrived here as a fresh-faced first year! I would also like to offer my warmest of welcomes to all the newly elected student union officers, particularly to one Rachael Blaney who will be replacing me as Societies President next year! You’ll have an amazing time as officers, it’s a lot of hard work, but totally worth it.
I can say without a doubt that I wouldn’t have swapped being Societies President for anything during my time at Roehampton. I would also like to thank all of you. Societies couldn’t exist without all the hard work that so many people put into them. Amazing events have happened all throughout this past year, with hundreds of people being involved and having a good time! I’m not going to list these events now because I don’t think mentioning a few in Fresh is really going to do them justice. That’s why I’d like to talk to you about the Societies Achievement Ceremony. The idea behind it is that there should be some sort of recognition for all the hard work societies have put in over the past year, and the recognition shouldn’t just be from the RSU, there should be a celebration for everyone. The SAC (Societies Achievement Ceremony), is going to be on Tuesday May 24th in Monte Hall and spill over into The Union afterwards, it’s going to be a fairly informal event (unlike the Sport Roehampton Black tie). I hope that everyone who’s been active and involved with societies will come down, have a laugh, have some drinks and maybe even win a few awards. It’ll be a great way for friends and societies to get to celebrate all the hard work and achievements societies have made this year. Some advice to all those people currently in societies, this last term is when you should be really working on handing everything over to the next group of students who are going to run the society. Whether it is through a formal AGM or an informal meeting with all your members, please, please, PLEASE remember to get in contact with either me or Natasha Blake with any new contact details you might have so we can get to organizing fresher’s fair next year. Finally I would like to say good-bye, this will be my last blog in Fresh and I’d just like to say to that it’s been amazing. I’ll think I’m going to miss Roehampton more than I’d like to admit, so here it is. Roehampton I’ll miss you, and to all those still here next year, make sure you keep Roehampton as good as it is (but not better, or I’ll be jealous I’m not still around)
presenting an Luke and Natasha er S.A.C. last year. award at the first ev
Luke Springett Societies President
Activities galore! Hi all hope your well and the Easter holidays are treating you well, to keep you in the loop with what is going on activities wise here is a list of all fun and exciting events happening in the last semester…So why not get involved and GIVE IT A GO! If you would like to put on an event or activity please get in contact with at firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Friday 3rd June 2011 Brighton Trip– all day Bop at night. 13. Monday 6th June 2011 Thorpe Park- all day Clapham Grand at night
Events to pop in the diary...
14. Tuesday 7th June 2011 BIG ART ATTACK and Fair-trade lunch/Pimms 124pm, location TBC LOL – Comedy night (Monte Hall)
Where should we go on the next RSU theatre trip? We want YOU to decide! We are going to let you decide between ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘Mama Mia’ and ‘Chicago’. The musical with the most votes will be booked so you can book a cheap student rate ticket to come and see the show, guests are welcome too. You can cast a vote when the face book event goes live on the 26th April 2011 (date TBC)…
15. Wednesday 8th June 2011 Fez Club at night 16. Thursday 9th June 2011 Club foot – The Union 17. Friday 10th June 2011(last day of term) Summer Fete – 12-5pm/ games/bouncy castle/BBQ/ music all you need is Sunshine and party people! LAST BOP – Get together with your friends and say good bye in style..
1. Last RSU theatre trip! Details above. 2. M.A.D: RU INSPIRED ALLOTMENT PROJECT Thursday 5th May 2011 12-4pm (The Allotment behind Davies studio) 3. Frigby (Frobel v Digby Football event): Saturday 14th May Sutton United -tickets £5 form respective college 4. May Day: Saturday 21st May for more information please contact email@example.com 5. Sport Roehampton Dinner: 23rd May – Bank of England - £30 per ticket evening event. 1 guest per person welcome. On sale from the 26th April. Nominations forms have been sent out or you can collect or request a copy by coming to or emailing the RSU@roehampton.ac.uk 6. SAC: Societies Achievement Ceremony- Tuesday 24th May 2011- Free event – evening- with After party in The Union (Nomination forms will go on line or you can request form by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org ) 7. Summer Ball: Saturday 28th May 1pm – 5am early tickets £45, £50 thereafter, 1 guest per person welcome. On sale 27th April.
Fun Times Fortnight: Tuesday 31st May - June 12th 2011 8. Tuesday 31st May College Day! College day is for you to embrace everything about your college and celebrate with those who want to know more about the college, party and generally round up the year with an event that reflects the enthusiasm and community ethos of your college. This is where the CP and CSS come together and bring something to their campus that will be remembered for years to come. 9. Fresh Air Radio Launch- The Union -7pm-late Come and party with communications crew as they launch our first ever radio station at roehampton. 10. Wednesday 1st June 2011 Shitelands Shitelands Fez 11. Thursday 2nd June 2011 Roehampton Awards: Thursday 2nd June 2011 Digby Chapel- 6-8pm Theatre trip: Runner up from online vote... Acoustic Night