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Happy New Year: QM in 2014

In News and Features this issue find out how QM is going from strength to strength

QM Professor awarded New Years Honours Martha Munch

Rise in applications for QM Claudia Manca After Queen Mary experienced a significant rise in students’ applications in the last academic year, history is repeating itself, as the number of students who decided to apply to the university has further increased this year. Queen Mary has seen applications increase by more than 29 per cent between 2011 and 2013, and these are up by almost 14 per cent this year, according to the latest statistics released by UCAS. The UK undergraduate applications to Queen Mary have risen by

almost 15 percentage points since last year, while there has also been an increase in interest from international students: by almost 6 per cent for EU applicants, and almost 13 per cent for those outside the EU. Several reasons could account for this rise in applications. The 2013 National Student Survey revealed that student satisfaction at Queen Mary, which joined the Russell Group in 2012, is three percentage points above the UK average. This makes students’ satisfaction at Queen Mary the highest

NEWS COMMENT Disability New Year, a new Week at QM you?

amongst Russell Group universities in London. Furthermore, over £250m has been invested in new facilities at Queen Mary in the past 15 years. Despite the significant changes to the fees and funding system, more and more individuals tend to pursue an academic career. Young people across the UK are more likely to enter higher education than at any time before, with acceptance figures rising by more than 6 per cent since this point last year. Queen Mary seems to be one of their top choices.

CULTURE Star struck over Space race

Queen Mary’s reputation regarding Medical studies has spread internationally. Medicine students in London are known to be quite the party-animals and Queen Mary Medicine students are no exception. But the prestige associated with Queen Mary’s Medical Sciences studies are not based on these accomplishments. When it comes to this we have the faculty to thank and look up to. The New Year started successfully for our very own Queen Mary Professor Tili Tansey, a recognised medical historian. Professor Tansey was recently awarded with an OBE in the 2014 New Years Honours list, for services to Research in the Medical Sciences and to Public Understanding of Science. With two PhDs under her belt, the first one on octopus brain chemistry and the other in medical history, she was appointed to the Welcome Institute as Historian of Modern Medical Sciences. Throughout her medical history career the Welcome Trust has supported Professor Tansey and she now heads the Welcome Trustfunded History of Modern Biomedicine Research Group, which is part of the School of History at Queen Mary. Her areas of focus have been the history of the twentieth and twenty-first century medical sciences, with an emphasis on physiology, pharmacology and the neurosciences, and the development of medical research funding and policy. Her hard work and accomplishments are not yet over and continue to accumulate as she has another major project, funded by the Strate-

gic Award from the Welcome Trust, on the way. The Makers of Modern Biomedicine, gathers and records first-hand accounts of current events in clinical genetics, neurosciences, medical ethics, medical technology and global disease. Amongst the other academics awarded in the New Years Honours list, was alumnus and leading British obstetrician and gynaecologist Sir Marcus Setchell. He attended Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in her pregnancy at the end of 2012 and also delivered her son in July 2013, Prince George of Cambridge. The list doesn’t end here, Queen Mary alumna Dame Colette Bowe, named in 2013 as one of the most powerful women in the UK by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, was awarded a DBE. Coletter Bowe is currently the chair of regulatory authority Ofcom and was the first Queen Mary alumna and the first woman to acquire a position of Chair of Queen Mary Council. Colette Bowe graduated from Queen Mary in 1969 with a degree in economics and returned in 1973 to complete a PhD. Finally, another Queen Mary alumnus, Sir Peter Ratcliffe FRS, received a knighthood for services to Clinical Medicine. Currently a Nuffield Professor of Clinical Medicine and Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford, Sir Peter is a cell and molecular biologist best known for his work on cellular reactions to hypoxia (low oxygen levels). With a growing list of achievements for Queen Mary’s Medical sciences maybe one of you will be the next one?

SATIRE SOCIETIES Nick Clegg Fairtrade fashlaunches muion show sic career

SPORTS QM Angels soar to success

02NEWS EDITORIAL TEAM: Student Media Officer

Robotics Research Dinosaur discovery Maisam-Reza Khaku

Tom Wyke

Editor in Chief Sarah Power

Deputy Editor Jasmine Virhia

Sub Editors

Sarah Pinder, Aisha Rimi and Stephanie Relf


Zoe Cantley , Samer Haque and Sao Mai Ly


Fern Champion and Tasha Mathur


Natasha Frith, Laura Gilbert and Charlie Pullen


Alice Howarth and Ciara Judge


Lucretia McCarthy and Keumars Afifi-Sabet


Fariha Alauddin and Minerva Amador-Christie


Michael Barraclough, Richard Maher and Rumman Sikdar


Thasnima Begum, Francesca Brown, Lydia Lewis, Jade Tolley and Leigh Whitlie


Robots are cool. They can be used for a multitude of things, from the most common to the most extravagant. Today there is one more thing to add to the list as Queen Mary’s researchers, along with researchers from the University of Bath, Exeter, Oxford and Bristol Robotics Laboratory, are trying to explore uses of robots to reach out to isolated people. This £2m three-year project, funded by EPSRC, will be led by Dr Hatice Gunes, assistant professor in digital media at Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, and aims to look at how state-of-the-art robotics can enable people to engage socially in public spaces, and meet and share ideas, without being there in person. Dr Gunes said, “We are excited about extending our research in automatic analysis of individual emotions and nonverbal behaviour to public space settings, where multiple people, multiple groups and even robots will be meeting and interacting.” The plan for this is to create a “living laboratory”, designed to take in measurements on how people

respond and interact with a robot representative. The next stage is to build a programmable humanoid robot called “Nao”, which will eventually be seen in Bristol interacting with members of the public. Nao will be remotely controlled and have human features, like eyes to see where it is going and a mouth to talk. The team will be supported in this project by Bristol’s iShed, bringing their experience in public engagement to help with the obstacles of getting the robot to public spaces. As Dr Gunes explained, “Interactions between individuals in a public space generate a rich set of explicit and implicit data, from gestures, visual cues, and body language, to long-term patterns of interaction and group movement. We are interested in obtaining fast and robust means for quantifying emotions and behaviour in collective settings.” “This in turn can provide a real-time feedback mechanism that can be used to regulate the public space, which we’re creating. This might encourage the crowd to rethink the site’s purpose, as well as their own individual and spatial interactions, and provide new perspectives along the way.”

Christian Ardeu A recent study carried out by Queen Mary University of London and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology revealed that pterosaurs, the extinct flying reptiles and the earliest vertebrates known to have the ability to fly, are highly unlikely to have spent much time on water. The researchers involved in the study developed their analysis calculating the density of four different species and how it was distributed across their bodies, relying on fossil skeletons and previous knowledge of muscles and lungs. After this preliminary stage, they designed 3D digital models of pterosaurs and simulated how they would have floated on water. Dr. David Hone from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said, “Sticking the pterosaurs model into the water immediately suggested that the possibility of it floating like a duck or gull is incorrect”.

The researchers also attempted some modifications to the model, but, as Dr Hone continues to explain, “nothing made much difference”. He finally stated that “pterosaurs don’t float like birds, nor can we really make them do it, no matter how much we manipulate the model”. The results of these experiments and the final confirmation that pterosaurs didn’t actually float might be quite surprising, since a number of their skeletons were retrieved from rocks formed in lakes and seas, and many fossils have been found with fish preserved inside them, suggesting a possible link between the reptiles and water activity. The research paper was published in the journal Paleogeography, Paleoclimatology, Paleocology, ultimately proving not only that pterosaurs could not float, but also suggesting that they would have been likely to drown if resting on the water surface for extended periods of time.


Station Manager: Finlay Milligan

CUB Magazine

Managing Editor: Lauren Cantillon

Quest Radio

Station Manager: Vuki Popović QMessenger is printed at Mortons of Horncastle Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, LN9 6JR. Tel: 01507 523 456. Each issue has a print run of 1,000 and costs £445 to print and deliver. Established in 2008, QMessenger is the free bi-monthly newspaper of Queen Mary Students’ Union. We are proud of our editorial independence and endeavour to always hold the College, Union and external bodies to account and to provide the best news and analysis to the students of Queen Mary, University of London. QMessenger is created entirely by students and the publication retains all copyright of design, text, photographs and graphics, along with the individual contributor. Any views expressed in QMessenger are those of the individual writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper, the editorial board, Queen Mary Students’ Union or Queen Mary, University of London.

Image credit: QMSU

Disability action week at QMSU Aisha Rimi This week, the Student Union is holding its first ever Disability Action Week. As the Disabled Students Representative, I organised a week of activities to raise awareness of the issues faced by disabled students. The week is all about taking those first steps towards removing the stigma attached to disability, as well as explaining to students that disabilities are not just physical but can also be ‘hidden’, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and mental health conditions. To start off the week, students were invited to attend a careers session, focusing on what it is like to move into the working world as a disabled graduate. In at-

tendance was Vincent Potter, one of Queen Mary’s Careers Consultants, Simon Jarvis, the Head of the Disability and Dyslexia Service and Bertille Calinaud, the Diversity Manager at Queen Mary. The focus was on how to disclose your disability during the job application process. All three advisers stressed upon the importance of disclosing a disability to a future employer, and also said that making suggestions on any adjustments you may need is a good idea. Wednesday saw me and Jade Lee, the Welfare Zone Co-ordinator, at our stall at the Welcome Back fair, where we asked students ‘What does Disability mean to you?’ This question provided some food for thought for many QM stu-

dents. Some were caught off guard, and were honest and exclaimed that they did not know, while one student took it as an opportunity to reflect on the word itself. “I don’t like the word ‘disabled’,” she wrote, “because it implies a negative and huge disadvantage, whereas many ‘disabled’ people live perfectly fulfilling lives. Maybe we need to rethink the language we use?” At this point in time, a sign language taster session and a Get Active Boccia session are yet to take place. The sign language session has proven popular among students, with all twenty places almost filled. The Boccia session will be led by two Get Active staff, who will be instructing students on how to play the Paralympic sport. The

target ball game, where players can play in teams, as a pair or individually, belongs to the same family as petanque and bowls. Friday shall see the last event of the week, which will be taking place in the form of a discussion forum. Here, students will be joining the President of the Ability Society, the President of the Mental Wealth Society and myself, to discuss the issues faced by disabled students. I hope students will leave this event with more of an idea on what life as a disabled student is like and that disability comes in different forms. After all, 92% of disabled people do not use a wheelchair…



Are students paying too much for housing? Liam Harney I pay five hundred and fifty pounds a month for a bedroom in Bethnal Green. Collectively, this means that myself and my housemates are paying £1650 for a two bedroom dwelling with a converted living room. Yearly, our student rent adds up to just under £20,000, in what is one of the most deprived areas in the country. Our sky-high rent as students is a problem but, compared to those born and raised in Tower Hamlets, it’s a small price to pay. The average household income in the borough is £29,500, and one fifth of households have an annual income of less than £15,000. With the

median rent in the borough for a four bedroom property standing at £2,275 per month and £1,517 for a place with two bedrooms, it is clear that many are confronted with the prospect of paying extortionate rents or living in miserable accommodation if they want to stay in the place they call home. These figures are taken from a study conducted in 2011, yet recent reports state that property prices in London rose by 12% in 2013 alone. Tower Hamlets is suffering from the success of the Olympics on putting East London on the map, and it making it a prime target for wealthy business people from home and abroad to buy their second home. As such locals are

living in overcrowded, sub-standard homes and many live in fear that their kids and grandchildren will not be able to settle down and make roots in the place they grew up in. Tower Hamlets, like the rest of London, is confronted with a housing crisis as private landlords prioritise making as money as possible from the rising demand for housing over providing quality homes for local people. The council has attempted to address this challenge, for example by ensuring that 1607 new social housing flats were built in 2012, but the waiting list for these homes remains bloated, with 23,000 households competing for around 2,000 affordable

homes that become available each year. It’s clear that something soon has to give - either house and rent prices will continue to soar in the borough, pushing out thousands of families and breaking up communities, or action must be taken to regulate the housing market and ensure that rents are made more affordable for local people. With this in mind Tower Hamlets council has teamed up with broad-based community alliance London Citizens to run a housing conference to be held in the Octagon at Queen Mary between 17:30-21:00 on Thursday 30th of January. The aim of the conference is for the council to explain to local residents of their attempts at ad-

dressing the housing situation, as well as outlining the barriers they are faced with and the difficulties they have encountered. After this, there will be time for residents from across the borough to split into discussion groups and brainstorm potential ways of attacking the problem, which will hopefully feedback into a wider campaign for a solution to the housing crisis. London Citizens was the organisation behind the hugely successful Living Wage campaign, which has secured increased salaries for tens of thousands of low-paid workers across the city, perhaps it might be time to start thinking about a Living Rent?

Accusations of segregation spark controversy Zoe Cantley News Editor On the 16th of December last year a shocking and controversial article was published in the Daily Mail, sparking a series of follow up articles in other national publications and causing many Queen Mary students to question and debate the topic at length. The article in question concerned Queen Mary’s Islamic Society and accusations of gender segregation at their events. The story was not merely focused on Queen Mary however, with more detailed reports of gender segregation at the University of Leicester. The article claimed that, “Women attending the class at Queen Mary University were also forced to walk through a ‘sisters only’ entrance before taking their seats at the event which was held by the university’s Islamic society. The event last month forced female attendees to write down their questions for Ustadh Abu Abdillah, while male students raised their hands to be addressed by the speaker.” There were in fact two articles concerning gender segregation that were printed in the Daily Mail and are still currently on their website, one which focused specifically on Leicester University and the other concerning Queen Mary and Leicester. It must be said that the latter is rather deceptive, as the article does not make it clear which university they are talking about, Leicester or QM, making the accusations harder to decipher. On the 19th December ISOC released the following statement responding to recent accusations in

the media, “It is not Islamic Society policy to enforce gender separation, and we do not publish a seating plan for the venue where events happen. Members and attendees through personal choice voluntarily choose to seat themselves with members of the same gender. No part of the audience is discriminated against over the other and there is no disadvantage to any audience member sitting on one side of the lecture hall as compared to the other. We have had events where male and female students sat together and we respect their preferences just as we respect the preferences of Muslim men and women choosing to sit apart. The Islamic Society works tirelessly to ensure that all members can make the most of and take the most benefit from all society events. As a religion, Islam allows all the freedom of choice. Where men and women choose to sit separately, the Islamic Society

respects and facilitates this choice. Likewise, where men and women choose to sit together, the Islamic Society will also respect and facilitate this choice.” When asked for comment the University said: “Segregated events are not in line with Queen Mary’s values or equality policy. We will be raising this with our students’ union as this should extend to student society-organised events with external speakers such as this one.” We at QMessenger spoke to QMSU President, Sarah Sarwar, “I can say that QMSU does not endorse nor encourage gender segregated events. I believe the ISOC also does not enforce this code of behaviour. Students are free to enter, sit and speak where and how they please, however on certain occasions audiences become separated because of individual personal choice.” Many students have been shar-

ing the article and discussing the issue. For instance many are debating the idea of ‘personal choice’ versus pressure to adhere to expected gender divisions within the younger Islamic community. The statement continued, “This particular event was delivered to a packed audience who expressed gratitude for such an inspirational lecture, which stressed the importance of being an asset to society, the importance of having lofty aspirations and the ways one can make positive emphatic contributions to aid the community and leave a lasting legacy for others to follow. The Islamic Society does not force members of different genders to use separate entrances, and as members of the audience will testify at the particular event in question, both entrances were used for both males and females. “Most Islamic Society events conclude with lengthy Q&A ses-

sion. There does not exist an Islamic Society policy dictating how Q&A will be taken/given. Where members wish to remain anonymous in asking questions, or feel that their questions are of a more private nature, they may choose to ask their question in written form. Likewise, if they wish to verbalise their questions, they are free to do so, as has been case in past events we have hosted.” The society expressed their sadness over the attendee thay spoke to the paper, expressing her unhappiness with the way ISOC coordinated their events, “The Islamic Society is deeply saddened that at the event in question an attendee felt the way she did. The Islamic Society encourages a culture of openness between members and society heads and wish to stress that the door is always open for constructive dialogue. Members are informed of many ways in which they may make suggestions,and/ or raise any issues they may have and we believe direct communication is the best way to facilitate for members’ needs. We work hard to ensure the satisfaction of all members in every regard.” Gender segregation is not acceptable; however to what extent it is occurring in our own university remains unclear. We will keep you informed on this issue as it develops. To read the original Daily Mail article in full and to form your own opinion on it, go to: http:// article-2524183/Female-students-banned-speaking-Islamseminar-University-Leicester. html#ixzz2q6SIWrvU



Guardian shortlist Queen Mary work experience Victoria Munday The QProjects Work Experience Scheme offered by Queen Mary has been shortlisted for Employability Initiative of the Year by the Guardian University Awards 2014. The scheme is one of three shortlisted for the award, up against programmes offered by the University of Sheffield and the University of the Arts London. Qprojects is ran by the Careers and Enterprise team, in partnership with QMSU, and offers the opportunity for Queen Mary students to join local charities in East

London, to help deliver projects that may have otherwise not gone ahead due to a lack of resources. Past projects have included assisting with social media and marketing, government lobbying campaigns, and event planning, and 228 students participated in the scheme in 2012-2013, within 34 different charities. The scheme is part of a commitment by Queen Mary to raise graduate employment rates, and aims to increase by 50 per cent the number of students volunteering in the local community by 2015.

Typical projects offered by the scheme last around three months, with one day a week devoted to the students chosen charity. Qprojects provides the chance to gain a range of transferable skills, including problem solving and leadership skills, which are invaluable for future work. The Careers and Enterprise team creates job profiles for students as part of the scheme, and also shortlists and co-interviews candidates, as well as paying for their travel expenses. At the end of the project, participating students are invited to a one-to-one ‘skills debrief’ ses-

sion with a Careers Consultant to help to update their CVs with the experience they have gained. All 34 participating charities have said they will take part in QProjects again, or would recommend it to another charity. A spokesperson for the Phoenix Education Trust – a charity that took on Maths and Economics students last year as ‘Data Analysis Project Leaders’ – praised the scheme, commenting: “In this ever harder economic climate it is good to see a scheme like this which supports the community. QProjects is by far the best ca-

reers service initiative I have come across”. The Guardian University Awards were launched in 2013, to celebrate excellence, creativity and innovation in the higher education sector. The awards include 14 categories, with entries shortlisted and evaluated by an expert panel. This years winners will be announced on 26th February 2014. For more information on how to join Qprojects, visit:

National Student Survey 2014 - have your say! Sao Mai Ly News Editor The National Student Survey (NSS) 2014 opened at Queen Mary on Monday 13 January 2014. The eligible students, mostly final year undergraduates, have been emailed on the day the survey opened and are now able to complete the survey from a link in the email. The NSS is a nationally recognised

survey used to monitor the levels of student satisfaction in UK universities. Now in its tenth year, the survey is administered by Ipsos MORI, an independent market research agency which ensures that the answers remain anonymous. Since Queen Mary started taking part in the NSS in 2005, the feedback provided by the students who completed the survey has been used to make many changes

at the university, such as making exam timetables and results available online, rolling out wi-fi access, launching QM Plus virtual learning environment and introducing pay by card in university’s outlets such as the Curve, Mucci’s and the Nucleus. The NSS results in 2013 revealed that QMUL presents an overall student satisfaction rate of 89% - three points above the national average. Professor Susan Dilly, Vice-Princi-

pal, Teaching and Learning at QM, commented: ‘The National Student Survey, along with other surveys to collect student feedback, is a really important way for QM to assess what we are doing, what works and where we can improve.’ ‘Current final year undergraduate students who are completing the NSS this year have already benefited from the feedback of other students over the years – QM Plus, Q Review, new and improved IT

equipment and print services, and student services initiatives are just a few examples of this.’ ‘This is your chance to reflect on your time at QM, but also help to improve the student experience of those students who come after you. The NSS just takes a few minutes to complete, so please consider taking the time to have your say.’ Final year undergraduates can now take part in the survey at www.

ISoc and MMD raise thousands for charities week Charity Week, one of the most anticipated weeks at Queen Mary and Barts has set a new record this year for the university. Having raised a staggering £34,889.52, (a rise of £20k from Charity Week 2012) the Islamic Society (ISoc) at QM and Muslim Medics and Dentists (MMD) at Barts have worked together bringing them to 4th place internationally. Charity Week operates on a unique 100% donation policy, via Charity Week UK, Islamic Relief (DEC Charity), to raise money for orphans and needy children projects around the world. The phenomenal total raised mainly reflected the collaborative works of ISoc and MMD, resulting to a significant success and a foundation for future years. As a senior member of the ISoc had stated, “It’s nice coming back to Queen Mary and looking at posters with both the ISoc and MMD logos together for the first time.” Charity is considered as a fundamental pillar of Islam. God almighty states in the Noble Quran, “Those who (in charity) spend of

their goods by night and by day, in secret and in public, have their reward with their Lord: on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve (2:274).” Charity Week thus provides us opportunities to attain this goal, using it as a platform for a dual purpose: to raise awareness on orphans and needy children and to fulfil one’s obligation (or voluntary action, known as Sadaqah) of giving to charity.Within just ONE week, our students from all different academic, ethnic and religious backgrounds have worked tirelessly to raise money for such a noble cause. From daily cake stalls in Library square and climbing the O2 to epic ‘Rugbro’ matches, Street and Tube collections, conquering Mount Snowdon, the award-winning ‘Phone a Friend Challenge,’ and many more exciting events and activities. QM and Barts students have given no rest to thinking of innovative and exciting ways to bring people from all walks of life together to make a difference to lives of orphans and needy children. “My

favourite moment would have to be seeing so many brothers come to uni in their thobes (traditional Islamic clothing). What made it even more special was the fact that I saw brothers who had never worn a thobe before, come out and support charity week by wearing one on Thobe Thrusday!’ “The contagious smiles that enveloped people’s faces, the passionate enthusiasm, the energy, the commitment. One benefit after another. The experience spoke volumes of positivity.” A colossal sense of unity was established on both campuses, whereby the ISoc and MMD worked alongside other societies such as Chemistry Society (ChemSoc), Bangladesh Society (BSoc) and the Christian Union. To add to this, twenty-four teams from around the U.K had taken part in a football tournament organised by QM as part of Charity Week. A student reflects on their experience of unity during Charity Week: “My favourite moment of Charity week was whilst holding a bucket

in the early hours of the morning wearing a charity week t-shirt, a brother in a wheelchair saw me from the bus, got off and came to ask if he could join in. It is amazing how the willingness of people to unify for a cause can be so strong. It’s not about how much is raised but about getting others to enjoin in the goodness of this work.” Another student had stated: “Hearing the roar after that total. My favourite moment of CW. Just the pure raw happiness on everyone’s faces, the hugging, the screaming, the congratulating. THAT is unity. THAT is what makes CW so amazing.”Other positive byproducts had been achieved by the students, as one student states, “The ties of friendship that have formed along the way. From being people who you had never met to becoming people you couldn’t imagine never meeting. So by the end of the week no matter the outcome, that in itself had made it all worthwhile.”Charity Week aims to inspire students in not only London, but nationally and for the first

time this year, internationally, to work together for a moral compass and be a part of something enriching as part of their university experience. An accumulative total of £2.9million has been raised so far as the 10th Anniversary of Charity Week was celebrated this year. The students will now be able to choose exactly which worldwide projects the money will go towards. This unique opportunity has provided funding for sustainable projects around the globe, ranging from the provision of artificial limbs, to refurbishing schools and providing educational and psychological support for orphans and needy children. On behalf of ISoc and MMD, we would like to thank each and every person and Society, that gave their time, effort and money towards Charity Week. Watch out for Charity Week 2014 at Queen Mary and Barts and be sure to get involved in such an awesome act of unity!



Lights, camera, action! QM used for BBC filming Minerva Amador-Christie Societies Editor As of recent months, Queen Mary’s Mile End campus has played host to a wide array of BBC programmes including Len Goodman’s Dance Band Days, Question Time and Big Questions. In December last year, it was the recently refurbished Great Hall of the People’s Palace that was chosen to accommodate Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman and his show. For those of you who tuned in, Goodman managed to

effortlessly convey the feeling and mood of the 1920’s to his viewers through music and even managed to get me up on my feet and dancing about the living room. Hopefully he made this era accessible to not just me, but to many other members of the general public too. And what’s more, he used a Queen Mary venue to do so! In the same month, the Victorian Grade II listed Octagon was transformed from the dull and dreary room that we all associate with exam season to the exciting and lively set of current affairs panel

show Question Time. This was the fourth time that Queen Mary had the honour of hosting the event! Amongst those getting grilled by the host David Dimbleby and the studio audience this time were Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP and Former Home Secretary David Davis MP. It was the most action the old library had seen in a long while, as there was much banter back and forth between the politicians and audience members alike. More recently, the Octagon was used to film Big Questions with

Nicky Campbell. Big Questions is another debate show, but unlike Question Time it deals with religious, moral and ethical concerns as well as political issues. As you can see, Queen Mary not only provides a space for us students to debate on hot topics and current events, but also for some of the most influential people in the country to as well. It is quite refreshing to know that our university is being put to good use: It is being used to educate the wider population as a whole on important topics. And with any luck, it

will continue to do so long into the future. The Great Hall of the People’s Palace and the Octagon are just two of the staggering one hundred spaces at Queen Mary that can be hired out. Who knew Queen Mary had one hundred rooms to boast of let alone one hundred ‘spaces’? If you’re feeling hard done by that you’ve missed out on all the action then fear not, for you can catch up on all three episodes on BBC iPlayer!

QM volunteering success Bronwen Eastaugh Throughout December last year, QM students contributed a very impressive  500  hours to volunteering in the local community, bringing the 2013 total contribution to well over  1200 hours. 64  students signed up, though QMSU  Volunteering, to volunteer at a range of different oneday volunteering events  during Christmas, where their time and efforts had a massively positive impact on all charities and community organisations involved.  To mention only a few of the 9 events that students got involved in  in December: Members from QMSU’s sports teams woke up “criminally early” to help hand out hundreds of Santa  costumes to runners participating in the

Fun Run in Victoria Park, an event which raised thousands of pounds for many different charities. The volunteers who helped cook breakfast at Whitechapel Mission brought “a cheerful and awesome atmosphere to the kitchen…which transpired onto the faces of 300 homeless people”, says Rayane, a second year student. Other events included dressing up and making kids smile at a Santa’s Grotto for The Haven Children’s Hospice and welcoming guests at a Carol Concert at Spitalfields City Farm.   The students involved not only had a good time but also developed key transferable skills through their volunteering experiences. Volunteering was extremely “challenging, exciting and fun”, says Brad Edwards.   Edoardo Pacenti, a

first year Economics student, told us that her volunteering experience at the St. John’s Hospice Christmas Fair was, “engaging, inspiring and rewarding”. She felt like a valuable asset to the team, in a role that allowed her to positively apply communication and planning skills, contributing to the overall success of the event, which was attended by thousands of visitors.  QMSU Volunteering have many more 1-day volunteering events coming up this year, including the London Marathon and the Barnardo’s Trolley Dash. Visit  to find out what’s available, or email  su-volunteering@ Photographs from past events can be found on the Volunteering Facebook Page: ‘QMSU Volunteering 2013-14’.

Image creditBronwen Eastaugh



Here’s to the New Year and the brand new you Kaisha Nicole Langton After the splendours of the Christmas period with an abundance of gifts, decadent dishes, mirth and cheer, the New Year quickly looms. The question of New Year’s resolutions becomes a reality and thoughts begin racing through our minds as we reflect upon the past through the course of the concluding year, and the upcoming improvements to create for the next year. Creating New Year’s resolutions has become a habitual practice for many, however, a growing number are in fact dismissing the entire exercise as silly, clichéd and generally a waste of time and potentially money. It is an inevitable fact that the vast majority of the resolutions decided upon will be broken before the end of January. This is in part due to the state of mind in which we create these resolutions. In the face of the serious opulence that we have experienced over the face of Christmas, when New Year’s day arrives, bringing with it the prospect of a new year filled with new adventures and good fortune, we are more probable to make gran-

diose gestures, banning ourselves from the foods of which we have overindulged, or ridding ourselves of the winter paunch we have accumulated over the seasonal period. This period of excess means that in the face of gluttony we attempt to relinquish all our bad habits in one fell swoop. People expect that with the New Year they will be able to magically “purge” themselves of all the qualities they deem undesirable, but one must recognise that this feat is next to impossible. With each new year: we buy gym memberships, which we will shortly forget about once January has passed and finding the time to work out actually interferes with activities which we enjoy doing; we plan to quit drinking, but render ourselves with pleading eyes to a glass of red once we have a difficult day; we sign up to the new craze diet and ban ourselves from the junk food, which we surrender as soon as our desperation piques during our drunken student stupors. However, as each New Year begins, we invoke the same resolutions again and again, in the hope that we will be able to tackle our bad habits and succeed in the face

of certain adversity in the coming year. To truly change something for the coming year, I think it is better to make a resolution, something to aspire to do, rather than something to abstain from. Just like a child whom is told not to press the

red button and can think of nothing else except pressing the red button, it is more difficult to resist than to seek out the new. So rather than banning ourselves from junk food and alcohol, or joining the gym, it is better to set specific, attainable targets. Do not

begin the year with an insurmountable challenge, which will not survive the conclusion of January. Choosing the attainable is the way to break the cycle of monotonous and clichéd resolutions.

Image credit SteFou!

New Year, new start for everyone... well sort of Katarina Nordanger The New Year always heralds a whole host of new initiative at Student’s unions across the country; sabbatical officers return well rested after a holiday period rejuvenated and full of enthusiasm. At QMSU, it’s always a really great time to reflect on the previous year. We will talk about the successes that we’ll harp on about for our meetings till the end of time *cough space audit cough * and we will lament endlessly about things we could have tried harder with and pushed more. Whilst recognising and celebrating the wins, I’d say it was probably more important to emphasise the latter; not just so our council will hold us accountable (and they definitely will) but also because it’s important to recognise that work at the Union will never be done. The day we have fully empowered all students and platform everyone to the point where educational disadvantages are distance memory and everyone is guaranteed a good graduate job is the day our work is done. We will

essentially cease to exist because there will be no need to ‘unionise’ our members. But that day, and I’m sure all readers will agree with the apathetic nod of derision is most definitely not near. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Last year we backed the infamous ‘blurred lines’ ban, backed strike action, and may be on the verge of joining some new brand of ‘pan londonism’…(I haven’t quite worked that out either). The union is constantly trying new things and we’ll always be controversial- there is no way to please everyone and that will always be the case. One week we will be the champions of student leadership and at other point we’re the perceived obstacle to the very process of democracy we propel. The balance is ridiculous-it would be no exaggeration to say that there are points when we’ve questions our abilities, our decisions and the corner stone of our many projects. There are points we get it wrong, and it is vital that we recognise that and learn from our mistakes. I hold my hands up to the fact that

we’ve not quite worked out the formulae to student consultation and not enough of our decisions really feel ‘student led’ enough. But recognising the problem gives us a good opportunity to remedy and move forward. I’m really excited about the launch of our new strategic plan that has been done in consultation with a huge variety of groups, and we put the lessons we’ve learnt to the test, when we will engage in further consultation following the publication of the first draft. The strategic plan is our best opportunity to shape the future of the union and its direction for the next 3 years, this is a vital point in our development as a union that is led by its members. Student leadership and our members moving our union forward must be at the core of any steps we take going into the new year. There you have it, our new year’s resolution is to talk to you all more and ask you your opinion. It sounds like the most straight forward thing in the world, it sounds easy. It is anything but. We’ll be launching ‘the SU on tour’ when

we’ll tour the campus and speak to you all directly about anything and everything but as always I want to hear from you. Tell us how best to

talk to you, do you care? Do you think we’ve done it all wrong to begin with? You can get me on

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The dangers of ‘Poornography’ and modern poverty Charlie Pullen Comment Editor

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It seems that people have always got a kick out of poverty stories and tales of vagabonds, whether it is the son of a carpenter or Dickensian orphans, but this appetite for insight into underclass life and characters is still with us today. There is a difference, however, in the way poor people are represented today from how has traditionally been known. To put it crudely, stories used to focus on a romantic idealisation of poor characters that, despite being money-poor, were rich in honour and virtue. A character suffering hardship often would be honest, modestly noble and equipped with a good heart. This is a problem in itself and arguably it glamorises and authenticates mass poverty because, after all, surely it is more worthy to be honourable than to have lots to eat? Nowadays, television takes a very different view of underclass life, one which presents itself as ‘honest’ or ‘gritty’, but is essentially demonising and misleading. Particularly for the young like us, being poor doesn’t have a good reputation. Let’s face it, if we were to base our judgements on what we

watch, as many do, girls are probably no better than Vicky Pollard, and a boy is likely to be a murderous gang member. Following the first instalment of Channel 4’s Benefit Street, leftwing writer Owen Jones asked ‘Where’s the TV show about low-paid workers struggling on in-work benefits or unemployed people desperate for work?’ The documentary, which received about 100 complaints, claims to show how life really is in a community in Birmingham where many people live on benefits. The end product, needless to say, is not flattering and plays off of many myths and extremely sensitive issues that are used and abused by the right. The paranoid feeling that ‘they’ are taking from the rich and genuinely deserving is exploited. Immigrants, moreover, are ‘over here’ cashing in and not representing British values. It is another unhelpful addition to an ever-increasing distorted cultural image of what poor people are like, and people believed it; there were even death threats on Twitter. At a time when so many young people are going to be forced into poverty because of a lack of jobs, housing and real opportunities, it is even more important that accu-

rate and varied portrayals of the reality of people’s lives are shown. This does not mean saying all poor people are wonderful and beautiful, or worse, that every day on television should be a kind of Pride of Britain-type parading of ‘inspirational’ people. Nor, should it be about saying how nasty and mean rich people are. There should not be reality shows where the poor are invited into millionaires’ homes for Christmas or where orphans are rented by excessively wealthy philanthropists. It should be about balance and real honesty, which can only be afforded by having greater inclusivity in media organisations. Our generation will be the first to be poorer than our parents’ since before the Second World War. If there’s some kind of seedy pleasure we get from watching people in poverty – the cathartic trials of the admirable struggler or the aggravating benefit cheats – I don’t think it is very good for us and, although it always has been, for our generation getting a kick out of watching poor people is a dangerous thing because, even with degrees, there’s nothing to stop us getting the kicking one day, too.

University bosses pay rise reaches new heights Stephanie Relf When you think of your university experience, who has had the most influence on your education? Is it the Principle or one of the VicePrinciples? The likelihood is, if I did a survey of Queen Mary students, there would be very few who could name the Principle and all of the Vice-Principles. It is not the bosses of the University but the lecturers and academic advisers that teach us, who we have any direct contact with, and who have any influence over what we learn. It is the lecturers who take time to prepare classes, fill awkward silences when nobody has done the reading, and mark every bad essay we’ve ever written, yet it is the lecturers who only received a 1% pay rise this year. When that is a pay cut of 13% in real terms since 2008 it seems a little unfair. When that is compared to an average pay rise of 8.1%, or £22,000, for senior bosses at Russell Group universities, it seems completely unreasonable. This is not to say that the principle doesn’t do a good job do-

ing... whatever it is he’s meant to do - but given the rise in fees and the claims that the University is running out of space and money, it’s insensitive and hypocritical to claim that this kind of pay rise is acceptable. This is not just an issue within Queen Mary; it encompasses most of the top universities in the UK. One of the most scandalous stories has been Bournemouth University, whose senior managers received a 30% pay rise, and the highest declared salary was £400,000 at the University of Birmingham, so it looks as though students are putting themselves into heavy debt, for a not so worthy cause. It has always been the way that the bosses get the big bucks, and if the job is highly specialised or stressful, if it involves a lot of responsibility then their salary should, of course, reflect this. However, it is not good enough to be awarded a pay rise when you are denying that luxury to your employees. Is it any wonder that union, Unite, decided to strike and disrupt the term? Generally such disruption should be against

a teachers union’s values, and I wonder how effective it was, but it seems absurd that academics should feel forced to strike in the first place. It is now that most students will be wondering exactly where their tuition fees are going, they mainly go to offset the 25% cut in funding from the government, so some have argued that they are not directly related. Nonetheless, it is still irresponsible to increase your salary whilst asking students to pay significantly higher fees, and as fees are not set to change any time soon, I’m sure most students would like to think their money was actually going towards their degree. I don’t think you will ever please everyone when it comes to pay, but there is a certain level of tact one would expect from the leader of an educational institution - if the economy is doing badly, if your university hasn’t got much money, or if you can’t afford to give your staff a proper pay rise, that is the wrong time to give yourself a bonus. Image credit Hugo Pardo Kuklinski



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The Great Debate


Rianne Houghton

Do young people in the UK have nothing to live for?


creasingly being used to cut costs by performing basic administration and other entry-level jobs. So I think we can ignore the illinformed whines solely blaming young people for having a poor work ethic, a culture of entitlement, and all that rubbish. The UK’s ageing electorate means that we, as young people, have increasingly little sway over influencing policies that will impact most upon our lives. Part of the problem is that not many young people vote. IPPR researchers found that in the 2013 local elections, an estimated 32% of 18-24 year olds voted, compared with 72% of those aged over 65. Is our solution just to try and get more young people to vote? It seems that many are torn between voting for a party they hope will bring change, and not voting at all because they actively reject all the representatives on offer. This is reflected in Jeremy Paxman’s interview with Russell Brand, which became an internet hit. Brand’s comment that he doesn’t bother voting because it doesn’t change anything I suspect resonated with a lot of young people. I’m not a huge fan of Brand, but I’m glad he sparked the debate because it stressed the importance of speaking out. Nothing will change if we encourage a state of cynical detachment or fatalistic resignation; but, if our opinions and grievances are heard- including the worrying concern that too many young people in the UK feel they have nothing to live for- it will at least make sure we are not passed off as politically apathetic and indifferent to real social and political change.

Joe Jamieson

A recent survey showed that hundreds of thousands of young people in the UK feel they have no reason to stay alive. In a YouGov poll for the Prince’s Trust, one in 10 said they had “nothing to live for”. Urgent action must be taken to prevent the young jobless becoming the young hopeless, the Trust said. The government commented that it was doing “everything possible” to help young people find work, but are young people in the UK losing out economically and politically? A recent study from The Intergenerational Fairness Index suggests the prospects of younger people have “nose-dived” since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. The index uses official statistics to compare different generations’ stakes in key areas from income and employment to housing, pensions and education. A major financial problem for young people is house prices. London prices have risen 10% in just a year, taking the average property price to a staggering £438,000. Most young people looking to buy property in London can hope, at best, to pay an extortionate amount for a glorified shoebox. Let’s take the prospect many students face: low-paid or “voluntary” internships. It seems that too often graduates find these experiences to be unrewarding and even exploitative. A Low Pay Commission report published in March 2010 expressed concerns about the number of people being encouraged into work via unpaid, full-time volunteering. Concern is growing that young people are in-

In writing against the argument that young people have nothing to live for is not an attempt by me to delegitimise or question any individual’s feelings of hopelessness or despair. The claim made by the Prince’s Trust that almost a third of young people out of work have contemplated taking their own lives is a shocking and deeply unsettling figure. It is a problem that should rest heavily upon the hearts of those responsible for the social disillusionment and the lack of inspiring, and credible, opportunities available to help young people succeed. Although this is a matter undoubtedly intertwined with the issue of socio-economic policy, I’d like to shy away from the (profoundly detached) government and its politics and move towards the overly optimistic twilight zone of my consciousness. I feel confident in rubbishing the claim made by the ever insightful Rizzle Kicks that we are living in a ‘lost generation’. We are, I think, living in a time of exciting change and debate, where the marginalised and the oppressed are finally being given a voice and a platform. We have been lucky enough to see the legalisation of gay marriage and the introduction of a progressive and realistic Pope. The vigour and influence of social media has reached new heights; it is getting increasingly harder for the minority to be ignored. I recently signed and circulated a petition via Twitter demanding Urban Outfitters to stop the sale of a crop top distastefully emblazoned with the word

‘depression’, and it was successful! My seven followers and I didn’t change the world but it’s encouraging to know that little old me, or little old you, can make a difference to situations that matter to us. The New Statesman and Russell Brand gave the disenfranchised an opportunity to be taken into account. Although his diatribe on revolution may not have been entirely on point, the reality of today’s politics and the desperate need for change and discussion was exposed. There are still a lot of changes to be made in ensuring equality and freedom on a greater level but, as the generations continue, society is becoming far more accepting, understanding and informed. I know, and truly believe, that it is difficult to avoid the allure of selfishness and borderline Nihilism. Difficulty and trouble is not eternal though, and a break from introspection can bring light to the darkest days. (Yes, I am paraphrasing Dumbledore). I don’t think that we’re all going to suddenly wake up one day feeling endlessly fulfilled, rich and fabulous, but the future will undoubtedly bring hope and triumph for both our generation and the next, in ways that we can’t yet imagine. Suffering and despair should never be ignored or dismissed but a moment to appreciate the beauty of life and to be grateful for the freedoms that we do have today - that others before us have gone without - would be a great place to start in helping us to feel that things can, and will, get better.



It’s not about what you know, but who you know Megan Corton Scott As a UK student, one of the hardest things I have to explain to my international friends is our class system. Firstly, do we even have one? Or are we, as some put it, a ‘classless society’? If we do have one, is it really that serious or something to chuckle at as the Great Unwashed and the gentry sit down together for afternoon tea? Many find it hard to understand, as it’s not necessarily based on money (indeed some of the richest people in Britain are arguably middle-class), but hereditary privilege, passed down from generation to generation, enabling the benefactors of this privilege to more easily sit in Parliament, gain employment opportunities, and perhaps even before all of this, attend the prestigious Oxbridge institutions. Oxbridge, comprising of Oxford and Cambridge, is undoubtedly one of the most famous educational institutions worldwide, comparable perhaps only with the Ivy League in the United States. Oxford currently sits at number 2 on the Times Higher Education World Ranking, whilst Cambridge is 7th. However, on the World Reputation Ranking, Cambridge trumps Oxford, coming in at 3rd, which no doubt has a little to do with it’s latest enrollee- the Duke of Cambridge.

Prince William, second heir to the throne, has headed off to study at Cambridge. Now, Melissa Berrill, a Cambridge graduate, has openly written that this is an ‘insult to every student’. She wages that this is the ultimate symbol of class privilege in our society, and that claims made over the past few decades are completely undermined, claims that Oxbridge is not ‘like the old days’, where you could be admitted because of who your parents were. Admittedly, the latest research on Oxbridge admissions statistics, put together by the House of Commons, shows both universities not reaching the targets set to them in terms of admitting students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or indeed students from state schools58% as opposed to the target of 71% in 2011-2012. However, this is not a trend specific to Oxbridge, as many Russell Group universities failed to meet these targets. In a society where education is supposedly available to all, it is undeniable there is still a greater number of those privileged enough to attend private schools that make it to university- a trend that will no doubt be sustained by the hike in tuition fees. Oxbridge for many represents elitism in our society, where the ‘Old Etonians’ rule and members of the Bullingdon Club easily be-

come Members of Parliament. With 15 out of 26 Cabinet Ministers Oxbridge graduates, including our incumbent PM, these beliefs can be justified. However, Prince Williams ‘bespoke’ course, specifically designed for him in order to be able to sufficiently manage his estates, can be seen not as a question of class but as a question of money. The fee for his 10 week course is £10,000, privately paid for, of course. Though his father is a patron of the Programme for Sustainability Leadership, the department in which he will study, the fact is that if you have the money and the inclination, Cambridge will design you a course no matter what your qualifications consist of. As one professor was quoted saying this week, qualifications for this type of educational courses are ‘no more relevant than the price of tea in China’. Here we might see a divergence from the traditional elitist system then, moving from family money, to simply money. As our society’s wealth gap increases, it is a select few who have the ability to shell out for a personalised course from one of the world’s top institutions. However, be it class, family connections, or cold hard cash, it’s still privilege that got Prince William into Cambridge, and personally, I doubt that this will be rectified any time soon.

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A New Year at Queen Mary

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Fern Champion Features Editor “It’s a new dawn, it’s a day new, it’s a new life”. Chances are, this was probably written in the spirit of New Year, when anything seems possible although none of it probable. Not only is New Year’s a feast of optimism, it is vastly profitable for certain industries too, with an estimated £37, 000, 000 a year being spent on new year gym memberships by Britons, 60% of which go unused after mid-February. Of course, none of us can judge, I am certain we have all been there. The dark days of December close in and, whilst nursing that protruding food baby that suddenly appeared out of nowhere and swigging the last of that bottle of Baileys that only ever seems to appear at Christmas, we say to ourselves ‘I am going to change’. We make a list of all the things we want to change or improve about ourselves and thus the New Year’s Resolution is born. Now, some people are actually quite good at sticking to these self-governed contracts of selfhatred. I know a girl who gave up chocolate for a year. That’s right, CHOCOLATE for a YEAR. However, the vast majority of us I fear, are not quite as success-

ful. ‘No more staying in bed until midday’, I told myself. Where am I now? In bed. It’s nearly 2pm. However, what about the rest of you? QMessenger spoke to first year Geography student, Catherine Mills, to ask her about her new year resolutions. Clearly conscientious, she explained how she is aiming ‘to keep up with the reading in the lectures to make revising easier and to try to not get below a 2:1 in my essays and if questions are asked in lecture, not to be too shy to answer them’. If first years are concerned mainly with their progress through university, then no doubt second years are too and third years even more so!

I’m sure 2014 will be a great year for the development of student empowerment Third year Computer Science student, Charlie Masters, explained how his New Year’s Resolution ‘is to procrastinate less’

in order to ensure he secures a job after he graduates this summer. As a student on the brink of actual adulthood (eek), he went on to speak more about the job hunting process. ‘Although I have already applied for many graduate schemes’, he began ‘and many have rejected me, it’s important to realise that the main rejection point is at the CV sift and so you can’t take rejection personally’. It is clear that many students at Queen Mary have a tough year ahead of them and maintaining focus is not always going to be easy. So, we know what student’s aims are, but what about the powers that be? QMessenger spoke to Queen Mary Students’ Union President, Sarah Sawar, to find out what her resolutions as president are for this year. ‘I’m so excited to be back in the new year, and I’m sure 2014 will be a great year for the development of student empowerment here at the union. This year QMSU’s new years resolution is to focus much more on doing what we set out to do at the beginning; building our community. There is going to be a greater emphasis on engagement and actually making sure the union fulfils its promise to build a stronger community on campus. On behalf of the executive team

I would also just like to wish you and your readers a very happy new year; thank you so much for such a brilliant year so far’. Leading on from this, QMessenger were also granted the opportunity of speaking to Professor Simon Gaskell, Principal of Queen Mary. When asked to reflect on the year, Professor Gaskell explained how there had been several ‘big achievements over the past couple of years’ that have resulted in the growing recognition of the university and its status. He went on to explain that despite a ‘backdrop of significant uncertainty in higher education, Queen Mary has grown as a confident institution’ and can consider itself to be a ‘unique’ member of the Russell Group establishment. The vast majority of the interview was unsurprisingly taken up by the Principal discussing his aims for the university this year. ‘I prefer to talk about my aims in terms of short term objectives in a longer term context’, he began. He spoke in quite some depth about his visions of the ‘university and the Student’s Union working closer together’ due to the ‘increasing realisation of the importance of the broader student experience’. Whilst this may not mean that Gaskell will be joining us in Drapers for a pint of Red

Beer, it does show that the University aims to be increasingly ‘concerned with volunteering, work experience and extracurricular activities in general’ and the recognition that these are ‘shared objectives of the SU’ is obviously paramount to their overall realisation.

I would like to see a better understanding of what being a research University means One of the biggest and ongoing achievements of Queen Mary that Principal Gaskell also highlighted is our ‘growing reputation as a research based university’ and went on to explain how he would like to work on this in the new year. ‘I would like to see a better understanding of what being a research based university means amongst undergraduates’. He touched upon the ‘caricature’ of research universities in the mainstream media, in that teaching is often perceived to be taken as secondary to research in those institutions. ‘This is obviously not true, especially for Queen Mary’, he as-


MONDAY 20TH JANUARY 2014 sured us as he described to us his ambitions to see that perception eradicated. ‘There needs to be a thorough integration between research and teaching, where undergraduates are more involved in the research’. Communication is something that both Professor Gaskell and Sarah Sawar, as well as others at the SU, are clearly aiming to work on, in terms of both with each other and with students. ‘There are many ways in which to communicate, and since there is no perfect way it is important to recognise that there are different means of communication’, the Principal stated. ‘The State of the Union Address, for example, was in my view a successful way of engaging with students about issues that mattered to them. The discussion was interesting with a variety of topics being raised and it would be good to see this occur on a larger scale in the future’. It is reassuring to see that, despite the more whimsical side to New Year’s and its not-so-realistic resolutions, it is something that some people take seriously. With the hustle and bustle of everyday student life, in amongst lectures, deadlines, sports, so-

cieties and of course Drapers, it is easy to forget that almost our entire student experience is dependant on our accountable Students’ Union.

There needs to be a thorough integration between research and teaching

This is where we at QMessenger, as well as the other student media outlets, step in to ensure they are doing all they set out to do! This is clearly at the forefront of Editor in Chief, Sarah Power’s, mind as she speaks about her aims for the paper this year. ‘Since September QMessenger has gone from strength to strength and my aim is to see this continue in 2014. We want to continue to bring QM students the news that is relevant and interesting to them. I personally would love to see our contributor numbers increase as we are always keen to involve new writers. In the next few months we have some really exciting stories coming up and we are looking forward to working with the other QMSU student media outlets to cover the election period.’ POWERful stuff.

We hope that the quality of our quests will continue to be something of note Furthermore, it has been a big year for Queen Mary in general. Remember when the Queen came to visit us in February? Obviously this in itself is big news, but when we reflect on what the occasion was for, it becomes all the more poignant. The Queen was invited to our Whitechapel campus in order to open a £3m National Centre for Bowel Research and Surgical Innovation (NCBRSI), a Bowel & Cancer charity supported centre set up to ‘help bring bowel disease - a neglected area of medicine - to the forefront of scientific and surgical innova-

tion’. April would have been an exciting time for Drama students as ‘Drama at Queen Mary was rated top in the UK in the Complete University Guide subject league tables, receiving an overall score of 100/100.’ Additionally, Queen Mary students everywhere can rejoice in the fact that in the same month, Queen Mary was ranked ahead of all London institutions for student experience in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey, finishing 37th in the country overall. In October, ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair passed pearly blue gates to speak at the 100th meeting of The Mile End Group, Queen Mary’s very own forum for government and politics, which focuses on ‘the worlds of Westminster and Whitehall, exploring the inner workings of government at the highest level’. With so many high profile guests promoting even bigger causes, it is clear that Queen Mary and its national recognition is on the up, which can only be a good thing for its students. QMessenger also took the opportunity to quiz Principal Gaskell on any further distinguished guest appearances at Queen Mary this year. ‘Well, the Royal Family won’t be returning this year’, he joked, ‘but we hope that the quality of

our guests will continue to be something of note as it is something that has gained us invaluable attention over the past few years, especially with regards to the Mile End Group. The quality of guests and audiences as those kind of events really is a clear indication of our growing success’. When the words ‘it looks to be an exciting year ahead for us’ are said, it is very easy of them to carry no weight at all, but with our students graduating with ‘Queen Mary, University of London’ degrees for the first time this year, alongside our growing Russell Group reputation, this year really does look to be an exciting year for all at Queen Mary. Happy New Year!



Postgrads: Is QM doing enough? Tasha Mathur looks at whether Queen Mary is neglecting it’s postgraduate students when it comes to providing events and soceities Tasha Mathur Features Editor Monday’s Calling, Hail Mary, Pound Stretcher...the list goes on. With the majority of events and societies created specifically for undergraduate students, it’s easy to forget that Queen Mary University also holds a very strong and successful postgraduate department. With 3,551 postgraduate students following taught programmes or registered for research, it’s hard to imagine that such a large number could ever be forgotten. However, the question has been floating around about whether these students feel as valued and involved in the university as a whole when there is such a strong emphasis on undergraduate university life. Some postgraduate students have felt that they would like more to be done in order to make them feel integrated into the Queen Mary way of life through various events and socials. While a small number of students currently love getting involved in the Students’ Union, a large number feel the events that are currently held just aren’t as relevant to them. Of course, it is important to understand that the needs of postgraduate students vary greatly from undergraduates with different motivations and outcomes for students studying for either qualification. Postgraduate study is not only far more intensive but is seen very much as a goal orientated course for attaining a higher ranking job in a specific field and this is what students prepare themselves for and work towards the most during their time at university. As Mile End’s Postgraduate Research Representative, Sam Playle puts it, “The postgraduate student body is a lot less involved with the Students’ Union than undergraduates are. There are several reasons for that, for example, doing a Ph.D. can be more like working in a full-time job than studying so you get a lot less free time. Some postgraduates don’t really think of themselves as part of the student body so they may not realise that the SU is for them as much as everyone else. It’s hard to see how to increase postgraduate involvement

because many postgraduates are happy the way things are.” Being a postgraduate student can often seem confusing at times. Some postgraduates find it difficult to strike a balance between the thorough joblike course while still being very aware that they are studying in a University surrounded by undergraduates. Striking the right chord between being in a job while still being a student can be considered a challenging task, especially with some postgraduates also teaching undergrad students themselves whilst studying. An anonymous student from the Postgraduate Chemistry department told QMessenger, “The way they treat postgrads in chemistry is that we’re trained to follow this through as a job so it’s a lot more pressured and “professional” so to speak. We’re working five maybe six full days a week so finding a social side here is hard because people mostly aren’t keen! I’ve never felt like there isn’t enough but maybe that’s because I’m not really looking for that, especially because I treat this like a full time job. My social life is away from university and I’m keen to keep it separate.” This is echoed by another Post-

graduate Chemistry student who states, “I think there are events which the Biology postgraduate group organise but generally most of the chemistry department students don’t feel the need to join.” However she agrees that there aren’t enough activities anyway and even if there were, and students were willing to participate, “most supervisors look down on these extracurricular activities which may deter a PhD student from joining in the first place.” It seems this is a popular opinion amongst many postgraduate students who mostly come to study at the University as an advancement towards their careers and have been encouraged to look at it that way by the university. However, Sarah Sarwar, the President of the Students’ Union, argues that, “we shouldn’t always assume that postgrads don’t want a night out in Drapers or something similar. Just because they’re postgrads, it doesn’t mean they’re completely detached to student life. So it’s really about trying to find that balance and having events that can cater to the huge variety of students we have on campus.” And the im-

mense success that has already been seen at past postgraduate events this past academic year seems to suggest that there is a real demand for more of this kind of socialising. By holding events such as films nights for international postgraduate students, regular postgraduate quiz nights (a particularly popular choice) and even a Christmas wine reception, it is clear that there are no limits to the type of events that can be held for postgrad students as long as their wants and needs are kept in mind. After speaking to Valeria, the president of the Queen Mary Postgraduate Law Society (PGLS), it seems clear that this involvement in university life does seem to be occurring on a small scale within postgraduate departments. This particular society aims to hold social events at least once a week, with Valeria stating the very obvious reason for this being that, “we are only here for one year in comparison to undergraduates. So for us, it’s very important to have opportunities to meet new people and to network as much as possible.” Therefore, this suggests a very real demand to meet people through various events in

a shorter space of time. Unlike other undergraduate societies, the Queen Mary Postgraduate Law Society is heavily focused on connecting students to career opportunities. With postgraduate students coming from 125 countries, Valeria explains, “ Because many of us are qualified lawyers in our own countries, once we go back, all the people that we meet this year in London during our postgrad study, are potential contacts to us. So these social gatherings are not only aiming at giving fun opportunities but also networking in terms of our careers. And we are trying to organise some career events focusing on international postgrad students.” Valeria is also keen to integrate the society into the Students’ Union as she feels that there aren’t specific activities targeted towards postgraduate law students. Therefore, she is currently in the process of registering PGLS with them as an official society, much to encouragement of SU members as Sarah tells us, “We’d really encourage postgrad students to create their own societies and groups. Sometimes postgrads don’t always feel comfortable joining undergrad socie-

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MONDAY 20TH JANUARY 2014 ties.” And this is understandable considering the large difference in needs between the two types of students. What also seems to be lacking is an opportunity for postgraduate students to interact with each other from different disciplines. Unfortunately, most postgraduate societies are limited to their fields of academic study, which creates a rather divided postgraduate department. As Valeria told QMessenger, the PGLS hadn’t contacted postgraduate students from other departments are there doesn’t seem to be a platform available for this yet. Sarah, summarised the Students’ Union’s feelings towards this issue to QMessenger by stating, “We really value our postgrad community. They’re just as important as any other aspect of the community and we agree that we probably need to do more to engage. This year we held lots of postgraduate evenings and meets and greets. It’s had a really positive reception and we’d like to do more of that sort of thing. It’s really a matter of hearing from our community and seeing what they’d like us to do.” So this really goes out to the postgraduate students at Queen Mary University. It is of course,

important for all students to feel included, welcomed and valued members of the university. Whether it be more career focused events or a chance to just meet other postgraduate students, this is the chance to have your voice heard and tell your Students’ Union exactly what you would like to see happening. Many forget that the SU is inclusive to all students at Queen Mary and they are already taking the appropriate steps in order to bridge the gap between them and postgrad students. Hopefully there will be many more opportunities for students to integrate and mingle with fellow postgraduates and even undergraduate students. And if you’re an undergraduate thinking about further study, there is a Postgraduate Evening happening on Wednesday 22nd January from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. For more details and to book your place visit: http://www.qmul. As one postgraduate student told QMessenger, “As an undergrad you’re so sheltered from what postgrad life is have no idea what’s coming at that time!” So it’s best to be as prepared as possible and make sure that you feel included in your university.


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Brussels far exceeds its lace and stew heritage

Image Credit: Peter Gutierrez CC

Alice Howarth Culture Editor If you ever find yourself in a situation where after a few glasses of wine with your dearest friend, you think it would be an extremely excellent idea to book a seven to eight and half hour coach journey to Brussels via France on the exquisite service that that is Megabus, then please do take my humble advice and book that bus. Not so long ago, the above happened to myself and El, where escalation quickly occurred from the pair of us looking into which weekend would be best for her to come and stay with myself in London, to us proceeding the payment that confirmed our seats on the 08:45 from Victoria Coach Station to Brussels Bus Station, scheduled to leave in less than a fortnights time. Allow me to skip the nitty gritty pricing part – the 450minute long journey cost just £40 for a return (you ought to bear in mind that a train to Leeds from the capital will set you back a similar amount if you do not both ways if you don’t book 12 weeks in advance). For accommodation, we looked into

numerous hostels but found that using Trivago hotel comparison was in fact cheaper. We braved their “Surprise Hotel” option which, at £50 each for the weekend inevitably either goes one of two ways; horrifically or marvellously. Luck must have been on our side as we were landed with a 5* Superior Suit room just two minutes from Le Grand Place, Central Brussels. Less than £100 for getting there and having somewhere half decent to sleep is a price that cannot really be argued with? In no time at all it was the night before we embarked on our mammoth journey to the capital of Belgium. I must admit that I had never heard any of my friends nor the friends of my friends recalling some of the wildest nights of their life from the country which is most famously known for lace making and stews of all varieties but never the less, we had high hopes for Brussels. It is no world of a lie that I tell you the outward journey flew by (this was probably due to my narcoleptic-like sleeping when it comes to be being on any form of transport for more than quarter of an hour) but never the less, it DID

go quickly. We arrived in Bruss at around 6pm local time and after dumping our bags headed out to explore and more importantly, eat. Without wanting to bore you with the ins and outs of my weekend break diary, I shall provide a very brief overview of what the three days consisted of: Delicious grub, 1.20 € glasses of vino, a Noisettes-esque gig free of charge in a circus tent, a Cuban bar or two, Belgium brewed beer (lots), a Brazilian Nightclub, oozes of broken down GCSE level French (ish) conversations, seeing Madness play in front of the King’s Palace, discovering nobody in Bruss has seen a pair of legs before, chips with mayo, waffles with nutella, a grey coloured pube in my pasta and being thrown out of a gay bar called Homo Erectus for not possessing the necessary genitalia to gain access. All in all, Brussels proved to be one of the best weekends of my twenty years and far exceeded its lace and stew heritage. And as for the coach ride home, we left the city at 12:15am so slept like babies the entire journey. Brussels is brilliant.

Taking to the wintery tiles of London town: Rooftop Film Club Alice Howarth Culture Editor Some of you may remember that back in September, I wrote an article about one of my most favourite ways to watch a film during the latter half of Summertime: on top of a rooftop, sat in a deckchair watching a fantastic motion picture that will, despite its amount of Golden Globe nominations, probably be unable to compete with the beauty of the backdrop that the City of London provides for the ticket holders to a Rooftop Film Club screening. Much to my appreciation, the Film Club is back, premature to the Spring and Summer of 2014 as it takes to the roofs of Kensington

this January with blankets, popcorn, a glass of wine, beer or soft drink and a hot snack at the ready (free of charge for ticket holders) for cold loving cinema junkies. If you want a memorable evening with good friends and breathtaking views that promises to be packetrustling free as you are provided with your own headphones, then the Rooftop Film Club might just be something to try. For films, locations, times and tickets see: also see rooftopfilmclub/searchresults/all and all-tickets/2788/d521/



Lunacy over “Moon” Exhibitions Ciara Judge Culture Editor

USA and Russia, didn’t embrace the treaty therefore rendering it meaningless. So really Google’s initiative is more like harmless cosmic banter. On a serious note however, there may well be nothing to stop competitors from claiming the moon, or at least the lucrative parts of it for their own commercial exploitation. Is this the start of corporate imperialism in space, or are we just being cynical? Artist Ian La Frenais believes this could be the time to start having the conversation about ‘who owns the moon?’, ‘can we own the moon?’, and ‘who will own the moon in the future?’ From these recent events and debates, this has spurred on a group of artists to trump the masses and claim the moon for themselves and hence the exhibition “Republic of the Moon” in London Barehouse was produced. This exhibition aims to turn the gallery into a type of lunar embassy on earth and the artworks are a celebration of this new territory. The pieces have been commissioned from artists from around the globe and they draw on the cultural significance of the moon thoughout history. As well as this the exhibition will also hold events such as a fake demonstration against lunar colonisation to provoke talks and debates about who

Space admirers and dreamers alike, prepared to get starry eyed, the lunacy of a space race has gained momentum once more as a group of artists have planned to re-examine the relationship between our planet and it’s only natural satellite. It’s been forty years since mankind made his last imprint on the moon, but exploration has once again hit headlines recently as China landed its Jade Rabbit rover on the moon for its mineral resources. Meanwhile, Google is sponsoring a competition to spur private companies into landing similar vehicles by 31st December 2015. The question of whether the moon has exploitation laws is a blurry one. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prevents the nations of Earth from claiming sovereignty of celestial objects but it is not clear whether the ban is relevant to private companies. The Outer Space Treaty clearly states that the moon is of common heritage of the human race, labelled as a ‘global common’ just like the oceans of the world where resources can be shared. In 1979 the United Nations had tried to reiterate this Treaty but only five countries signed up, the two main players in space exploration, the

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is allowed to do what in space. When you arrive you’ll be handed a manifesto with ‘a mixture of artists’ statements about what they’d do if they got to the moon, some poems, a scientific paper, and a couple of rants’ included, La Frenais stated in the press release. Rather than being solely focused on explaining science, it is considered to be a reflection of it. German installation artist Agnes Meyer-Brandis inspired by a 17thcentury novel in which Anglican bishop Francis Godwin describes a flight to the moon using a spaceship pulled by geese, has created an exhibition using eleven geese living in a ‘moonbase’ in the exhibition. Whilst Leonid Tishkov uses moonlight and compositions, combining nightscapes and an illuminated crescent moon for his piece “Private Moon”. Other exhibitions featured include “Moon Rover” and “The Smell of the Moon” by We Colonised the Moon as well as “Earth-MoonEarth” and “Second Moon” by Katie Paterson. Most of the exhibitions are free and are held at the Barehouse Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse St, SE1 9PH. It runs from Friday 10th January to Sunday 2nd February. It’s worth a viewing and certainly poses some interesting debates about our night sky.

The Brits: Celebrating Our Talent Image Credit: Wyvrnfm CC

Ciara Judge Culture Editor

The Brit Awards began in 1977 as part of the commemoration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee but since then a lot has changed. After turning into an annual event in 1982 under the British record industry’s trade association and finally televised in 1982 and then on live TV in 2007 for ITV, it can be said it is the British equivalent to the Grammys, just a little less formal with much more drama and alcohol (who can forget Liam Gallagher lobbing a Brit into the audience?). This February the Brits are back in full force to celebrate the past year in British music. The Brits aren’t too unpredictable with their nominees or awards so it’ll be interesting if this year follows on the predictions made for each category. The nominees have been announced earlier this

month and there has been a direct shift in who to look out for in 2014. The British music industry is often accused of being backward but it is clear that youth is being celebrated rather than experience par the nomination for David Bowie and his first album in 10 Years. Despite artists such as Bastille and Disclosure releasing albums earlier this year, they are already the two acts that dominate the nominations

and will compete in the categories for British group, British breakthrough artist, British album and British single. Other nominees include Rudimental, Laura Mvula and John Newman. All aspects of the industry have been looked at as well. In 1984, David Bowie won a Brit for British male solo artist and thirty years on he has been listed again, this time competing with the likes

of Jake Bugg and Tom Odell. Sam Smith, singer of summer smash hit ‘Latch’ and Naughty Boy’s ‘La La La’ has also been awarded the Brits critics’ choice award; he is a major name to look out for in the next few months. The event is sure to be full of entertainment as the Arctic Monkeys are set to open the show on the night with a live performance, and with two nominations under their belt (British band

and British album) it is sure to be a great night, if they win they’d be beating the likes of Coldplay and Manic Street Preachers in the past. As well as this there is the launch of the new award, Best British video which is voted for by fans on social media live on the night, it’s based on the YouTube views and hashtags which provides another dimension to the show. If you’re interested in attending the show, it would be well worth the the tickets. This year’s ceremony, promised by the organisers, is that it will be more impressive and bigger than ever before. The night is held at the 02 in London on Wednesday 19th February. With artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, Bruno Mars and many more attending or performing the evening is set to be an entertaining one. If you want to book tickets, purchase them online as soon as possible because they are selling out quick.



Minerva’s manual to munching, music and movies Minerva Amador-Christie Societies Editor Can’t stop going to… Café 338, E2 0AG. In search of a hearty but not so healthy meal? Then look no further because at Café 338 they have the largest selection of fry ups you’ve ever set your beady little eye on. Be prepared to wait though as this café is very popular with locals and with those in search of a much-needed hangover cure. Poppies, E1 6QR. Poppies restaurant and takeaway in Spitalfields source their produce directly from Billingsgate Market, which would explain why it costs a little bit more than your usual fish and chips. But if you’re willing to flash the cash to see them dish the fish, I can honestly say that you won’t be disappointed: You can

taste the quality. Smokey Tails, E9 5LN. Tucked away in the very heart of Haggerston you’ll find Seth Troxler’s cool new pop-up bar. It’s a great place to enjoy some cocktails and take advantage of the all-year round riverside barbeque whilst listening to some of London’s upand-coming DJs.

Can’t stop listening to… Waiting Game by BANKS. Eden by Ben Khan. Higher Ground by Shiny Objects.

Can’t stop watching… Moonrise Kingdom (2012), directed by Wes Anderson. The wonderful and eccentric tale of two youngsters in love.

Image Credit: Chris Flemming

Post-Christmas sales: The facts Image Credit: Ver de Chandeleur CC

Ciara Judge Culture Editor SALE! SALE! SALE! Walking around Westfields in Stratford, I think the word ‘Sale’ has started to look weird as I’ve read it so many times. I knew it was coming, I had started to mentally prepare myself for the madness of the sales faster than you can say “Happy New Year!. There are few who can resist the bargaining magic of a discount, the thought of buying something for less than its worth has the shopaholic in me giddy with excitement. But if you look closely, some sales aren’t always what they seem. As a nation we love the sales. When the January cut downs hit town, we go crazy for those price overrides and those bargains. But how much of a saving are we making? What used to be a purely seasonal discount now happens pretty much at various times throughout the whole year. Shops create excitement over unwanted or leftover stock that they haven’t sold in that season for a discounted price; this is retail trick that has been around since the 1890s. But there are other tricks that stores use to keep us shopping. Heavily promoted clearance sales can be seen in most retail outlets all

year round, and to accompany this, stores have to bring in a huge amount of stock. These are special buys and are considered a significant portion of what they consider to be ‘sales’, so it’s not all just about unwanted stock. They are sometimes bought in bulk but the price discounted to bring the customers in. This along with the classic clearance sales makes sure customers leave the building with an increase in their “units per basket”, meaning we leave the

store purchasing a lot more than what we had originally expected. The logistics behind a sale is crucial as well – it can either make or break a business. Not only do they have to entice the buyer, but they need to be competitive against other businesses whilst making profit and hitting budget. It’s a dangerous numbers game. Mark down meetings are normally held beforehand and each item is discussed, a finite sale is made and that can be slashed further

the longer the sale goes on for. Towards the end of a sale, mark downs become more aggressive as they try to shift the stock. The longer you wait the more likely you’ll pay less than for example a week prior. The downside to that though is that the product you want may very well have sold out. It’s basically a betting game to see how long you can hold your nerve before you purchase. This is exactly why sales cause such manic craziness (we’ve all

seen the picture comparison of Dante’s Seven Circles of Hell and Westfields on Boxing Day – they are worryingly similar). It is also important to keep an eye on those massive red banners that say “up to 50% sale”. Legally according to Trading Standards only a mere 10% of the stock they have, including the sale items, have to be reduced by that amount, most stock would only have 20% or even less. You may not be getting as much money off as you hoped, so it’s always good to keep track on how much of a bargain you’re actually getting. If you’re looking for even bigger discounts make sure to check for warehouse clearances or sample sales which happen all year round as well. With this shops also use social media to increase footfalls by offering their ‘fanbases’ online codes or secret flash sales - it’s easy to hunt for that special purchase at a discounted price if you have the time. I personally love the sales, as a shopper you get that sense of euphoria, you feel smart for buying something cheaper than what it was. But remember shops knowingly like to maximise on this. Enjoy the sales but it’s always nice to know just how much we are saving and if it is really worth the mania.





Channel 4 charged with “inciting hatred”

Skl policy is changing

Keumars Afifi-Sabet Satire Editor

Kaisha Langton

The creators of the medieval-style poverty porn pseudo-reality television show Benefits Street have been charged under the Terrorism Act for ‘inciting hatred’ against stupid, filthy, thieving, workshy layabouts that the handful of cretinous proles on the tele represented. Many enlightened viewers took to social media platforms to contribute to the debate. One particularly irked viewer tweeted: “Should terminate all the scroungers. Gas them in their sleep.” Similarly, questioned whether more could be done to deter those from seeking benefits in the first place, asking : “Why haven’t they castrated these people? Creatures.” Others have argued the programme to be “irresponsible,” none more so than left-wing com-

munist nazi Owen Jones, who wrote in the Independent recently: “Television producers hunt for unsympathetic examples of unemployed people – in this case, on a street in Birmingham; they portray them in the worst possible light; and they fuel the pervasive sense that people on benefits are feckless BLAH BLAH BLAH.” The charges arise following allegations that the programme falsely represented benefits claimants, largely due to truth-bending video editing, in order to produce ‘better television’ - tricks rarely used by reality TV shows. Lefty propaganda nuts have recently fallen back to the use of statistics to dispel a number of benefits myths. Allegedly, only 0.7% of benefits claims are fraudulent, and only 3% of the welfare budget is spent on the unemployed. They also say that 42% of the welfare

budget is spent on those over 60 in the form of pensions, bus passes and various other subsidies. Bollocks to that. Statistics obviously pale in comparison to hardhitting anecdotal evidence, such as the story about Larry, or Barry, or Maggie... I forget... who recently contracted Ewing’s Sarcoma in an attempt to claim unemployment support. She obviously “contributed to [her] medical condition” because the DWP said so, the thieving slag. Nice try. While Channel 4 has reportedly contacted Anjem Choudary for legal representation, a spin-off series entitled Immigrant Alley is set to air 4 from December 2014. The Daily Express-sponsored edition will focus on 13 particularly vile, horse-and-cart-dragging Bulgarian gypsies from Mars. Make sure to sharpen your pitchforks in time.

Famous last New Years resolutions Lucrecia McCarthy SatireEditor Resolutions: big names aim to become perfect human beings It’s mid-January, and while you’re undoubtedly already failing in your attempts to become better people in lieu of February selfloathing, some of the big names of 2014 are undertaking New Year’s Resolutions of their own. Here’s what to expect and emulate. Ed Miliband Wallace and Gromit extra Miliband will be using this year to begin a major rebrand in the vain attempt to differentiate himself from the other one. It’s likely this will entail a gap-yah type mission to Thailand in order to ‘find-himself’, though if the self he finds is half as nasal as his current man-thing persona he may be forced to take up am-dram to become a slightly more three-dimensional character and learn to impersonate that elusive gift ‘charisma’. Nick Clegg Since failing to get any recognition beyond nameless human shield for the Tory government and junior whipping boy, Nick Clegg may choose this as the year to officially launch his music career after ‘I’m Sorry’ finally made him a household name. David Cameron The PM-droid has set himself the resolution to stop making U-turns. This is of course provisional, he

“Down with the kids” Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, announced this week that he intends to revolutionise the National School Curriculum. He has spearheaded a five-bulleted four-point plan to re-restructure the state education system, and enable the development of the curriculum. 1) “Exercise is so 2013. Wii exercise is so much better.” Michael Gove deemed actual exercise useless, and ineffective. He plans to substitute winter physical education activities for Wii sports tournaments. He said this would also reduce the number of PE teachers, which he believes to be “not a proper form of discipline anyway.” 2) “2 B or nt 2 B, tht is da Qqqq.” Michael Gove stated that in today’s society, the need for eloquence in language, especially in pressured situations, is not a vital skill and is not necessary for the formation of our society. “Just look at the House of Commons,” he said. 3) “Nap time kids!” Gove indicated that through the

invocation of a nap time, academic performance would improve, as a continuously well-rested mind is able to function at full capacity even if children manage to sleep through the entire school day. “If toddlers have them, then why not everyone!?” 4) “Wait…you actually want to write in your exam???” Examination mediums are to be expanded. An examination on To Kill A Mockingbird can be undertaken in a various forms such as: dramatic performance, speech, interpretative dance, film, pretty much anything under the sun, in lieu of traditional methods. 5) “Community service = schooling.” Gove wishes to assign a designated number of hours per week for teachers and students. If students complete the set number early, then they shall be permitted early release. Gove’s initiatives are to be put before the rest of government one morning within the next several years, the results of which shall follow. Obviously.

Image credit Joe Bielawa

may decide on reflection to withdraw this resolution pending further research, though it depends on who the dark overlord George Osborne targets out of a random selection of underrepresented groups, pastry products and country critters. If he does manage to implement this resolution it could free-up his time between arms missions to add some validity to the frequently wheeled out catch phrase ‘the other day I was talking to [insert convenient unfathomable character to support unresearched policy]’ Boris Johnson Quaffed man of the people BoJo, has made leaps and bounds with relations in China after the incredibly well thought out Harry Potter-Cho Chang analogy and is the driving force of modern feminism in Malaysia following insightful and accurate conclusions about women’s attendance at university directly linking to their desperate

search for husbands. This year he will expand on this global success to finally carry out world domination. If he has any time left he may set his minions on the task of finding a way to match his wealth and his IQ, though there are fears he will have to give up a considerable number of his offshore accounts. Miley Cyrus Everyone’s favourite ex-Disney, beige starlet will continue to twerk herself to the top spot as the world’s biggest feminist, dispelling myths she is a puppet icon. Justin Bieber The big man has retired, this means he will have to stop plucking Beliebers from beyond the Grave, leaving the likes of Anne Frank to rest easy. Time free from hiding under blankets outside brothels and fighting off children means he can dedicate himself to studying Michael Jackson’s career trajectory full time ensuring he’s still on the right path to destruction.

Image credit Policy Exchange



Fairtrade fashion show Georgia Crouch You may have seen the logo on the menu board at Ground whilst waiting for your morning caffeine fix or on the small sticker of the banana you’ve grabbed for lunch today - this little blue and green logo certifies that the farmer or supplier received a fair price for the product you’ve purchased. The logo I’m talking about is of course: Fairtrade! You may not be aware of this, but Queen Mary is certified as being a ‘Fairtrade university’ and is therefore committed in ensuring that, where possible, we support the cause by buying coffee, food, and clothing on campus that adheres to industry standards. Aside from the university’s contribution, the nation is increasingly choosing to purchase more ethically. As the statistics published by the Fairtrade Foundation last year illustrated, the Fairtrade industry in the UK is on the increase, with a 12% rise in sales between the years 2011 and 2012; this corresponds to £1.5

billion generated from sales of Fairtrade products. Not only is it a rapidly growing industry, but it is also a diverse one, with products ranging from sugar to cosmetics, and even jewellery! With new products constantly emerging on the shelves of our favourite high street shops, supermarkets, and through specialist websites (I highly recommend the Ethical Superstore!) it’s never been easier to be an ethical consumer. So, you’re probably wondering what the point of this article is? February is the month celebrating all things sustainable, including Go Green Week, but towards the end of the month and into the beginning of March, the world celebrates what we call ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’. During this period, UK schools, businesses and communities will be raising awareness about the importance of buying into Fairtrade, and how your money goes into improving the lives of farming communities across the Global South. Green Mary, in collaboration with the Student’s Union and supported by

QMSustainability, will be hosting numerous events throughout the first week including the promotion of various Fairtrade products available in QMSU venues. To bring the week to a close we’ll literally be finishing off in stylefor on Friday the 28th February, QMSU will be hosting its first ever Fairtrade Fashion show, showcasing both men and women’s fashion, including a selection from the QMInfusions line. At the event, there will be free samples of Fairtrade wine and chocolate on offer and stalls selling clothes from the QMInfusions range. Now for the hard sell - we desperately need models, both male and female, to rock our fabulous clothes on the catwalk! So if you fancy yourself as the next David Gandy or Cara Delevingne, or you’re simply interested in getting involved in some way, then contact us via greenmaryqm@ to find out more. All we ask is that you are committed to attend a handful of meetings and of course, the night itself. We look forward to seeing you in February!

Barts Neuroscience Symposium is calling for abstracts Barts will be playing host to some of the greatest minds in science for their second Barts Neuroscience Symposium. It is an ample opportunity to celebrate not only the work being carried out in projects such as The Human Brain Project, but also that of students involved in neuro-related research at both the Barts and QM campus. The national symposium is an entirely student-led event, bringing to you incredible keynote speakers such as David Nutt and Richard Frackowiak, amongst others who are at the forefront of advances in the field of neuroscience. If you are an undergraduate or graduate currently carrying out relevant research, then we urge you to submit abstracts for a chance to win. In addition to the amazing prizes, this is an excellent opportunity

to network and have your work seen by the best researchers in the discipline of neuroscience. We look forward to receiving your entry. For more details on the symposium and abstract guidelines please visit: Or, view.php?permalink=REW4UR47FY

“Physics isn’t the most important thing. Love is.” Josh Underwood & Emma Fickling My favourite Physicist was once quoted as saying, “Physics isn’t the most important thing. Love is.” I like to think that Richard P. Feynman would be proud of us. It would be rote cynicism to label PsiStar as purveyors of ‘organised fun’, but the true purpose of the society is to be the catalyst for those treasured moments, memories and stories we all wish to leave university with. The sight of young physicists, and friends from all other subjects, getting together and enjoying each other’s company is comforting. When you need an escape from the fear of looming weekly deadlines or the existential crisis spurred by excellently entertaining lectures, there is always the wish for… no, rather the need of, the company of your closest friends. They came, they saw and they conquered. Or in our case, they joined PsiStar, came to all of our events and had a bit of a laugh. Promises were made and kept as we delivered a veritable smorgasbord of events. Among these,

we delivered three informative evening lectures, numerous pubcrawls, nights at the Science Museum and a splattering of seasonal events. The evening lectures covered topics such as the search for extrasolar planets, the mindset of a materials scientist and the (not so) mystical concept of symmetries. They filled out the GO Jones Lecture Theatre and thoroughly entertained all attendees. Each lecture was an opportunity to see

one of our own talented lecturers discuss topics that particularly interested them, and this enthusiasm for their chosen topic was infectious. No event typifies the spirit of PsiStar more than our karaoke night, ‘Now! That’s What I Call PsiStar’ where the society hauls 35 plus optimistic members to pre-booked rooms at Bloomsbury Lanes; demand was so high this year that a second room was booked out. The memories of ob-

noxious sing-a-longs to the likes of Oasis, Queen, Paul Simon and the wonderful Carly Rae Jepsen being somewhat butchered is something we can’t help, but want more of. Two hours of grotesque bliss at the hands of our Grade 0 singers wasn’t quite enough, so when the venue invited us to carry on for another hour, we could hardly refuse: we forced members to fight for another opportunity to finally perform their interpretation of UB40. Get set for Part Deux!

Next came the densely packed month of October. The Jack the Ripper Halloween Tour was made complete by Batman, Robin and a questionable looking male corpsewaitress – think Peggy Mitchell with stubble. November resulted in a mass visit to the evening event at the Science Museum. To celebrate Christmas we really #gotmerry with a disco ball infused disco in the Physics Museum followed by a festive pub crawl, once again made complete by seasonal outfits. We definitely never pass up an opportunity for fancy dress certainly a theme with Physicists. Like a dog chasing its own tail, PsiStar is an insatiable beast. There will be a pause in which we reflect on the things that have gone well. but this is a memory soon replaced by a villainous intent to become the best society, or at least most loved, at Queen Mary. With the Physics Ball, roller disco, extra lectures, a CERN trip and more, currently being planned, PsiStar is set to deliver some huge events with plenty more to look forward to in the new year. We promise to give you the biggest bang (sorry) for your buck!




Believers Love World, Bible Study 6pm-9pm Francis Bancroft 2.40


Model UN meeting 5pm-6pm Arts 2




Introducing: QMUL’s Economics Society

Film Society, film screening 6pm-10pm Arts 1 G19 An Audience with Lord Robert Winston


Arts 2 Lecture Theatre, QMUL


Pound Stretcher 15th January 9pm - 2am Drapers Bar


QMUL Marxist Society: Where is Britain heading? 6:00-7:00pm, Francis Bancroft G.13


Xperience presents… SILENT DISCO! 9:00pm, Drapers

th 6:00pm - 7:30pm



DOLCE Queen Mary Official 2014 Welcome Party, Saturday, 18th January at 10:30pm – Sunday, 19th January at 3:30am, CoKobar


Day of Rest


MONDAY’S CALLING th 8pm - 2am Drapers Bar



The Sound of Ground - Open MIC Special 3:30pm-5:30pm , The Ground Café

QMUL BioSoc - A Marine Biologist Gone Astray nd 5:30pm Francis Bancroft Room 2.40


23rd 24

Spoken Word and Poetry Evening 7:00pm-9:00pm The Ground Café

Gaming Event

th 5pm-9pm

Blomely Rooms 1 & 2

Hana Hammouda Why would you want to be part of the Economics Society if you’re not studying anything related to business, finance or economics, or even if you are? Economics is a social science that underpins much of what happens every day. We are all directly, and indirectly, affected by economics; it is highly relevant in the world we live in. Broaden your horizons, step out of your comfort zone and join us in looking at situations differently through the lens of Economics! Although we are an academic society, we have numerous social, sports and careers events available to our members. We are currently the largest society on campus, with over 400 members! This semester we have already organised a variety of events, including: Launch Party; CV Workshop and Business game with Citigroup, S&P and Towers Watson; ICAEW Business Game;

Bank of England Mock Assessment Centre; ‘Future of Islamic Finance in the UK’ lecture with Sheikh Bilal Khan; CIMA Business Game; Society of Business Economists Annual Conference; Alumni Panel event; Bank of England External Presentation; Trading and Portfolio Management career seminar with Anton Kreil; Game Theory in Practice with Mark Williams; and Emerging Markets - New safe havens with Regional Editor of Oxford Business Group, Oliver Cornock. Join us for our New Year Welcome Back Extravaganza on Friday 10th January from 7pm at Riley’s Sports Bar in Victoria. There will be a free drink on entry, food, pool, darts and competitions. After the massive success of our Launch Party, you will not want to miss what we have in store this time! In the new year we are extremely happy to be hosting economist

and writer Pete Comley who will be talking about his new book “Inflation Tax: The Plan To Deal With The Debts” on the 14th January. Due to popular demand for our Citigroup event, they will also be visiting us in the new year to hold a Networking Session. Keep on the look out for our popular Economics Society magazine ‘Chronicle of Economic Affairs’. Whatever your discipline or economic knowledge, the Economics Society has something for you! So buy your membership for just £2 at the SU now to avoiding missing out! Get in touch! @QMEconsoc Facebook: QMUL Economics Society (Group)



Sports around the world Rumman Sikdar

Image credit Jim Thurston

The festive period saw interesting developments in the sporting world: Has Luis Suarez turned his image around after scoring 10 goals in 7 December matches, and receiving the FSF Player of the Year, and Barclay’s Player of the Month awards? Tom Daley and Thomas Hitzelsperger both revealed they weren’t heterosexual. Should this have been considered news in 2013/14? Hitzelsperger stated he was always comfortable with his sexuality, and as he says his team mates were fine with it too, did he wait till after retirement to declare it because of the fans? Jessica Ennis-Hill announced she was pregnant, ruling her out of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Having also missed the

2013 indoor season and the World Championships due to injury, is it too unrealistic for her to still aim for another Olympic gold in 2016? What has David Moyes done to Manchester United? Criticisms have arisen about his tactics, man management, and training principles, but is it too late for him to turn it around? Sticking to football, are Liverpool and Everton real title contenders, or is it a three way battle between Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester City? What on Earth happened to England down under and how will they recover? Who needs to be dropped and which new faces need to be seen in India this summer? Should Danny Cipriani have been named in England’s 6 Nation’s squad? Will Wales win it again, or can England end their

run? Is the loss of Theo Walcott a bigger blow to Arsenal’s hopes of winning silverware again, or to England’s chances of a respectable performance at the World Cup (let’s not have any silly talk of winning it!)? What do you think of FIFA’s decision to hold the Qatar World Cup during the winter, and how will European clubs respond? Can Atletico Madrid become the first champions of La Liga in a decade other than Barcelona or Real Madrid? Is Robert Lewandowski betraying Borussia Dortmund by joining Bayern Munchen, and does it highlight the lack of competitiveness in the league? Tell us what you think by joining us on Twitter @SportQMess, or by emailing us at

QM Do The Double Over Bart's Nicholas Finch

Barts 2XV 22 - 29 QMRFC 2XV Simon Craig, Ryan Mcleavy, Adrian Fuentes, Michael Petty, Callum Thomson, Calin Berrange, Tom Main, Dylan Eames, Charles Henri-Petiet, Michael Woods, Michael James, Conor Yon, Richard Clarkson, Alex Quayson, Jasper Reed, Oyedola Osilaja, Nicholas Finch QM went into the game on the back of 4 wins from their 4 previous games but were facing an uphill battle from the beginning having lost many players to the 1XV and others were still carrying knocks from the previous weeks. They were also dealt a major blow when 30 minutes before kick-off, Captain Oyedola Osilaja was forced to play for the 1XV due to players arriving late. In the pack, Adrian Fuentes started at prop and Michael Petty paired up with Callum Thomson in the second row. In the backline, Conor Yon and Richard Clarkson formed an unfamiliar centre partnership. Bart’s on the other hand, were able to field a full side with 5 subs and 20 team doctors. QM started the game poorly

as they struggled to match the intensity that Bart’s were offering, as we fell behind to an early penalty which was considered to be a victory more than anything having been under the cosh. The first half hour went much the same way with Bart’s dominance taking them into a 10-0 lead following a converted try. Nicholas Finch arrived late and after a brief 2 minute warm up, which consisted up jogging up and down the side line, he replaced Michael James and a reshuffle of the back line saw an improvement in QM’s fortunes. From the kick off, QM were a different side. Now fired up for this game, they were hitting contact with ferocity.   It took only 5 minutes for Finch to stamp his authority on the park as the pack put QM in a strong attacking position and he was working the fringes well. Once the ball got wide, the backs nearly made a hash of scoring but the ball found its way into Michael Woods’ hands and after stepping inside one defender, he dotted down 15 metres in from the touchline. A superb nudge by Charles Henri-Petiet to get the conversion put QM back in the game. 7-10.

With a few minutes in the half, QM were not to be stopped and scored again to end the half on top. More fantastic work by the pack saw them make valuable yards, Charles received the ball with a dogged defence and he slipped through 2 tackles to score from 10 metres out. 14-10. As the second half kicked off, strong words from Captain Michael Woods seemed to have the desired effect on the team as from the restart, strong pressure by the forwards forced an early mistake. It wasn’t long before Bart’s were penalised, 15 metres out from their try line and Charles knocked over the penalty .17-10. Not much later, a penalty given away by Barts presented QM with a fantastic opportunity despite protests from Charles, Woods took the decision to opt for a line-out. QM’s dominance continued as superb team play from a turned over line out saw a flowing move take QM deep into Barts territory; quick ball allowed Finch to attract the attention of 3 Barts defenders before putting Woods in for his second try, scored with a characteristic lack of pace. 2410.

A kick to the corner again now saw QM 10 metres out, with Callum Thomson catching everything that came his way, the QM pack set up the rolling maul. It wasn’t long before QM had eaten up the 10 metres that they needed to reach the line and Tom Main was the man who was credited with the try, his first for QM. Charles Henri-Petiet could not make the difficult conversion but QM now had a comfortable lead. 29-10. QM just seemed to switch off after scoring their last try and began to get complacent. Barts’ capitalised on this and were beginning to put some phases together. Bart’s finally made a breakthrough 15 minutes towards the end when their inside centre took a crash ball on halfway and managed to break through 5 weak tackles from QM and score underneath the posts for a converted try that put Bart’s on the front foot. 29-17. Bart’s came back again at QM and with the help of some questionable refereeing decisions, finding themselves only 5 metres out from QM’s line, with a yellow card imminent and they looked certain to score a try.

From a penalty, Bart’s took a quick tap and shifted the ball wide. Despite some frantic defence by QM, Bart’s scored. Nerves were apparent in the QM play and errors from normally reliable players highlighted this problem. But QM managed to see out the 5 minutes left and with more frenetic defence. The win marks an exceptional end to the first semester for the 2nd XV which sees them sitting 2nd in the league on 15 points behind City on 18 and ahead of Canterbury 3s & Writtle College on 12 points. Added to this they are in the last 16 of the BUCS Plate with a lower division side standing between them and the quarter finals. The first two weeks of term see two colossal fixtures for the 2s as they play rivals City & Canterbury at Chislehurst where they are yet to concede a point in a home fixture this season. Wins in both would place QM firmly top of the league as their hunt for a first ever promotion continues, with Wednesday 22nd marking 3 home games at Chislehurst as both mens side face Canterbury opposition and the Ladies play Middlesex.



The spirit of football Richard Maher The players may be teenage multimillionaires, the tickets may cost in excess of fifty-pound a game and the World Cup may absurdly be played in the winter in Qatar in eight years time, but a recent event at Queen Mary showed that the Spirit Of Football is well and truly alive and kicking. ‘The Spirit of Football’ are a community organisation who make a special ball every time there is a World Cup and take it on a journey from London to the hosting nation, which is Brazil this Summer. During the journey they unite football and community projects raising awareness and improving communities using football. This year the Queen Mary student union played a big part in the kick-off. Proceedings got underway on Thursday the 9th January with an event at Battersea Park, an apt location for ‘The Kick Off’ as this was where the very first official game of football was played 150 years ago. Free-style football workshops were on shows as well as a big match featuring representa-

tives from Spirit Of Football, players from the world’s oldest amateur club (Sheffield F.C.), and Queen Mary students and staff. Those involved then moved on to a Rio Carnival-themed Drapers for the official launch party which was buzzing with live DJs, Brazilian food and cocktails, bringing a taste of Sunny South America into the thick of our cold and wet East London campus. ‘New Model Army’, an alternative rock band, were present, having already played in the game at Battersea, to release ‘A Beautiful Game’, the official song for the ‘Spirit of Football’. Even after the night drew to a close, Queen Mary’s involvement with the initiative was not over. The next day GetActive put on a free session of football played to the old school rules in celebration of 150 years of the FA. The Spirit of Football then ran a special seminar in the Students’ Union Hub where they explained the project, its aims and the impact it is having in schools and communities globally. Christian Wach, a representative for the Spirit of Football, was quick

to praise Queen Mary, claiming: “QMSU’s support has been invaluable in making the kick off a memorable occasion. We are grateful for QMSU’s openness, generosity, encouragement and meticulous planning and we are delighted to have launched the journey of the ball to Brazil with this university”. A spokesperson for QMSU, returned Wach’s kind words and was delighted to have worked with the Spirit of Football for the beginning of its journey. ‘Queen Mary got involved as we have launched a new project this year looking to offer students opportunities to get involved in sports volunteering’, he said, ‘this event has marked a fantastic opportunity to both provide students with the opportunity to get involved and also to provide a launch point for community sport’. Regardless of football’s criticism as in increasingly financially-driven business, schemes like this help to remind everyone of the power that the sport has to have a great impact not just in England, but worldwide.

No way to train at St Pauls Samuel Reiziger An undisclosed incident on 25th November 2013 saw all QM and Bart’s clubs who used St Paul’s Way School’s training facilities banned until the turn of the year. The school, who were already disgruntled after an alcohol related incident a few weeks prior, were allegedly furious with the behaviour of a Bart’s club, believed to be Bart’s Football, who were spotted stripping naked on an outdoor pitch, in order to be photographed for a charity naked calendar. Having not sought the

school’s permission before doing so, the club were the last straw for the school who were already annoyed with a few minor indiscretions earlier in the semester. Amongst the sports affected were Netball, Hockey, and Football, as their training calendar came to an abrupt end. One player, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “it’s a bit rubbish, but you can see it from both sides really. They’re not going to want naked men running around on a school, and they wouldn’t have thought about asking”. A spokesperson from QMSU sport

gave us the following statement, “QMSU Club Sport were not able comment at the time of the incident as they were waiting for an official report from the school to outline the key issues surrounding students activity on the premises during the QMSU block bookings. QMSU Club Sport acted in the best interests of both the students and the school to ensure that clubs could continue training where possible and maintain a good working relationship with school.”

Barts BartsClub Club Sport Sport Pos. Team W D L


Women’s Rugby in South Eastern 2B






2 Middlesex 1st 4 QM 1st









College 7 King’s 2nd (Medics)





Hertfordshire 1st

Netball South 2B BUCS MARSin Football in Eastern South Eastern4B

1 2



Greenwich 1st

















CC 2nd QM 1st (Barts and TheLon-

CC 6Canterbury 3rd

BUCS Fencingin inSouth South Eastern 1A 4B Football Eastern






2 Imperial 2nd 5 QM 1st












UCL 1st

Brunel 1st

3 3

Women’s football kicking onwards and upwards Emily Sprake Last term saw a strong start to both our LUSL and BUCS campaigns. Currently, we stand top of our BUCS League, hoping to maintain this position and gain promotion for next year. Our last game saw us play St Mary’s 2nd’s, which was an intense fixture that saw both teams battle and manage to hold

on, with a final 1-1 score. The LUSL league contains strong opposition, such as UCL and LSE, resulting in a high level of competition, with us currently holding third place with a game in hand. The team have had some strong scores including a 7 – 3 win over King’s College and finishing 2013 with a 5 – 1 result against Royal Holloway.

Our cup results for 2013 were incredible, seeing us progress to the next round of two separate competitions with two 14-0 wins! Off of the field, the team has been creating links with a local youth group, aiding them in the creation of a football team, of which we will hopefully begin to coach in the very near future. As a result of this, several players had the opportunity to gain their Level

1 FA Coaching badges, which we are pleased to say they obtained. We would like to take this opportunity say a massive thank you to the associate students who were part of the team last term. It was a pleasure to play alongside them, and they were instrumental in helping us achieve the successes we have so far had. They will be missed greatly, and we wish them all the best in the rest of their stud-

ies. The committee is so proud of everyone’s commitment and hard work so far this season, and hopes to continue this success into 2014. If you are interested in joining the team, or would just like to attend our training sessions, please send us an email at:  qmwfc13@, or like our Facebook page: Queen Mary Women’s Football Club, for more information.



QM Club Sport Pos. Team


L Pts

BUCS Tennis in 5A


Brunel 3rd





Queen Mary 3rd (Barts and the London



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5 Imperial 3rd 8 Roehgampton 3rd







0 -9


BUCS Badminton in 5B

1 2 3

LSE 3rd





Queen Mary 4th (Barts and the London)





Goldsmith’s 1st






Writtle 1st



1 -3

BUCS Volleyball in 2B

1 QM 1st 2 Kings 1st 3 Essex 1st 5 Goldsmiths 1st














- 4



don 1st


0 0 12

3 4th (Barts and





Canterbury CC 3rd






Imperial 5th





Queen Mary the London)


Theodore Meddick-Dyson The Queen Mary Angels Cheerleading Club (the team for both QM and Barts) started 6 years ago as a small Cheer Dance team and through hard work, determination and an excellent standard of coaching has grown to become the best nationally competing university team in the UK. Our team’s ethos is to be inclusive of everyone so we allow anyone to join without holding tryouts; we believe that this, coupled with an incredibly high standard of coaching, is what makes us such a strong team as we are more like a family who constantly support each other athletically, academically and emotionally. Following our successful 2012/13 season in which the team took home a number of trophies – 8 first place, 1 second place, 1 third place and University Grand Champions – we were offered a bid to represent England at the University World Championships in Florida, January 2014. This is a huge honour, especially so considering our team consists primarily of people without any cheer or gymnastics background. In the lead up to competitions last year the team was heavily


criticised by competing universities, who believed that level 6 (the highest level you can compete at in cheerleading) was too high a difficulty for a university team; never mind one which included a number of people entirely new to cheer. When it came to competition time QMA performed well in the face of a plethora of adverse opinions, and shocked a lot of teams with an impressive level 6 routine which was heavily praised on popular online cheerleading forums. Going to the World Championships is going to be hard work: both the Worlds team and designated reserves train a bare minimum of 3 times a week, including training through reading week and a large portion of the Christmas term break, and are very strict about missing training sessions. UK university cheerleading competition routines are normally performed on a ‘sprung’ floor, which essentially means that athletes get a little more bounce in their tumbles and a lot less strain on the joints; however Worlds are going to be held on a ‘dead’ floor which gives no extra bounce and provides little extra support, as such our athletes are going to have to re-learn their entire tumbling technique to

ensure each skill can be performed effectively and safely. Our highly disciplined athletes are limited in a very big way: each one like most students are completely financially independent, and with costs upwards of £1000 per athlete we have a lot of fundraising to do to even make an impact on the cost for the full 16-strong team; especially considering the Students’ Union cannot offer any support due to reduced funding for Club Sports in general. The team have already been busy fundraising by volunteering at the Nike+ Run to the Beat half marathon, as well as a 5km MoRun for Movember with half of the proceeds of fundraising going to charity, a Christmas music event at the Griff Inn, bake sales on campus and a showcase of the routine in the sports hall of QMotion, whilst also engaging in talks with various companies about organising further fundraising efforts and potentially getting sponsorship from local businesses. Year on year QMA have grown in strength and we intend this year to keep going as we always have: by training up our freshers (and returning squad members!) to dominate the competition.

QM Hockey Mid-Season Report Matthew Phillips

BUCS Netball in 7B East Lon-

Success of the QM Angels

QM Men’s Hockey 1st XI will enter the second half of their season in an excellent position thanks to a 100% pre-Christmas league record and a place in the last 16 of the BUCS Cup. A series of terrific performances has given the team, lead by Captain Matt Phillips, a 5-point cushion at the top of the BUCS South-Eastern 4B league, with only four league games left to be played. Building on the groundwork laid in place by previous Captain Tom Sword, the hockey team this year has begun to reach newfound heights, with freshers and

old boys alike providing consistently excellent individual performances. Tom Seebold leads the goalscoring charts with 14, while the stingiest defence in the league is anchored by both the old, club Chairman Callum Saunderson, and the new, fresher Tom Fletcher-Wilson. As well as the league success, the hockey team find themselves in the last 16 of the BUCS Cup, courtesy of a bye and a conceded walkover. Unfortunately the draw has been quite tough on the QM side, with an away trip to the University of Sussex – currently 100% in South-Eastern 2A – scheduled

for early February. This has done nothing to dampen the team’s enthusiasm however, with the prospect of a major upset and the rewards of a quarter-final place creating an opportunity the team could only dream about at the start of the season. It is therefore now up to the team to make the most of the opportunities which have been hard-earned by their previous play, ensuring they reap the rewards of what has been, to date, a highly successful season.

Qmessenger issue 83  
Qmessenger issue 83  

Issue 83 of QMessenger the official newspaper of Queen Mary Students' Union