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e g d i r b m Ca y t i s r e v i n U k 2013-14 o o b d n a H n io n U Graduate

GU Handbook 2013-14

Welcome From the President

Congratulations on the start of your journey as a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, and as a member of the Graduate Union! This will hopefully be one of the most rewarding and stimulating parts of your life, and many people who have already completed graduate degrees and postdoctoral research here in Cambridge have found the experience to be life-changing. This handbook has been put together to provide some pointers as you settle in to Cambridge, but also to introduce the Grad Union’s twin roles. The GU provides services to some 12,000 members of Cambridge University. These include printing, binding, Cambridge stationery, and, in partnership with the other student union in Cambridge – CUSU – the Student Advice Service. The GU also has a political role in campaigning for change, both within Cambridge, and the Higher Education environment more generally. We are an entirely democratic organization in both of these respects: we serve our members by listening to our members, and reflecting their hopes, concerns, and priorities. Members of this year’s team are particularly keen to make sure that children and partners of graduate students feel included in their time here, through making provision for play groups for young children, and pushing the University to enhance its own provision in this area. Given the extent to which both the University’s plans for growth, and the development of the knowledge-community more generally are dependent on graduate education, this is one of the most exciting times to be a graduate student. Through the representational and campaigning-activity we will be engaged in this year, the Grad Union offers considerable scope to get involved with shaping these developments. The most immediate way to get involved will be to stand for election to one of the Executive Committee portfolios within the GU. These positions will all be coming up for election in November, with a term of office of one year. There will also be plenty of chances to become involved in some of the autonomous campaigns in Cambridge. These include the Women’s Campaign, CUSU LGBT, and the Disabled Students’ Campaign, and are run out of CUSU. As grad students are also members of CUSU (unless we opt out). I warmly encourage you to get involved in this way too. For further updates, keep checking our website, and our regular email bulletins for further information. Finally I join with the Vice Chancellor in hoping to meet as many of you in person as possible.

Richard Jones

Graduate Union President, 2013-14 2

GU Handbook 2013-14

...and a very warm welcome From the Vice-Chancellor

I am delighted to welcome you to the University of Cambridge. Graduate students are a vital and valued part of this wonderful, transformative place. Cambridge provides a unique and thrilling environment for research and for advanced study, and fosters both academic achievement and personal development in our students. I encourage you to take advantage of Cambridge’s rich academic community – through involvement in your Colleges, the many University societies, and by becoming an active member of the Graduate Union. This handbook is an excellent resource for information about the Graduate Union and contains helpful tips to better equip you to enjoy your time here. I wish you all the best for your studies at Cambridge, and hope to meet as many of you as I can.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz FRS Vice-Chancellor of the University


GU Handbook 2013-14

ate Union Graddseu rvices Shop an

Located just off the GU Lounge, the GU Shop offers a range of products and services of interest to postgrads. Normal opening hours are 9:30am – 1pm and then 2pm- 5pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday in term time. Any changes to these opening times are listed in advance on the GU Website.

Shop We stock a variety of cheap stationery and supplies, including branded Cambridge notebooks, pens and pencils, and academic diaries, in addition to postcards and personal attack alarms.

Printing, copying, and scanning We offer colour and black-and-white printing and photocopying at some of the most competitive prices in Cambridge. These are currently 10p per page for colour printing, and 5p per black-and-white page. We also offer heavier-weight paper at a surcharge of 1p per sheet. In addition, we can scan documents to a USB stick.

Laminating We can laminate any pages up to A3 size.

Binding We offer both soft and hard binding: Soft binding is either plastic comb or metal channel binding; both are suitable for MPhil submission and PhD first submission. This can be done while you wait. We also offer hard binding to Cambridge University Library regulations, suitable for PhD final submission, at some of the cheapest rates in Cambridge. This is done off-site, and theses for binding are collected by the specialist firm no later than 10.30am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings; with the bound copies returned two working days later.

Gown Sale/Hire We rent out both BA and MA gowns for occasions such as matriculation, formal hall, and examination invigilation, and also buy and sell good-condition second-hand gowns.

Room booking It is possible to book rooms or the GU lounge for society events or meetings. Enquiries should be referred to the GU administrator at:


GU Handbook 2013-14

Welfare & Rights Officer Helen Hoogewerf-McComb

Hi, I’m Helen, the CUSU-GU Welfare and Rights Officer. As a sabbatical officer, I work full-time to provide support for students and campaign across the University on issues relating to student welfare. Helen

About the role As Welfare and Rights Officer, my job is to ensure students can access individual support through the CUSU-GU Student Advice Service and that student voices are heard on issues relating to welfare and wellbeing at a local and national level. Within the Student Advice Service, my job is to provide advice, guidance, and support on personal and academic issues. This may include sexual health, mental health, disability, exam allowances or childcare. No issue is too big or small, and I can provide a listening ear, in depth knowledge of University regulations and rules, and signpost you to services both in the University and wider city. Outside of casework, my job is to help students to achieve change that will improve student experience and wellbeing. This might involve me leading a campaign, but equally it could mean training and supporting MCR Officers or other volunteers in their own efforts. To help me achieve change, I sit on a range of committees within the collegiate university, allowing me to bring student issues directly to the people who can make the important decisions. Like Richard, the GU President, I am a sabbatical officer within the Graduate Union. This means that I am elected by students to work for the union and follow the direction of our democratic structures. Unlike the GU President, the Welfare and Rights Officer role is shared between the Graduate Union and CUSU which is the other students’ union at the University. The job is split between the two unions and the Student Advice Service, with casework and oversight of the Service taking up the biggest chunk of my time. Remember, the Welfare and Rights Officer is elected in Lent Term and begins their sabbatical year in July. If you are interested in running, look out for further details and get in contact with any questions you may have.


GU Handbook 2013-14

Major Campaigns Students Deserve Better The Students Deserve Better Campaign was started last year with the aim of improving the provision of pastoral support to all students. Having surveyed the student body, we have been able to gain valuable insights into real student experiences of college tutorial systems, their strengths and their weaknesses. This year we hope to work with the colleges to address some of these concerns and ensure that students get the best possible support from their college.

Student Carers A carer is someone who provides unpaid support to someone who could not manage without this help. While many in such a role would not think of themselves as a carer, it is estimated that up to 6.5 million people in the UK act as a carer for a friend or relative and a significant number of these will be students. Student carers receive almost no financial support from the government and their needs are not well understood by the University. This year we hope to work with student carers to better understand their needs and improve the support available to them at a local and national level.

Supervisor Feedback While most research students enjoy a productive relationship with their supervisor, experience at the GU and the Student Advice Service has shown us that these relationships can break down. This year we hope to highlight this to the University and work with them to develop simple strategies to address the issues at the heart of such breakdowns. We will be consulting with research students to ensure that any solution accounts for the widest possible range of student experience.

Student Profiles - Rajiv Chowdhury Gates Cambridge Scholar Rajiv Chowdhury was the first winner of the Bill Gates Senior Prize in recognition of his outstanding work in public health.

Rajiv Chowdhury

Nominated by his fellow Scholars, he was recognised for his publication of 15 high-impact papers since he started his PhD at Cambridge and his election as a Fellow of the UK Royal Society for Public Health. Several of his papers have attracted worldwide media attention. The first Gates Cambridge Scholar from Bangladesh, Rajiv has also developed the first ever academic module on global health and set up a pioneering cardiovascular research study among South-Asians, which is now one of the largest casecontrolled studies of heart attacks in the region. Rajiv has been involved in a number of other successful grant applications, including a joint British Heart Foundation and UK Medical Research Council programme, helping to attract ten million pounds to support cutting-edge vascular research.

His PhD in Public Health and Primary Care focuses on various lifestyle, behavioural and genetic risk factors of cardiovascular disease in South Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan, based on collaborative primary studies between Cambridge and local leading cardiovascular facilities. He says comprehensive evidence expected from this work should make a significant contribution to scientific understanding, to the development of locally appropriate strategies to prevent and control the disease, and to the efficient use of scarce resources for vascular prevention in low-income countries.


GU Handbook 2013-14

Student Advice Service The Student Advice Service offers free, confidential and independent support to all Cambridge University students. If you feel you have been discriminated against, treated unfairly, or would like to discuss something that is bothering you, you are welcome to contact us whether it’s the first time you have a question or as a last resort. You can come to the Service with any problem or issue you might experience as a student, from questions or concerns about your rights, education, to relationship problems and mental health issues. We will discuss your concerns with you, explore options, and, if needed, represent you on a college or University level. The Student Advice Service is made up of two professional Student Advisors, and three Sabbatical Officers (Welfare & Rights, Education, and Womens’). We all have specialist knowledge of University procedures, rules and regulations. Advice officers are trained in providing support and representation, and the service is a member of Advice UK.

Finding Us The Student Advice Service is based in two locations; one at the Graduate Union, off Mill Lane, and the other at CUSU on the New Museums Site. The hours of the service are from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday.

Accessibility Both CUSU and the Graduate Union are accessible to disabled students. There is a lift providing level access, and we can meet you there and show you how it works. Please let us know if you have any additional requirements such as use of the induction loop or materials in large print as this will allow us to ensure that these are in place for your visit.

Who We Are Lisa Dery

Student Advisor/ Advice Service Manager

t: 01223 746999

Rachel Wilson Student Advisor

t: 01223 746999



Lauren Steele

Jia Hui Lee

t: 01223 761694

t: 01223 761693

Women’s Officer e:

Education Officer e:

Helen Hoogewerf-McComb Welfare and Rights Officer

t: 01223 746900



GU Handbook 2013-14

Support In your college Tutor In your college, you will be assigned a Graduate Tutor who will be responsible for providing you with non-academic pastoral support (e.g. finance, accommodation, family or medical issues). The tutorial system varies from college to college but you can always approach any other tutor or the Senior Tutor within your college, in addition to or instead of your assigned tutor.

College Nurse Most colleges have a nurse or access to a nurse who you can visit at advertised hours during full term. You can go to your college nurse about any medical or personal problem confidentially, and it may be good to inform your nurse of any pre-existing medical problems (such as asthma or depression) when you arrive. Your college nurse will also be able to direct you to other sources of support, help you join a GP or find a dentist.

College Chaplain/Dean/Advisor A Chaplain, Dean or Advisor is available at every college. The chaplain offers pastoral and spiritual support, a listening ear and guidance for all students on any issue, regardless of your religious affiliation or belief/non-belief.

College Welfare Officer Each college MCR has a Welfare Officer who provides a listening ear and will be able to signpost you to different sources of support. Your MCR may also include positions such as Womens’, LGBT+ or Equality and Diversity Officers who may be able to offer additional welfare support.

Around the University University Counselling Service The University Counselling Service provides free, confidential and professional counselling to all students. Counsellors are friendly, non-judgemental and very experienced in issues pertaining to student life at Cambridge. To make an appointment, simply fill in a form on their website and they will get back to you with a time that fits into your timetable. In addition to individual counselling, the Counselling Service also offers a range of group courses and workshops on a range of issues from ‘Writing Up Your PhD’ to ‘Healthy Self Esteem’ and ‘Overcoming Worry’.

Disability Resource Centre The DRC provides information and advice on disability issues, study skills tuition, assessment for dyslexia, guidance on assessments for disabilities, assistance with funding applications, the loan of specialist equipment, human support (eg note-taker or mentor) and liaison with your college and department. It also administers several bursaries and publishes an online guide containing practical access information to most University buildings. 8

GU Handbook 2013-14

Meet the... Executive Committee In addition to the two sabbatical officers, one of the major parts of the Graduate Union is the Executive Committee of volunteers who take time away from their studies in order to serve the graduate community in Cambridge. This Committee’s term of office will expire in November 2013, and more information about elections will be announced shortly. If you are interested in standing for a position, email for further information. Here are profiles for just some of the current committee

cers Graduate Union International Offi Deniz Vatansever & Girija Godbole

On behalf of the GU, we would like to welcome all new international graduate students to the University of Cambridge. In addition to providing academic and social advice to ensure an experience of a lifetime, one of our main roles is to campaign for the issues raised by the international graduate students at the Graduate Union Executive Committee and the Graduate Union Council. Cambridge has a vibrant global community and a well-integrated support system to address the issues concerning its international members. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns, comments or suggestions. A range of international student activities organized for the Fresher’s Week and the rest of the academic year will be advertised on the GU website: For further support, the cultural societies, Student Advice Service (SAS), and the international student representatives on your college MCRs also act as essential resources. The following topics cover essential information to help you settle in Cambridge.

Student Profiles - Stella Nordhagen Stella Nordhagen’s PhD looks at how farmers’ crop choices relate to the incidence of environmental shocks such as droughts. Most of her research was done in Papua New Guinea studying how farmers mitigate the potential risks of climate episodes by harvesting a greater diversity of crops, including more genetically complex crops which might be able to adapt better to climate change.

Stella Nordhagen

Stella’s PhD builds on her MPhil in environmental economics. Both were funded through a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Her masters focused on farmers’ decisions around seed choice in developing countries. Her undergraduate degree at Middlebury College, a US liberal arts college, was in economics. She was an environmental activist at college, becoming involved in the College Democrats due in part to Al Gore’s focus on saving endangered species. After graduating, she won a fellowship at Harvard to do global health research.

Following her first year at Harvard, her research group was given a generous Gates Foundation grant to set up the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluations in Seattle. She did fieldwork in Tanzania, working with local women on verbal autopsy surveys in rural communities. The experience convinced her she wanted to work on development issues. At Cambridge she has been vice president of the Gates Cambridge Scholars Council and alumni officer. She is currently on the Global Scholarship Symposium committee. She has also found time to run marathons and be a member of her college’s MCR committee.


GU Handbook 2013-14

English Language Support The University Language Centre offers intensive English courses for academic purposes (EAP) prior to and during the course of the academic year. For pricing and further information please visit:

Weather British weather is notorious for being cold and cloudy except for the beginning of the Michaelmas term. Bear in mind that the winter is often snowy, and it does rain throughout the year, so an umbrella, windproof jacket and warm clothes are usually good investments.

Clothing Formal wear is required for matriculation photos and particular dinners. For men, a dark suit with shirt and tie, and for women a dress or blouse with skirt or trousers are appropriate. Occasionally a gown and black tie attire may be required which can be hired or purchased from a number of shops, GU or your college MCR. Please visit and for more information on purchasing academic attire, household items and computer peripherals.

Health A number of practices offer medical services. Upon your arrival, you will need to register with a GP who will be your first point of contact in a non-emergency medical condition. In addition, you can utilise the services offered by your college health centres and the two sexual health clinics in Cambridge. The prescriptions can be purchased at major drug stores.

Travel The main mode of transportation in Cambridge is cycling. Colleges and a number of bike shops offer new and second-hand bikes for sale or auction. Trains and coaches operate to/from Cambridge (discount cards available for purchase) providing a good link with London and the rest of the UK. If you are planning on travelling to Europe during your stay at Cambridge, do not forget to double check your immigration status and the Schengen visa requirements.

Food In addition to the high street supermarkets, various local stores on Mill Road sell products from all over the world, including Halal and Kosher food. If you have any dietary requirements or allergies please inform your college in order for them to prepare the formal and hall dinners accordingly.

Banks Opening a bank account as soon as possible is crucial as the arrival of the card and the PIN can take a few days. Banks offer different benefits to students, so it is important to find the one that suits your needs. The necessary documentation for an account application can be picked up from your college.

Telephone and Internet Services For calling in the UK, a ’Pay As You Go’ SIM-card (suitable for most mobile phones) is usually the choice of communication for international students. Top-ups (or credits) can be purchased at most convenience stores. International calls can either be made through pre-paid phone cards or internet services such as Skype. Free Eduroam and Lapwing Wi-Fi internet access is available in most university departments, colleges and residential halls.


GU Handbook 2013-14

iCUSU As an international student, you automatically become a member of the International Cambridge University Student’s Union (iCUSU), an autonomous campaign that is affiliated with CUSU. iCUSU is there to provide support from students for students, and has an exciting Fresher’s Week events timetable open to both undergraduates and graduates. See their website for more details:

International Students Team 17 Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RX

t: 01223 761806


w: The International Students Team offers guidance to students who have been accepted to Cambridge or who are currently in residence, as well as providing inductions and orientation information for new students. It is well worth dipping into their ‘A-Z for international students’ at:

International Student Arrival Check-List • • • • • • •

If interested, register for an English language course Open up a bank account Register with the police (depending on the type of your visa) Purchase SIM-card and/or mobile phone for UK calls. Purchase or hire a gown for matriculation photos and formal dinners Register with a GP Purchase a bike

Student Profiles - Eduardo Machicado Murillo Eduardo Machicado Murillo hopes his research will help reveal the unknown history of the present indigenous communities of the Amazon and have a positive impact on the development of policies relating to heritage and forest management. Eduardo Machicado Murillo

Having done his MPhil in Archaeological Research in the unexplored Llanos de Moxos of eastern Bolivia at Cambridge, he received a Gates Cambridge Scholarship for his PhD which focuses on drained field agriculture in the region and its relationship to the development of early complex societies in tropical environments.

Recent research in the area suggests that climate change in the past may have played an important role in how the area has developed. He says he is convinced that, although environmental changes are important, other factors may be involved. For instance, although people think the Amazon is populated by small hunting and fishing communities, this is a relatively recent development. In the past big agricultural communities lived there. Eduardo, who did his undergraduate degree at the free Universidad Mayor de San Andres in Bolivia, got involved in field archaeology at the age of 20, first working as a technician for the German Institute of Archaeology and later doing research for the University of California, Berkeley, on the transformation of pre-Columbian funeral practices in Lake Titikaka. He is also hoping to give something back to the people of La Paz where he grew up and has been working on turning his grandfather’s collection of 30,000 books and 7,000 classical music records into a public library.


GU Handbook 2013-14

Student Profiles - Guljakhon Amanova Hi! My name is Guljakhon Amanova (Uzbekistan), I am one of the lucky scholars of the Cambridge Overseas Trust and the Open Society Foundations. I am a second year PhD candidate of the Faculty of Law, writing a thesis concerning the work of the UN Human Rights Committee with regard to five former Soviet Union States in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The study explores the impact of the Committee’s procedures on Central Asia, the challenges that the Committee has encountered and the opportunities that there may be to improve both national and international human rights protection mechanism in the region. As a part of the research I attended the 107th session of the Committee, which was held from 11 to 28 March 2013, Geneva, Switzerland, Guljakhon & Sofiya and at the end I created my personal blog UN Human Rights Committee and Central Asia (, where I am going to reflect another part of my research activities, which is field research in Central Asia. I am exciting to have such a great opportunity to study at Cambridge, and I hope that the result of the study will be something more than just one more theses, but it will be something interesting, useful and helpful for both understanding of the region by the international community and improvement of human rights in Central Asia.

Hello Student! I am Sofiya, I am 2 year old, but I am already a member of the University Graduate Union! How come? Families of graduates are affiliated members of the Graduate Union, so we are very much made to feel a part of University life. I came to Cambridge with my mom. She is a lawyer, doing here…hmm… she calls it ‘Phd’ (whatever it means). We are from Tashkent, Uzbekistan. You know, it is so far from Cambridge, and it is much warmer… Sometimes I miss our home there, but to be honest, now I like Cambridge a lot. There are a lot of parks with a place for children, where you can find different swings and play with other children. The University itself has so much more to offer to students’ kids than just fun. There is a full-time Childcare Office located at 25 Trumpington Street which helps, assists and guides the student parents on all aspects Sofiya of child care. In addition, the University offers many bursaries to help with the costs of childcare. A couple of colleges run nurseries for working parents, so parents don’t have to worry where to leave young kids like me when they go to work or study. Besides, the Graduate Union has a Families Officer specifically to organise events for us and generally to help out students with families. So, if you want to learn more about other GU activities for children and family, or to talk about other issues which you can face in Cambridge being not only a student but also a parent, do not hesitate to ask me and I will ask my mommy. I am joking! You can easily reach the Graduate Union Family Officer through her email: I would recommend all kids of my age to accompany their parents if they plan to study at Cambridge. I assure you there is so much to do that you won’t ever get bored! I am looking forward to meeting new friends here!

GU Families Padmini Ashok

Congratulations on choosing to bring your family to Cambridge! The GU Families Office is here to ensure that you and your family feel welcome and at home in Cambridge. You will not find yourself lonely, as number of graduate students from various nationalities live in Cambridge with their families. Apparently, each year, around one-fifth of Cambridge’s five thousand graduate students are accompanied by their families. We understand that being a student-parent can be hard. Any concerns you may have as a student-parent are dealt by the elected Families Officer who sits on the GU Board and all relevant committees. We are available to offer advice and, if need be, will pass on concerns to the appropriate authorities.


GU Handbook 2013-14

Your family is part of the GU. The Graduate Union hosts a weekly coffee morning for student parents, every Friday between 10.30 and 12.30 at the University Centre. Refreshments and toys are provided by the GU and are free for members. There are assigned group leaders present at these coffee mornings who are friendly and welcoming. A large number of student parents turn up to these events, and it is a great way to meet new people. While your kids play, you can enjoy a cup of coffee and have a chat. The GU also organizes various events for families from time to time. We circulate the information through the mailing list as well as the facebook page. There is a mailing list ( which you can sign up for at the Friday Coffee Mornings or by sending an email to There is a facebook group which serves as an online forum for student families of the University of Cambridge, so please do consider joining the group. There is also a Stay and Play every Wednesday from 10.00 -12.30 at the West Cambridge Community Room, organized by the University of Cambridge, Childcare Office. At the University level, the Childcare Office provides information on various aspects of childcare. It contains information on University and College provision for student parents, advice on childcare for pre-school children (0–5 years) and school age children (4+ years), help with finding appropriate accommodation and health care as well as suggestions for places to visit and activities for children in the area. The guide is not exhaustive, but the information is useful as a basic guide to the facilities, services and help available for parents in the city and within the University. You can contact them regarding advice about the central University grants available to help meet the costs of childcare. The Childcare office also sends out a Student Parent Newsletter. You can subscribe to the newsletter by emailing The University Admissions Office has also put together some information about bringing your family along.

Families Contacts The Graduate Union Families Office e:

The University Childcare Office 25 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1QA

t: 01223 332249



GU Handbook 2013-14

GU Treasurer

Hi, I’m Charles!

Charles Read

I’ve been serving as on the GU committee as Treasurer since spring 2013. I’m studying for my PhD in Economic History at Christ’s College. To make sure I keep myself busy, I also lecture for the Economics Faculty and teach at Peterhouse, and I would warmly encourage any PhD student who fancies teaching to try it, its great experience for the CV if nothing else!

About the role The role of the GU Treasurer is to look after the financial and operational affairs of the union, and to draw up each year’s budget as well as making sure the GU spends its money in the most efficient way possible. This year the GU is cutting back on its “back office” costs severely in order to redeploy funds to services to students that make a difference- from the events run by our families officer to the socials the GU is planning this year. If you have a question about the GU or its finances feel free to get in contact with me at

GU Welfare Officer Hi, I’m Filmon! GU Welfare Officer I’m studying for my PhD in Bioinformatics at Darwin College. I am ‘responsible for all events, campaigns and projects that promote and protects the interests of all GU members with regard to welfare’. Currently, I’m campaigning in conjunction with the Disability Resource Centre (DRC) aimed at providing accessible accommodation for disabled graduate students. At the GU we also organize events and workshops to tackle isolation and loneliness. For example we show Free Film Nights, with free popcorn and drinks.

About the role As a Welfare Officer I can: • Offer a listening ear, and signpost anyone affected by personal or academic problems to the appropriate service including Student Advice Service and the Disability Resource Centre. • Provide practical support for any GU member; • In association with the Welfare and Rights Officer and the Student Advice Service organize events and workshops to promote the wellbeing of all GU members (e.g. managing your supervisor, stress, exercise, sports events, social events). • Signpost students to areas of specialist advice, information and support.


GU Handbook 2013-14

rs Academic Affairs Office

Charlie Barlow

Hi, I’m Charlie!

Hi, I’m Karthik!

I’m a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography and a member of Trinity College.

a third year Ph.D. student in the Department of Engineering and a member of St. John’s College. Karthik Depru Mohan

Together, we are the Academic Affairs Officers for the Graduate Union Executive Committee and hope that over the upcoming academic year we can continue to strengthen existing academic-related initiatives for postgraduate students at Cambridge as well as introduce a number of new initiatives. Each term, we will maintain close contact will all Faculty Representatives across the University by hosting a termly Faculty Representatives Forum, and increase visibility and awareness of the Graduate Union within the departments and faculties through outreach efforts with the Faculty Representatives. Additionally, we hope to gauge feedback from the Forums and the Academic Affairs Committee and strive to deliver new ideas from postgraduate students for new speaker series, workshops, and seminars over the course of the next academic year. We also intend to consider all feedback from the recent Postgraduate Research Experience Survey to help create a new way forward for the Graduate Union. On a larger scale, we seek to re-establish and develop links with the National Union of Students (NUS) Postgraduate Campaign to better integrate Cambridge postgraduates with the student experience across the United Kingdom. During the upcoming academic year, we expect to organise a series of events and initiatives open to postgraduates at Cambridge, including: • The Annual Graduate Union Nobel Laureate Lecture; • Overseeing the call for papers and increasing participation and attendance at the Graduate Union Speaker Series which will give postgraduates an opportunity to showcase their research to others at Cambridge; • A University-wide Plagiarism Awareness Campaign; • Workshops on Transferable Skills in collaboration with the Board of Graduate Studies and the Researcher Development Programme; • Events and initiatives relevant to postgraduate students who supervise Cambridge undergraduates; • Initiatives relevant to postgraduate students seeking to pursue research careers, both in and out of academia, through a collaboration with the University Careers Service; and, • Establishing stronger linkages and new initiatives via other University resources, for example the Social Science Research Methods Centre. We would love to hear your own ideas for academic-related events at Cambridge, and encourage all postgraduate students to reach out with any questions or concerns about what we do at the Graduate Union – so please reach out!


GU Handbook 2013-14

Women’s Officer Laura Huckins The Women’s Officer is responsible for ensuring that the GU supports women students and liasing with the CUSU Women’s Campaign in order to ensure they provide adequate support for graduate women.

The Women’s Campaign The Women’s Campaign is a dynamic force for change in the University through their campaigns, resources and support that they provide and the voice they give to the women of this University. The Women’s Campaign speaks out against individual and institutional practices which negatively affect women. It is the student voice for gender equality in the University, so we engage with students through events and campaigns, and work within the University to push for practices which proactively embrace diversity. Campaigns have been run on topics such as: sexual consent, zero tolerance to sexual harassment, No to Page 3 Campaign, stop violence against women, the gender attainment gap and the pay gap as well as organising the hugely successful annual Cambridge Reclaim the Night demo. Through speaking out in University committees and organising protests trainings and public events the Women’s Campaign ensures that anti-sexism is a top priority.

Priority Campaigns this year: Sexual Consent Domestic Violence The Living Wage Women in Academia This year both Laura and Lauren, the CUSU Women’s Officer, will be working together with other Graduate Women’s representatives to improving the focus on campaigns to improving Graduate Women’s experience at Cambridge. Campaigns which are currently being worked on are; Student Parents, Zero Tolerance to Sexual Harassment and Women in Academia. The Women’s Campaign relies on the ideas and energy of its members so please get in touch and help make the Women’s Campaign even better! Email us at: or check our facebook for updates:


GU Handbook 2013-14

Three Pillars of... the Graduate Union GU Council The Council is one of the main democratic forums of the Graduate Union, as it is for all students’ unions. It represents the chance for all College MCRs to send a representative (usually the MCR President, Vice-President, or External Officer) to receive reports from the Officers of the GU, and also raise any concerns they have. These MCR delegates are voting members, as are the Graduate Faculty Representatives, but all members of the GU are welcome to attend and ask questions. As a minimum there will be four meetings of Council each year, but it is likely that there may be more.

GU Trustee Board The GU Trustee Board is a new development during the last year, growing out of the Union’s evolution from being a student society into being an independent charity. When complete, the Board will comprise of the President and Welfare and Rights Officer as the two sabbatical trustees; two student trustees drawn from the GU’s membership; two external trustees; and one alumnus trustee – someone who must have graduated from Cambridge at least one full year prior to joining the Board. These Trustees will have all legal powers and obligations just like the trustees of any charity. In a member-led charity like a students’ union, with elected sabbatical officers; an elected committee; and a democratic Council, the hope is that all of these components of the GU’s governance will be able to work together constructively in advancing our charitable objects. All places on the Board of Trustees are voted on by GU Council, after candidates have been short-listed by the Executive Committee. Anybody interested in running for one of these positions should email:

GU Constitution The Graduate Union is almost in a position to adopt a new constitution! This process started in 2011-12, and after much discussion within the GU teams from the last two years, with the University and with lawyers, a new Constitution and new Schedules will be proposed during Michaelmas 2013. These will serve as the governing document for our charity, and are intended to be as democratic as possible. A referendum on the new Constitution will be held about halfway through term, and this will be an excellent opportunity for all members of the GU to get involved in our democratic structures, and to send a signal to the University that our new governing documents carry the support of our membership. Watch out for emails about this during term!


GU Handbook 2013-14

Some Useful Links One of the draws of Cambridge is that it offers a world of opportunity. There is also a whole raft of support provision and networks. Some of the main links are listed below, but there are many others. If you would like to discuss any of these issues in greater detail – or look for signposts to any other form of support – all graduate students have the option of talking to the Student Advice Service.

Academic University Student Gateway University Guidance on Good Academic Practice Code of Practice for Graduate Research Degrees Cambridge Colleges – a guide for graduate students Researcher Development Programme – training and development for Cambridge researchers, including the management of research projects and management of research time. Much of this provision is available to all research students and postdoctoral researchers in Cambridge, but there is also specific courses for PhD students (including those at particular stages of their PhD), and also specifically for postdocs.

Listening and Support Linkline – an anonymous and confidential listening and support service run by students, for students, every night during full term. University Counselling Service – provides professional, free, and confidential counselling to all Cambridge students. Counsellors are friendly, non-judgmental and very experienced in issues facing students in Cambridge. The Service also runs group sessions on topics such as ‘Overcoming Worry’ and ‘Writing up your PhD’. Samaritans – source of confidential emotional support to people facing difficulty.


GU Handbook 2013-14

Legal Advice Citinzen’s Advice Bureau

Sexual Health The Laurels – confidential sexual health checks. CUSU support

Health Addenbrooke’s - the local hospital for Cambridge is Addenbroke’s Hospital, with an Accident and Emergency department open 24 hours a day. University Dental Service University Sport Department

Support for Disabled Students Disability Resource Centre (DRC) – information and advice on issues such as study skills, disability issues, assistance with funding applications, and liaison with colleges and departments. Disabled Students’ Campaign – exists to support and advance the interests of students through advocacy, campaigning, and the sharing of information.

Student Profiles - Adriana Laura Massidda Adriana Laura Massidda is currently a PhD student at the Department of Architecture, and a student of King’s College, receiving support from the Cambridge Trust.

Adriana Laura Massidda

Her research focuses on the history of urban informality in Buenos Aires and the interaction between the shantytowns and the State. In particular, in her PhD thesis, Adriana is seeking to understand the way in which both grassroots and State initiatives transformed a specific area of Buenos Aires – the South-West – during the 1958-1974 period. Three key aspects are intertwined in such years: the emergence of the first shantytown organisations, which represented local neighbourhood committees either at the city- or the nation-wide level, the repetition of State programmes of slum eviction, and the raising interest of architects, and professionals generally, in such issues. Urban poverty, meanwhile, grew, and continues increasing until the present day.

Adriana’s PhD stems from the interest in exploring key, unrevised issues to improve the urban environment of Third World cities. Urban poverty emerges as one of the most pressing problems, intertwined in the case of shantytowns with other urgent matters such as stigmatisation, isolation, pollution or violence. The 1958-1974 period has been rich in urban transformations and struggles in Buenos Aires, yet it remains notably unrevised. More importantly, the legacy left by these struggles is key for current interventions. With this in mind, the PhD thesis proposes a critical analysis of the history of Buenos Aires shantytowns to read crucial problems of the time under a new light, informing future action.


Cambridge university Graduate Union Handbook 2013-14  
Cambridge university Graduate Union Handbook 2013-14