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niVerse Volume 22, Issue 9


25th March 2014

Sponsored by


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Kat Morgan

were being updated as soon as the announcements were made.

Friday 7th March saw the results of Hertfordshire Students’ Union elections being announced after two weeks of busy campaigning from all the candidates. EleHouse hosted the election results with President Michael Gillett announcing who had been successful. Those who were unable to make it to EleHouse were able to listen to a podcast online and social media sites

First positions announced were the Part-Time roles. This saw Abaid-Uh Rehman being elected as Independent Chair of Student Ideas Forum and Oluwaseyi Akanbi, of Students’ Choice elected as Deputy Chair. The position of Postgraduate Students’ Officer was awarded to Mahmudul Hasan of Student’s Choice.

Deputy Print Editor

Local & World

News 2014/15 Elected announced P. 2

Touseef Javaid gained the place


of Part-Time Students’ Officer as part of UNITED WE STAND. The positions of Mature Student’s Officer and de Havilland Campus Officer both went to members from Team Flame; Chelsea Anderson and Grainne O Monghain. The role of International Students’ Officer went to Umer Liaqat of UNITED WE STAND and Student Trustee went to Brad Johnson of Team Roar. Members of Team ROAR also won the places of Vice President


Communications and Media, which went to Shannen Rock, Vice President Student Activities, which went to Bella Colafrancesco, Vice President Democracy and Services, awarded to Jack Amos and the role of President, which went to Gurpreet Singh. Rana Farooq, of Team Ace, was awarded Vice President Education and Welfare. Studying the voter demographics shows that it was the School of Engineering and Technology which had the highest


Welwyn Garden City murder

Coffee House Sessions

National Month

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percentage of voters at 6.8%. The second highest School which voted was Humanities at 5.7%. The statistics also highlight that the highest number of votes counted were for the position of Vice President Education and Welfare. We wish the successful candidates all the best in their roles for the next academic year and see the Students’ Union go from strength to strength.

Sport Rugby girls through to Cup Final P. 19


2 RaG Week raises £1000 for charities Brad Johnson Contributor

Between Sunday 16th March and Sunday 23rd March, Semester B RaG Week took place which saw RaG taking over the Students’ Union. Raise and Give (RaG) is the Student’s Unions’ fundraising body which raises money for some fantastic charities, both locally and nationally. Kicking off the week was the St. Patrick’s Day Quiz on Sunday 16th March. Over £100 was raised from this event, and all proceeds went to Childreach International. Childreach International is a development charity that unlocks the potential of some the world’s most marginalised children. Students from Hertfordshire are fundraising for Childreach and are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in the summer and you can find out more about this charity on page 16. On Monday 17th March, the Students’ Union went to the

Hertfordshire County Hall to take part in ‘Tapestry of Touch’ in conjunction with one of RaG’s charities, Sense. Sense is a national charity that supports and campaigns for for children and adults who deafblind; they have also come onto campus to play blind tennis, so look out for that again in the future! On Tuesday 18th March between 11am and 2pm, the East African Playgrounds team sold Krispy Kreme donuts to raise money for the African charity. £174 was raised, which will help towards this great cause and the student led project’s continuted fundraising efforts. A large number of students will also be going out to Uganda to see the charity’s efforts first hand. Wednesday 19th March saw RaG host a fabulous Take Me Out night at the EleHouse which gave single students the chance to find love! A fantastic £143.67 was raised for the MS Society, and the EleHouse was packed for the event, hosted by President Michael Gillett, who took up the name Michael

Editor Ani O’Neill Deputy Editors Kat Morgan Antonica Jones McGuiness




On Thursday 20th March, RaG welcomed to the team from the ABF Cycle Ride to the Forum. For just £1 to enter, students got the chance to see how long they could cycle for! Prizes were awarded to those who lasted the longest, with the main prizes going to Jason Haines, who maintained 22 minutes, and Jane Henn, who cycled for four minutes. Also on Thursday, a charity zumba

event organised by Business School students raised over £300! For more information about the ride, go to To close off RaG week, Sunday 23rd March saw another quiz night being held at the Elehouse; this time with a Sports Relief theme and hosted by Hertfordshire Business School. If you want to get involved in RaG, there are still loads of events going on; just email

House Leaderboard This term has seen many new events including a Headphone Disco and Rugby Touch Tournament, along with our regular Quiz Nights, Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo, Karaoke Nights and more! Have you been involved? Between now and May we will also be having Movie Marathon, a Paintball Tournament, and more events are being planned as we speak! At present, the House Leaderboard is as follows: HOUSE HORNET STAG HAWK TIGER LEOPARD FOX

Written, designed and edited by UH students, and provided by Hertfordshire Students’ Union

POINTS 37 36 34 26 26 15

To be kept up to date with upcoming events and activities find your House on Facebook by searching ‘Herts SU’ and then your House name (e.g. “Herts SU Fox House” or “Herts SU Tiger House”) To see the events guide and updated league table visit

Copy Editor Sean Howlett Contributors Taveena Atsu Gage Holding Lucette Level Mohammed Afkhami Priyanka Chavda Alex Knight Brad Johnson Hannah Bicknall Noor Khan Charlotte Green Emma Langschied Alex Best Tavia Cheaw Alexandra Moore Roz Ringe Tegan McCann Jack Amos With thanks to Amy Washington Safwa M. Tahir Tegan McCann Mr Grumpy

Contact Us Shannen Rock VP Comms & Media Hertfordshire Students’ Union College Lane Hatfield Herts, AL10 9AB

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News 3

Journalism vs PR: time to redraw the battle lines Taveena Atsu Contributor Will Sturgeon, Public Relations consultant, director of media strategy at Golin Harris and former writer for The Sunday Times came to UH last week to give an insightful talk on the (now thin) line between journalism and PR, and how the two heavily rely on each other.

apart these types of relationships. He says that there is a lot which erodes respect that people have for the PR industry. It is also important that ‘if a PR person and a journalist are to have a good relationship, they

often take liberties nowadays and there was a healthier relationship between the two 20 years ago. The need for papers to boost sales in a quick and easy manner

Will has a high profile blog and twitter feed (@TheMediaBlog) and has spent 10 years in journalism and seven in PR. He has the insight to talk about both. is good quality research and good quality journalism being carried out, take the work presented by news, for example by Channel 4 and the BBC channels, for example.

Will spoke about his switch over from journalism in to PR. This has been described as ‘crossing in to the dark side’ because of the negative perceptions of PR. Will shared with us the essence of what he believes makes a good relationship: ‘trust, respect, shared interest, enjoyment and mutual benefit’. Will says that this is important because it’s what should be at the heart of PR and journalism.

both need to be getting something out of it’ but ‘the balance has become skewed for either or both’.

has led to low quality journalism. Research and thought has become diminished, according to Will.

Even so, he thinks that there are still prime examples of the way that journalists churn out articles for the sake of the demand for high volume. Will tells us that high content is wanted and the PR industry sees this as an opportunity so consequently the quality of articles has suffered.

However, there are issues which tear

It was said that the PR industry

However, he still believes that there





due to ‘falling print sales’ and ‘fewer journalists’ which has led to changing priorities, with name dropping often being prioritised over what Will considers to be ‘quality journalism’. Journalists need more content, and the PR industry needs people to release content on their clients. The relationship between the PR industry and journalists has ultimately become a game of who needs who.

Crush Radio back on your airwaves! Leading volcanologist gives climate change talk at UH Gage Holding Station Manager

After a few long months of building works Crush Radio and Crush Underground are back! We’ve moved from our old studios above the EleHouse into our shiny new ones above the Elected Officers’ Office in the new Hutton Hall Students’ Union! Crush Radio is the student-led radio station here at the University; broadcasting (very soon!) on 1278AM in the local area, and online at

We are not a pirate radio station but we used to be, as the first unofficial student radio station in the country!

Lucie Level

Tune in for a chance to win free goodies and to hear fellow students presenting the latest in the UK Top 40 and other great songs that they love, along with the latest in what’s going on at the university!

Emeritus Professor Bill McGuire from University College London, one of Britain’s leading volcanologists, came to the University of Hertfordshire to talk about climate change on 18th March. The talk was based on his book Waking the Giant: How a changing climate triggers earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, published about a year ago.

If that’s not your cup of tea (or pint of ale) then tune in to Crush Underground, our alternative student station. Here you can hear anything from Country and Western to Rock and Metal at any time of the day! Crush Underground is only available online at and our presenters have a lot more freedom to do whatever they want, including songs with expletives on the radio! If you have any queries then feel free to email me at Gage.Holding@ or find me in the EleHouse for a drink sometime!


His theory is based on the fact that 20,000 years ago the earth was a vast ice block, expanding from Greenland towards Canada, Northern Europe and Northern Siberia. These ice sheets of about two to three kilometres melted since then, resulting in colossal volumes of water being distributed around the globe. Because of the removal of this enormous weight of ice, earth crust bounced and bent, causing high volcanic activity,

earthquakes and landslides. One of the most famous results of this activity is the Storegga slide around 6000BC: three submarine slides in Northern Sea caused a huge tsunami in the North Atlantic Ocean, with waves as huge as 20m high hitting the Shetland Islands, Norway, Iceland and Scotland. In the past 150 years, climate has indeed been getting warmer faster than since the end of last ice age: McGuire argues that this climate change induced by human activities is “waking the giant” beneath our feet at our own risks. The world we would pass on to our children and grandchildren could indeed be up to 16 degrees hotter than it actually is now, causing devastating effect on the environment. The world would also not only become hotter, but “geologically fractious”: if ice in Greenland continues to melt, the same effect would apply, and the tension in the oceans would shift inland or to coasts, causing more earthquakes

and landslides, and less tsunamis. While being highly geologically oriented, and less human focused, this lesson from the past warns us and leads us to think about what should be done to improve the future of our world.



Student Ideas Forum reveals that only 13.8% of students voted in elections Alex Knight Contributor At the Student Ideas Forum on Tuesday 11th March, an large number of students turned out to have a look at what the Students’ Union are doing and planning. Though a few probably saw the promise of free pizza and thought that staying in the SU pub for a bit longer wasn’t a bad idea, the turnout was great. When the discussion was opened up to the floor at each opportunity, the contributions by societies and general students was much appreciated. So to start, we had a recap of the recent Students’ Union election results, showing that a total of 2,866 students voted in the elections, totalling 13.8% of the total student body. The further breakdown of the results is issued elsewhere, but overall the entire event was described as “excellent” by the current Students’ Union President Michael Gillett. After that, there was Amy Washington, VP Education and

Welfare’s report, and some of the projects mentioned were the language exchange, getting students to help international students with their English skills and attempts to create a multi faith space which are currently ongoing and more. One of the most interesting developments were that there are plans with a local credit union to create a payday scheme as an alternative to companies that lend small money payments with astonishingly high APR for students. Additionally, the most talked about future project was the potential to explore arrangements into creating a taxi scheme whereby students short of cash can leave behind their student card in return for a taxi receipt, to be retuned at a later date upon paying for said receipt. Certain problems were seen, such as to ensure that students could get into the Learning Resource Centre with minimal fuss if their card was unavailable, and methods used to prevent abuse by both parties. An informal vote was taken and the decision made to look into the idea, as it was felt that with more

concrete evidence behind it and most issues ironed out, it could be very beneficial to students. Next up was Bella Colafrancesco, VP Student Activities, who discussed various issues around student timetabling clashes, in addition to a party for varsity being officially confirmed, if at least at planning stages. Up after Student Activities was Gurpreet Singh, VP Democracy and Services, asking for opinions on marking and lateness across the university, in addition to letting everyone know about efforts to help Postgraduate students with careers and placement fairs. Also mentioned was the plans for a power cut on campus that is scheduled to occur after exams, and during the summer holidays. More details are to be announced when the cut is scheduled. Additionally, there were comments mentioned about the need to refurbish certain rooms on campus, with the knowledge that about £50,000 has been ring-fenced in order to update them. Additionally, if any disability access issues exist for any building currently on

either campus, please contact Michael Gillett, President, as soon as possible so this can be fixed. Shannen Rock, VP Communications and Media report was then presented, elaborating on the successful launch of Trident Media and its new website. This lead directly into the SU Overview, which stated that the feedback and assessment used by the university shall be reviewed and

then benchmarked against the standards that the NUS have set. If there are any questions, queries or comments, contact your student rep, or elected officers for the SU! Otherwise, the next Student Ideas Forum is the 31st of April at 5pm, come down yourself and bring up anything that is concerning you! The Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner will be in attendance and will answer questions.

Sikh Society holds commemorative talk on 1984 riots Mohammed Afkhami Contributor

On 5th March, the Sikh society held a commemorative talk on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The riots were a series of antiSikh pogroms unleashed on the Indian Sikh community in response to the assassination of the then prime minister of India by her Sikh bodyguards. The bodyguards themselves were acting in response to the army siege of the golden temple complex with anywhere from 492 to 5,000 innocent civilians killed. The destruction Sikhism’s holiest deep scar on the decade and very

wreaked on site left a Sikhs of that likely lead to

a swelling in the ranks of those that supported a separate state. The proceeding riots themselves are estimated to have killed up to 8000 Sikhs with 3000 killed and 50,000 displaced in Delhi alone. All this and various accounts of police collusions make this a very painful and alienating chapter in India-Sikh relations. The talk was given by researcher Juggy Bansal which ended in a question and answer session. A much deliberated topic was on how an earnest investigation could be carried out in today’s India which may finally allow for some measure of closure for those affected.

Local & World 5 Childcare subsidiary for working parents MH370: the mystery that’s baffling the world Priyanka Chavda

be a huge help to millions of families across Britain.”

The government plans to give up to £2,000 per child to working families. As many as 1.9 million working families will be entitled to the benefits which plan to begin as soon as September 2015.

However, the Labour Party have said the assistance is too late. The parties have been making rival offers for families regrading the cost of childcare since 2010. Lucy Powell of the Labour Party said, “of course any childcare support is welcome but this government has done nothing in this Parliament to help parents experiencing a cost-of-living crisis.”

Local & World Sub Editor

Prime Minister David Cameron has said the plans will help families, and was backed up by Nick Clegg who has stated them to be ‘simple’. David Cameron said: “This is about helping all families, but particularly those families that do feel their finances are squeezed, I want to give families greater stability, greater peace of mind, greater security. And obviously being able to have £2,000 tax relief per child is going to

At the moment certain companies allow employees to reduce their childcare costs through a taxfree voucher scheme. However, only around 5% of families have signed up to the scheme. The new benefit scheme which will begin in 2015, is set

Father of one murdered in WGC Mohammed Afkhami

young child, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 52 year old man has been arrested for the stabbing of a 26 year old man on Sunday 17th March in Welwyn Garden City.

Witnesses and those with information have been urged to contact Detective Constable Donna Norris via the non-emergency number 101, citing crime reference B1/14/740.


Both men are residents of the town. A member of the public alerted the authorities, who arrived with paramedics to the scene just after 6.30pm. The victim, the father of a

You can also call Crimestoppers, the independent charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

to help twice as many families including parents who are self-employed.

Noor Khan

passengers who had been travelling with stolen passports until this theory was dismissed.

The new scheme will be phased over seven years. Once the scheme starts, parents will need to set up an online account which will allow them get a 20% rebate per child on the annual cost of childcare up to £10,000. As part of the scheme any parent working part-time and earning more than £50 a week, parents on maternity, paternity and adoption leave and those starting a business will qualify.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 disappeared when en route to Bejing around 1.30am on March 8th.

The theories and ideas as to what happened to the flight MH370 continue to confuse the world, with no evidence or any idea of where the plane might have gone.

Nick Clegg, said the scheme will help parents who both work, however critics have said this will not help those families where one parent stays at home to look after the children.


The disappearance of the flight brought together an international union of countries to search for the missing jet.

Its been two weeks since the disappearance of the plane, and family and friends of those onboard are beginning to lose hope.

Since the disappearance of the plane there have been many theories ranging from terrorist attacks to pirate takeovers, yet there has been no official news on what actually happened to the plane that carries 239 passengers and the crew members. The search has bought together over 25 countries. Recently, debris was found in the ocean, thought to be the remains of the plane. However, this was later found to be untrue. Another theory heavily played out by world wide media was the plane had been under a terrorist attack. The terrorists were thought to have been two

Crimea referendum boycotted by many Lucie Level Contributor

On Sunday 16th March, the referendum results of Crimea were published. Russia organised the poll in Crimea to ask Crimeans whether they preferred to integrate Russia or to become more autonomous; there was no option for those who wanted the current constitutional situation to remain unchanged. More than 96.6% of Crimeans voted in favour of integration to Russia, but many Crimeans in favour of Kiev have boycotted the referendum. The largest opponents groups to this integration are the Crimean Tatars, 12% of the population, and the Crimean Ukrainians ,25% of the population. The Tatar minority boycotted the vote and some Ukranians in favour of Kiev as well. Crimea is one of the poorest regions of Ukraine: the median wage is about £200. We could therefore wonder why does Russia want to annex such a poor region, where 85% of electricity and 82% of water is supplied by Ukraine. Actually, Crimea has only been part of Ukraine since 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev symbolically decided to attach Crimea to the Republic of Ukraine; it used to be a Russian province since 1917 when it gained

independance from the Russian Empire. Besides, Russian fleets have been set up in Sebastopol’s harbour on the Black Sea since 1997. Lastly, this Ukrainian region is dominated by ethnic Russians, who represent 60% of the population. The recent military campaign aimed to “protect them against the political events in Kiev”. The vote has only been recognised by Moscow and is seen as illegal by the European Union and the United States. The United States denounced the vote as contrary to Ukranian constitution and organised under the threat of violence. European Union representatives have started talks to restrict visas and freeze Russian assets. But it is questionable whether the United States and European Union will take further actions against Russia.

Barack Obama already has a heavy foreign policy and cannot welcome an extended fight in Crimea. Western countries protests echo Georgia’s invasion ones in 2008; once events calmed down, western countries did not try to bring the topic back onto any agenda. One can fear this event may follow a similar scheme. The referendum now requires a vote from Russia’s parliament to be approved, but the result of this referendum gives Russia enough to justify a territorial annexation. The loss of Crimea has almost been accepted as an obvious fact by Ukraine, but Kiev’s new concern is where Russia will stop.



Help us win £50,000 towards Summer Ball 2014 Brad Johnson Contributor

So who doesn’t want to win £50,000 towards their Summer Ball? YES, £50,000! MTV and Lucozade are offering one lucky university in the UK the chance to add £50k to their Summer Ball budget. This is an insane amount of money to be spent on this amazing event that happens just once a year here at Herts! Rizzle Kicks are an awesome headline act for this year’s Summer Ball, but just imagine whom the Students’ Union could get for £50,000. The thing is, Herts can’t just get this money, THEY NEED YOUR HELP! It’s so easy to

contribute in this competition. On every tweet you do: Put #YESPimpMySummerBall Herts at the end of it: SIMPLE! Currently (at time of writing), the University of Hertfordshire is in 7th place, not a bad achievement but it would be awesome to knock Teeside and Bournemouth off the top spot! It is time to get behind Herts and get this amazing prize for YOUR Summer Ball! To stand a chance, we need the support of as many students as possible! Get tweeting guys! For more information about this year’s Summer Ball, head to the Students’ Union website: her

University bursaries not attracting students from poorer backgrounds Hannah Bicknall Contributor It is a well-known fact amongst students that when applying for university there are additional means of acquiring money, apart from maintenance grants and loans, such as bursaries, scholarships and apprenticeships, which can help pay your way. According to the Government’s website, students in higher education can apply for money directly from their university or college on top of any other student finance, which students don’t have to pay back. These additional means are specifically there for students who come from a background where their parents earn less than £25,000 a year. However, the effect these have, bursaries in particular, has come into question due to the rising number of students from poorer backgrounds that are dropping out.

backgrounds does not appear to improve their chances of completing degree courses. It states that students from areas where young people are least likely to participate in higher education are less likely to continue their studies than those from areas of higher participation. It discussed that 89.1% of students from the most disadvantaged areas, who entered higher education in 2010-11, continued with their studies compared with 93.5% of students from the more privileged areas. With this said, in 2012, the National Union of Students (NUS) responded to the figures, forecasting that in the next few years there would be a reduction in spending on upfront bursaries and scholarships. NUS says that by 2015 there will be £83m less for bursaries, despite the fact that students have campaigned in favour of them over ‘fee waivers’ which lower the headline cost of fees.

The Office of Fair Access (OFFA) conducts annual reports to assess certain factors, such as the effect institutional bursaries are having.

Students have criticised fee waivers as benefitting the government by cutting the cost of tuition fees, rather than supporting the student with cash to help them with daily living costs.

Research suggests that offering bursaries to students from poorer

Toni Pierce, NUS president said: “rather than correct the

problems of cash not reaching those who need it most, the problem will get worse by 2015.”

the more likely they are to continue with their studies after they enter higher education.

There is also evidence that a student’s prior attainment is the most significant factor in predicting whether or not they will continue with their studies.

There are a lot of varying factors when the OFFA are testing what affects the dropout rates for poorer students.

in Scotland are already being cut next year; a news report was issued to state that cash bursaries for eligible students will be cut from £1,800 to just £500. However, the difference will be made up in the loan they are able to borrow.

However, the effect of their family’s income and bursary schemes are definitely major factors. Bursaries

Unfortunately further information on whether bursaries in England will be reduced is unknown.

Generally, the better a student’s A Level results or equivalent,

Features 7 Comment: a Muslim student’s thoughts on the hijab Noor Khan Contributor

There is seemingly endless amount of controversy surrounding the hijab, a head garment worn by Muslim women. I am a Muslim woman who chooses to wear the hijab, as a way to follow my faith and express my beliefs. It is an incredibly important part of my daily life. Whilst wanting to travel abroad especially to France I have to consider costs, items to take and all the usual business, but unlike other tourists I have to consider and research whether my hijab, my identity would be accepted. Also, more importantly, if my hijab will be breaking the law. So what is a Hijab? A hijab is a piece of fabric that covers your head that Muslim women wear to preserve their beauty. It is part of Islam that the followers of the religion, women and men dress modestly. Fariha, a young woman who chooses to wear the hijab talked about what the hijab meant to her and her religion: “The hijab is a way to preserve beauty from non-muhram, which means men outside of my family. It’s important to me because it’s modesty and part of my identity.” An article by The Huffington Post featured statistics on how Muslim women are abused more than Muslim men because of the way they are dressed. It is clear that the hijab and other Muslim clothing can be dangerous to Muslim women. As a result of Islamophobia “Muslim women are more likely to be targets for Islamophobia than men, with 80% targeted for wearing the hijab, a new study has found.” During a study carried out by The University of Birmingham it was discovered that 58% of the Islamophobia victims they spoke to were women. And out of those women victims of Islamophobia, 80% had worn religious clothing. Many young Muslim women who wear the hijab feel that it has become part of their identity and to lose the comfort and part of their faith would be cruel. Speaking to Amna, a university student who started wearing the hijab at a young age gave an insight into her understanding and

perspective of the hijab. Amna said how embracing the hijab “just felt natural”. She spoke about hijab affecting her daily life: “It seems so natural and normal to me”. She gave her view on the isolation that some people may think the hijab brings for Muslim women, but Amna disagrees: “I honestly don’t feel like there is a barrier at all.” Amna later spoke about how the ban that has been carried out in France would affect her. “I would feel angry. Liberty and freedom of it had been taken away from me, I would feel like an outsider.” Amna made it clear that this hijab ban would rip away her identity and said that “I would feel naked”. It is important that Amna’s story is heard. The hijab has become the centre point of controversy and it is now time for Muslim women who wear the hijab to speak out. On the other hand, Shanice who is a Muslim but chooses not to wear the hijab gave her views on the practice. Shanice claimed “I have a lot of Muslim friends and they chose to wear it themselves”. She felt that women were free and had the choice, “especially living in the UK”. Shanice later spoke about whether the hijab isolated women or if she saw hijabis differently to anyone else. “I respect them” said the young Muslim. “We’re all human beings, hijabis are human beings” She discussed how it came down to respecting each other as one human to the other. Shanice concluded with her future regarding the hijab. “I don’t think I will wear it, that’s just my choice, It’s not really for me.” Bilayath is a Muslim man who gave his interpretation on the idea of the hijab. Bilayath started with explaining that the “hijab means to cover”. He later gave his opinion of the niqaab which is a full face veil which only reveals the eyes. “The west talk about democracy but they talk about banning the niqaab.” He later added that removing the niqaab “for security reasons is understandable” but he felt strongly about how banning the niqaab is injustice to women who choose to wear it. He made his opinion clear: “I don’t think the hijab isolates women at all”. To close Bilayath asked a vital and an imperative question: “If women have the right to show

their body, surely they would have the right to cover it up?“ Lastly a perspective from the eyes of a non Muslim was given by Josh, a young British man who attends a multi-cultural university where he is around hijabis during his time at university. Josh spoke about his lack of understanding about the hijab. “I don’t know the meaning of it really. I understand it’s to do with religion but people nowadays don’t bother to really understand, they just judge it.” Josh strongly felt that a ban in any case would not solve the issue and the controversy around the religious wear, he believes that “banning the hijab is not the answer, making people understand why it is worn will fix the discrimination”. Josh finally concluded with how he would feel if a ban like the ban

in France’s was carried out in the UK, “I would be disappointed, I’m proud to say I come from a country that is multicultural and diverse, it would be a shame to persecute one culture and religion as it would just lead to more bans on other cultural clothing such as the cross.” Josh made it clear that he feels that wearing religious wear whether it is the hijab or a cross, is vital for a person’s identity. In a French newspaper, an article was written about the uneasiness and tension on the ban of the hijab. The ban in France has caused uneasiness among the Muslim people of France, it stops them from participating in daily activities. In the article it is shown how a citizen of France was not allowed to join her daughter on a school trip. The ban has been made law in France, and there is a growing fear

amongst the Muslim communities in the UK that this sort of law which takes away the right of thousands of women who choose to wear the hijab might be put in place. We would all like to believe that racism no longer exists – but this is not the case. There are large numbers of people who strongly feel that the best way to fight Islamophobia, racism and abuse is to educate. Education is a powerful tool, and the public need to understand that Muslim people living in the UK are human beings just like everyone else. I believe that, like Josh, understanding a religion or certain aspects of religion will solve the problems regarding racism and lack of understanding towards the hijab.



A pint-sized interview with the Pub Society pub

Ani O’Neill Print Editor

UniVerse met with Andrew Seaman of the Hertfordshire Students’ Union Pub Society to find out a bit about what they’ve been up to this year. UniVerse: Tell bit about the


a society

Andrew: We formed the society because we saw a lack of “pub culture” at the University. So we wanted to create a social group for people who prefer pubs to clubs. We currently have 12 members but we need 15! The more the merrier at a pub! Plus, with more members there’s more room to do bigger and better things (a trip to Belgium perhaps.) U: What do you do for socials? A: Every two weeks we go to a different pub - sometimes there’s

U: to


U: What do you still want to achieve?

What have you managed achieve as a society?

A: Next year we hope to have become more established at the University, and to gain more members as well as organise a trip to Europe for our members as well as attend more beer festivals around the country.




A: We were able to get a local brewery’s ale to be sold at the EleHouse because we wanted better real ale for our society members. We also have 177 likes on Facebook which is great too. U: join


should your

students society?

A: It’s something different than the average night out to the Forum or EleHouse. We aim to visit historical English pubs that are interesting and which give us the chance to socialise in a placid manner, and to enjoy the atmosphere around us. We recently visited a pub that is older than America! We want our members to enjoy pub culture in a stimulating, safe environment where we can make friends the old fashioned way. By talking over a pint!

U: What’s the being in the

best Pub

part of Society?

A: The best bit about being a part of the society has to be what we do best: going to pubs! We have a lot of fun. We’re planning to host our own beer festival at the University as well as an end of year pub in St. Albans. Other than that, we have many more pub visits and other beer festivals to attend around Hertfordshire. To find out more, visit us on Facebook at

Active Students funding to be stopped, but you can help save it! “We have been trying to gather information highlighting why people enjoy it but also, for those who do not participate, why they don’t, and how we will help them to start participating to better their lifestyle!”

Charlotte Green Contributor

As you all know, Active Students is a project providing free sport and dance sessions for UH students. Since launching in 2011, it has received £369,000 by Sport England who funds it - the single highest amount of funding in the country from Sport England’s ‘Active Universities’ themed £10 million funding round.

To have your say and save Active Students all you need to do is fill out a quick survey rating the sessions and why you go or why you don’t! You can also provide any suggestions for improvement or sessions you’d like to see added. If that’s not enough reason, there’s a 16GB iPad up for grabs too.

However, Active Students could be coming to a close after this year as funding will be stopping. It’s not all bad news though as in January, Sport England announced a new funding pot of £15m – the University Sport Activation Fund. We are eligible to apply but it must be used to fund new activity and we do have some funding from the University. But to make sure Active Students

definitely continues, we need to hear your thoughts on the project! “We have to create a document

for Sport England showing why we should be given funding to keep the project running” says Senior Activator, Kirsty Feasey.

However, if you haven’t experienced Active Students yet then there’s still time to get involved. There are plenty of sessions on offer, whether it’s relieving some stress as Boxercise or a fun game of Basketball. Don’t forget there’s no sign up, commitment or cost! Toni Stone, a second year student who has taken part in Volleyball, Boxercise and

Burlesque Fitness says she’ll be filling out the survey; “I really like the sessions Active Students provide so I hope it continues to next year. I’ll be spreading the word and hoping I win that iPad!” Project Manager Rhian Crawford says, “Active Students attracts over 800 students each week to its 75 hours of sessions – we want to build on this and offer new and exciting activities, enticing those students who aren’t sporty to move more, more often. We know Active Students has a positive impact on student life and we want others to experience this too!” So, what are you waiting for? To find out more about Active Students then visit the website at activestudents., or alternatively you can keep updated through the Facebook and Twitter pages. On these pages you will find the link to the survey or visit

Features 9 Hertfordshire Student Union’s Amy elected onto NUS Black Women’s Sub-Committee Amy Washington VP Education & Welfare Well hello to you and thanks for turning the page to my Elected Officer Blog! Welcome and please strap yourselves in! I have been getting up to lots of things over the past few weeks. Recently I have had a big push to promote the Language Exchange that I run. This is a scheme where international students can learn colloquial English and build confidence for conversations and socialising. Its working really well and we always need more people – so here’s a shameless plug…Please get involved if you want to help or be helped, then email me. Thanks! A large part of my busy life over the last two weeks has been conferences – NUS International Students Conference, Mature and Part Time Students and NUS

Women’s Conference. I have learnt a huge amount and will have a lot to pass on to Rana, VP Education and Welfare for next year.

and welcoming environment to come to when we are in need, and even when we are not because it’s our right to feel happy and content.

nations. I will be starting in July and bringing my views, representative background and many different experiences to the table.

There are many issues faced and I believe that the work we do at Herts SU should make sure that all students, no matter what difficulties they are facing should be able to have an awesome time at uni! It’s our right to feel amazing, and have access to a great experience whist at university.

I feel that the Students’ Union should be this for all of you, and it’s not at the moment. Although I don’t have much time left *sobs* I will work hard on this during my last couple of months.

If you have felt a certain way or think there is anything I need to know about the community of students at Herts, then please do get in touch. I want all the information I can to create a hearty weapon against those who oppress women in society.

Most recently I have just come back from NUS Women’s Conference. I have to say I am on a high!! It was the most confident and comfortable I have felt in a large group of people, there were no hang ups and no pressure to feel a certain way. *inspired face* There is a huge movement happening right now that you can be a part of the fight for equal rights is on, and it needs you to be part of it. I feel that we should all have a safe

Not only this but I ran for a place on the Black Women’s SubCommittee, those that support the NUS National Women’s officer and champion dealing with issues that specifically effect Black Women. Just a side not, the NUS define Black in the same way that Hertfordshire SU or UH would define BME – Black and Minority Ethnic groups. But anyhoo...I was ecstatic and very privileged to be voted into this place. So I will be on the committee that supports and lobbies against the silencing of the voices of BME women all over the

Malaysian Society sports festival Tavia Cheaw Contributor

The Herts Malaysian Society is proud to announce their very first sport festival! It is one way of celebrating the start of spring. With fun and games open to students of any background and to every Malaysian student of UH. This is a good chance to get united with fellow Malaysians to experience a warm hearted feeling of home and also to build better awareness of the Malaysian culture to the UH community. This event is a collaboration

of different active societies involved at the University of Hertfordshire. The aim of this event

is to not only strive and promote a healthy and active lifestyle through competitive sports, but also to express the greatness of unity and a display of fine sportsmanship that different societies of UH have to offer. In addition, traditional and cultural performances will be done during the opening ceremony for the purpose of entertainment and promoting cultural awareness. Even if you are not into sports, you are still more than welcome! Feel free

to come and experience the warmth and unique diversity the Malaysian culture has to offer! However, for any student who wishes to participate in any sport events, they will have to be sent as a society representative through the Malaysian society or any society in University of Hertfordshire. All participants must be present by 8am on 30th March for registration purposes. Any further updates will be given upon response from interested society groups and venue rules and regulations will be mentioned further on the day of the event itself. So if you are looking for a great way to show off your sportsmanship, a new experience or just looking for a more productive way to spend another lazy Sunday, come and enjoy the Herts Malaysian Society’s Sports Festival.

I may even be on the National Women’s committee, which is also a big deal – more results (and shouty FB statuses) will be about when I know more. From all that I have experienced and been part of over the last while I will definitely look into creating the opportunity for liberation officers here at Herts SU, I will work with the rest of the Elected Officers on this as I feel it could be a monumental change for the Union. Please get in touch and let me

know what you feel about this, Facebook, Twitter etc. (details at the bottom of the page) Coming towards the end of my term sees the wrapping up of many different projects, such as the Credit Union Loan Schemes (see Student Ideas Forum article on Page 4 of this issue for some more info on this from my SIF report). There is also more to be done on the Language Exchange, a new Taxi Agreement/Proposal to write and investigate and of course we are still lobbying for change to the Multi-Faith Space situation on de Havilland. Contact Amy via email at: v p . we l f a r e @ h e r t fo rd s h i r e . s u or call 01707 285003. Tweet YOUR VP Education and Welfare at: @hertsSUAmy


Students’ Union Awards


Nominations must be submitted by Wednesday 2nd April

Recognise the hard work, enthusiasm, commitment and achievements of our student body by nominating them for awards in a number of categories: 


Student Representatives


RaG (Raise and Give)

Student Skills Training

Trident Media

Student Staff

Both students and staff at the University of Hertfordshire are able to nominate students and student groups for an award. Recipients receive a special award and certificate at the Students’ Union Awards ceremony on 24th April 2014! To look at our award categories, read through the award criteria and to make your nominations, visit us online at:



Christian Union annual Events Week great success Hannah Watts Contributor

The final event of the week was Pudding Night, also in the Lindop Foyer. The evening featured three dessert courses and an ice cream sundae contest with prizes for most the aesthetically pleasing and most inventive sundae. Some of the scrumptious desserts were homemade from the recently opened St. Alban’s based Pudding Stop, while others were graciously provided by Forest Town Church, St. Albans. Michael Hunter, a local pastor and youth worker from Hertford spoke at both the Wednesday and

The University of Hertfordshire’s Christian Union hosted their annual Events Week from March 10th14th, featuring a Techno Ceilidh, an Acoustic Night, a Cheese and Wine Evening, and a Pudding Night! The theme for the week was “Love, More Than a Feeling?” and began with a ceilidh on Monday. This is essentially the Scottish equivalent of a barn dance. Traditionally featuring a Celtic band and poetry reading, the caller, Innes Macsween, decided to shake things up a bit. Participants do-si-doed to Avicii in the Hutton Hall studio above the SU and listened to Innes share a bit of his story. The Acoustic Night on Tuesday was held in the Style Bar and showcased a variety of superb musical talent. Drinks in hand, the audience was treated to a laid back evening of piano, acoustic guitar duets, and a dub-step accompanied violinist. Wednesday was a sophisticated “black tie” Cheese and Wine tasting evening in the Lindop Foyer. Professional wine connoisseur Adele Gould instructed welldressed guests on the proper way to swirl and judge wine, pointing out differences in texture, acidity, colour, and flavour.

Thursday events. His talks, entitled Love When You Have Nothing Left, and Love When You’re Scared to Death, tell stories about the life of Jesus found in the gospel of Luke. The CU’s goal for the week was to introduce people to the love of God through welcoming, relaxed, and relational based events. The on-campus nondenominational Christian group is probably best known for the free hot chocolate and biscuit stand they run one night a month for Forum-goers. They can also occasionally be seen

flyering around campus promoting “Text-A-Toastie” (or pancake) events, where you can text a question about God or Christianity

and receive a free toastie. The group meets every Thursday in the Key at 7:30, and gladly welcomes anyone; come check them out!



Study Abroad Blog: Long Beach, California Emma Langschied Contributor

Here’s how exchange students spend their time at California State University Long Beach: by laughing with Americans as they laugh at your accent; by measuring your hands against celebrities’ handprints in Hollywood; by eating doughnuts and coffee for breakfast because in comparison to everyone

else it counts as a healthy meal; by sleeping in a time zone of your own because you now have friends all over the world; by riding a mule along the edge of the Grand Canyon whilst the guide tells you how a mule tripped and fell just the other day; by watching surfers for hours because life has never felt so free and slow paced; by being unable to decide whether Disneyland or California Adventure Park is better and saying you’ll have to go again; by sitting on the Metro train trying to avoid eye contact as you pass through Compton; by trying to convince Americans that Hershey’s is horrendous; by jetting off to New York with other internationals because internal flights are far too tempting to ignore; by splashing in one of the outdoor pools between classes; by taking random classes like African Dance just because you can; by wearing glow sticks on your head and mimicking seals on a pier in San Francisco; by sipping iced green tea through icy plastic cups; by letting snow cones drip over your fingers; by rolling out a

yoga mat on the grass with some neighbours instead of in the free Recreation Centre; by not caring about forgetting to pack a hoodie for the evening walk home; by not having any plans and deciding to spontaneously drive to Vegas for the night; by staring blankly at people when they use unfamiliar words; by searching desperately

for black bears just because there’s a mountain called Big Bear; by replacing alcohol with sunbathing and realising how alcoholic England really is; by insisting on hiking through a desert then freaking out when you realise snakes and tarantulas actually do live there; by buying the annual pass for Universal Studios because

you have no idea what the price is in pounds; by Skyping people at home regularly to see if your accent has changed; by saying yes to everything because that’s what the year is all about; by smiling at unfamiliar students because you know exactly why they’re smiling to themselves; it’s California.

Mankind Mission charity quiz this week Safwa Tahir Contributor

Mankind Mission is a Hertfordshire Students’ Union student-led project set up last October following the success of the early 2013 Winter Campaign led by the team leader, Safwa Tahir which managed to raise a staggering £430 for children in Gaza. The nature of the project is voluntary humanitarian work and Mankind Mission focuses on aiding victims of war, persecution and natural disasters.

The team consists of six committee members and have so far managed to recruit 64 student volunteers. Last semester, the team held a charity Bake Sale in the Forum Foyer, to aid refugees who are greatly affected by the on-going civil war in Syria and victims in the Philippines, where many have lost their homes and loved ones due to Typhoon Haiyan. The event also had the support from UH Baking Society who kindly donated an auction cake. £200 was raised from the bake sale in which all proceeds went to British Red Cross (for Philippines) and Muslim Hands (for Syria). Recently, Mankind Mission held a Rohingya Open Forum event on College Lane, aiming to raise more awareness of an ethnic minority Rohingya who are being heavily persecuted in Burma (Myanmar). The event was attended by the President of Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK Mr. Tun Khin, a human rights activist Ms. Jamila Hanan, UH students and was backed

by UH Model United Nation Society.





The team is currently organising a Charity Quiz Day next week (26th March 2014, W112 at 2pm) in The Law Building, De Hav campus to raise awareness on current global issues and send aid to children

They are also planning to participate in the British Red Cross’s London Red Shoe Walk in summer. Mankind Mission hopes that more students will volunteer and participate in their future

events to make a difference in the world. You could lend a hand, be part of the change and give a voice to the voiceless! To find out more about us: v i s i t u h m a n k i n d . or @MankindUH

Features 15

Coffee House Sessions: Douglas Francis and software has become much easier to use, and more importantly, much cheaper to buy. ‘’You see how good [other artists] are and they’re just not getting the recognition they deserve. By being able to help them out in anyway and showing other companies that they’re under this label just looks better for them.’’

Alex Best Contributor The Coffee House Sessions are creating a new platform for both breaking and established artists to reach students on their home ground. Launched by Huw Stephens from Radio 1, Coffee House Sessions is the first project of its kind that brings live music back on to university campuses via a truly engaging format for artists and students alike. Consisting of 25 universities from across the UK, Coffee House Sessions delivers up to four separate acoustic shows a day for the artist over a 10 day period and provides a combined promotional opportunity for the artist through student media channels and a regional radio campaign.

With studios hire charging large fees to hire, young musicians’ cannot afford the professional help that makes their music more enticing to the big record companies. The record label is something that Douglas isn’t too eager to push, opting to focus on his country inspired acoustic tunes. ‘’At the moment I’m working on my third EP and then probably after that I’ll be working on my first album. I’m always waiting for a life event to write about I guess.’’

Since October, musicians have been performing in the EleHouse as a part of these sessions. Douglas Francis, a folk musician from Cheshire, was the most recent to pay us a vist.

A lot of Douglas’ work is themed based around his life experiences, and his relationship with the bottle. His track Absinthe, featured on the Little Wood House EP, is about just that. He documents his dependence with the lines ‘’so I turn to the bottle/ to see what I could not find but Absinthe could not mend that happiness that was absent.’’

The life of a young musician trying to make it in the industry is tough. Douglas is just one in a millions, but his opinions echo for the million. We caught up with him at the start of his tour for The Coffee House Sessions.

Whilst Douglas managed to bag a recent support slot with The Feeling for one night, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. ‘’The Coffee House Sessions overlaps with a second tour that I’m doing, a co-headline tour with a band called Retrospective who are from Sheffield. Then I have a few weeks off before another five day tour, so it’s 43 dates in three-and-a-half weeks.’’

Douglas doesn’t strike me as the type of man that has been working tirelessly the past few years as he sits down into the studio chair. Calm and collected, he takes in the room as he gets a chance to look around before saying to me ‘’this is cool mate.’’ As a young musician, just 22, Douglas finds himself in the same difficult situation as a lot of other young musicians trying to make it. Douglas has been on some journey since the release of his first EP, titled Toy Box (2012). Since then, Douglas has released another EP Little Wood House and is currently planning recording a third. ‘’It’s all quite mellow stuff, on the Little Wood House EP. The new one that is going to come out is a little more upbeat.’’ Douglas raised an eyebrow when his vocal tone was compared to

that of BRIT winning artist Ben Howard, he was pushed further about his musical inspirations he wasn’t hesitant to keep them to himself. ‘’There’s an American singer-songwriter called William Fitzsimmons who I absolutely adore. I was lucky enough to see him this week actually, in Manchester. Any acoustic singersongwriter I like to listen to and

I guess take inspiration from.’’ Douglas started playing music from the innocent age of 12 and, as most young musicians on the Coffee House Sessions tour have done before, he joined a few bands. But writing and performing aren’t his only interests. He is also part of the increasingly popular

practice of self-production, which is why he also owns his own record label. “This is why this tour is so important, because it also helps give these artists a chance to perform to different audiences.’’ It’s much easier to record music from the comfort of your home nowadays compared to what it was like a decade ago. The technology

The rest of Douglas’ tour will take him across the UK, from places like Nottingham and Southampton. But, despite getting to see the sites of the UK, he admits it’s a gruelling task. ‘’It’s a little bit hectic, especially only having a short rest between tours. But I need to get my name out there, so it’s got to be done.’’ The Coffee House Sessions are happening right around the UK. You can find out more information about them at cof



Letter to the Editor on new Childreach International project Alexandra Moore Contributor

I am writing to raise awareness about Childreach International, an international development children’s charity who work to unlock the potential of marginalised children in the developing world by promoting child education, health and rights. Hopefully you will have heard of them since many students here at the University of Hertfordshire are taking part in fundraising for their projects and taking part in Big Build Nepal, of which I am the Team Leader. I am getting in touch to promote and raise awareness of their new appeal Taught Not Trafficked.

To briefly explain, this is a new project that is in the pipeline to work with rural Nepalese communities to encourage children to stay in education and to increase awareness of and prevention measures against the little known yet widespread and critical issue of child trafficking from the region and therefore reduce children’s vulnerability to be trafficked. The Department for International Development (DFID) has put out a call for applications for matched funding. This means that if Childreach International was selected for this scheme, for every one pound donated during an appeal, DFID would match it. This is an amazing opportunity from DFID to fund this new child trafficking prevention project, which will keep children out of

human trafficking and in school in two high-risk districts in Nepal. Over the next year I will be involving students from our university in the appeal to raise money and help spread the message about this hideous crime of child trafficking, and I would love for you to be involved too. How amazing would it be to see all student media in the UK coming together to tell the country about this issue and help to keep girls in school and out of brothels! As a side note, their work in child trafficking prevention has led us to strike up a partnership with the Hollywood film, Sold, which will be released later this year. Sold is a movie about a young Nepalese girl who is trafficked and illustrates the brutal realities that

The Grumpy Corner Mr Grumpy Contributor

Adverts on TV, adverts on YouTube, adverts everywhere! From Twitter to Facebook; advertisements are snaking their way in to every part of our lives, even our journalism. A whopping 54% of ‘news’ articles contain a form of PR. And it is rather worrying. Now don’t get me wrong, companies need to get the word out somehow, but now it seems that they’re going too far. It’s being done at the cost of talented journalists, and it’s not fair. PR companies will do anything for a hashtag or a mention. Some people prefer to read an online newspaper or magazine to escape from it

all but there is no way out. Articles are being bombarded with daily updates on what Brittney Spears had for lunch, what colour her bra strap was, and small details which, let’s face it, have no bearing on our lives whatsoever. Aspiring journalists are at risk of having their talent belittled by having to write about the trivial details concerning the mundane lives of celebrities. They could be using their writing to influence others positively but are being prevented from doing so because of the growing greed for publicity. This is not just a random one person rant either; in his book Flat Earth News, author Nick Davies that journalists ‘are no longer gathering news but are reduced instead to passive processors of whatever material comes their way, churning out stories, whether real event or PR artifice, important or trivial, true or false”. Research shows that there are now six PR people per journalist. There is no avoiding the constant whispers of the PR industry and it is no wonder that churnalism continues to grow. Our articles are being polluted

day by day. The problem continues to worsen with not much being done about it. Hopefully with some recognition there will be a decrease in the amount of PR fluff used to fill journalists’ articles. But for it hard a real release,

now, if you’re finding to distinguish between article and a press go to

many young women in Nepal face.

the problem of child trafficking.

Childreach International is currently in talks with their production company to be a Communications Partner too.

They will be looking to launch a film competition alongside Sold later this year to highlight these issues and involve students in shining the light on this crime.

If you have a moment, please visit their website to learn more about this important film: soldthemovie. com. There is an excellent YouTube video there about the movie and

Any student involvement would be greatly appreciated by the charity! To learn more, please visit

Health 17 March: National Sleep Awareness Month

Kat Morgan Deputy Editor

March marks Sleep Awareness month, an annual campaign which raises awareness and education to promote how important sleep is. Now students are stereotypically known for sleeping in until the afternoon and pulling all nighters to get those assignments finished. However, a good night’s kip is much more important than many of us think. Humans spend a third of their lives sleeping and not getting enough of

it can lower your life expectancy. Studies show that an adult should have between seven to eight hours sleep each night, however, this really does depend on the person. Scientists have discovered that not getting enough sleep can affect your body in many negative ways. It will decrease your productivity and ability to take in information. It can also lead to people having serious health consequences, including obesity, strokes and diabetes. The Student Health Advisory Council have researched that sleep is crucial for students wanting to

gain top degrees. However, surveys have shown that as many as twothirds of students get less than seven hours sleep each night. So what is the secret to getting a good night’s sleep? •Set a regular bed time - sounds a bit boring but going to bed around the same time each night with get you in to a good routine and help your body cope with enough sleep. •Set a regular wake up time Same goes for when you rise in the morning. Not having a 9am lecture might make a lie in tempting but may lead to you

tossing and turning all night! •Nap! - Now this is a tip I like to hear. A daytime nap is actually much better for you than sleeping in late. It allows you to catch up on that much needed sleep without disturbing your natural sleeping pattern. •Go outdoors - leaving your house and getting some fresh air will help you have a better night’s sleep. Try doing some outdoor exercise as well. •Turn off although it TV, go on your phone

electrical gadgets is tempting to watch your laptop or check before bed, this is not

good for your sleeping pattern. Aim to turn them off a good half an hour before you go to sleep. •Cut down on those energy drinks and coffee. A high intake of caffiene is not only bad for your heart, it can also majorly affect your sleeping pattern. Don’t start relying on them to stay awake! Doing all these things as well as maintaining a healthy diet and taking part in regular exercise, you are bound to get a peaceful night’s sleep. It will make those weeks of assignment deadlines just that little bit easier!



Pongathon! Bella Colafrancesco VP Student Activities

Pongathon University Challenge officially launched at the Forum on 10th March to a really impressive turnout! We saw over 50 students turn up to rock the tables, making the event a big success. On the night, Pongathon Activators arranged 25 social games as well as a tester tournament for our new Pongathon University Challenge. The Pongathon University Challenge is a fun weekly social ping pong league set against a backdrop of music, bar action and some healthy competition! It inspires newcomers regardless of skill, persuasion or gender to enjoy the wonderful game. There are social tournaments, music to pong to, visuals, coaching tips and the infamous ‘Pongbot Challenge’, Pongathon’s own ping pong robot that take on all-comers! Winners of the tournament will go

onto represent our University and compete in the National Pongathon University Challenge Finals in London at the end of this year! In the inaugural session at UH,

Zhang Yang Dong became the winner of the day in the social tournament event while Hamza got the highest score of the day against the Pongbot, with 37.

You can come and play socially at the Forum every week on Monday between 5:30 to 8:30pm or enter the Pongathon University Challenge, our new social ping

pong doubles league on campus! You can also challenge the Pongbot to be announced as the leader of the week.

Tag Rugby in the sunshine Female Fusion at UH Roz Ringe

Alex Varran Contributor

Herts Sports Partnership

The Active Students project has been hugely successful here at the University of Hertfordshire, with hundreds of students participating in over seventyfive hours of activity each week.

Two successful Tag Rugby tournaments were enjoyed recently, helped by amazing luck with the sunny weather on both days. The 50 students that took part in the tournaments had a ball!

Due to the high demand and popularity of some sessions, the project has now forged a partnership with an external organisation, ChildUK, and intends to begin piloting a new sports development project called Female Fusion.

Each of the six halls of residences was allocated a six nations team for this informal event that introduced all abilities to the game and got students active. The carefully-planned timing enabled the matches to be followed by social activity over refreshments provided by the RFU (Rugby Football Union), whilst watching the live rugby matches. The tournaments were organised by the Higher Education Sports Specific Activators for rugby at UH – Jade and Adam - in partnership with the local National Governing Body, the Athletic Union the Herts Sports Partnership and Active

Students. Jade said after the event, “That was such good fun. Everybody joined in, had a go and had a laugh too! Everyone stayed around afterwards and lots of new friendships formed. Active Students is amazing!”

Targeting female participants, Female Fusion, will be held at Hatfield Leisure Centre and will include fun filled activities with qualified coaches and instructors. For more information about Active Students visit the website: or contact Rhian Crawford, Project officer on 01707 281006 or

Current Active Student Activators Whitney Fangawa and Lauren Wilkinson are co-ordinating the project alongside myself. All three of us have a lot of

enthusiasm for the project and on visiting the facility, which is on Travellers Lane. We decided upon holding dance, basketball, netball and table tennis sessions as part of the primary Female Fusion session. The dance session will run as mini taster sessions, enabling you to experience a variety of dancing styles and moves within the hour. These new and exciting sessions will continue on Wednesday 26th March, and run from 4pm until 6pm. Active Student points and rewards can be gained from these sessions too, so if you are free this Wednesday why not drop in, and have some fun. Be part female

of this fun

friendly session!

Feel free to check out for more information, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.

Sport 19 Rugby Girls through to cup final! everyone working really hard.

Amy Schiller


The Athletic Union’s Women’s Rugby Team has done the best this year than any of the current team members can remember. Last year we lost the majority of our games, hardly ever had a full fifteen girls for games and, ultimately, we were lacking in team spirit. This year we took on seven new players, some who had never even played rugby before. We thought it was going to be tough integrating them into the team and teaching them the ins and outs of rugby, but they all seemed to fit in to the team so well.

Our new coach for this year, Matt Rayner, has been a huge help and inspiration to all of us. We honestly could not have gelled as a team without him. And we he turns up to our game in his wellies, which is the best! This year we haven’t lost a match so far. We are undefeated champions of our league (BUCS Rugby Union 2013-2014 South Eastern 2B) and we have made it to the Final of our cup (BUCS Rugby Union 2013-2014 South Eastern Conference Cup.) Our quarter final was against London School of Economics which we won 34-14.

The commitment this year from everyone has been outstanding. We have had a full team of fifteen girls at every match, and even had subs at most of the games!

Our semi-final was against Surrey which we played at home at Hertfordshire Sports Village with loads of supporters cheering us on. We won that game 39-7.

Training sessions been very intense,

We are now through to the final which will be against either Royal

have with

Holloway or King’s College London on Wednesday 26th March. Getting to the quarter finals meant so much to many of us older players who had been waiting for it for a long time. Now we’re in the final we just can’t believe it. Especially Kira Lewis who has been playing rugby for UH Women’s for five years! Another team member, Jennifer Newman, said ‘It’s an honour to be part of the team with such a great spirit and getting to play some really hard-fought competitive matches.’ Captain Hayley Morgan agreed, saying ‘we have really come together and developed as a team this year both on and off the pitch. ‘It feels like we’re more than a team, like a family’ Zainab Alema spoke for all senior members of the team when she simply stated, ‘I’ve waited for this moment for three years!’ Be sure to support the girls in their final bid for the cup at home this Wednesday!

UH Netball vs UH Racing Stephanie Alexander

tactical a netball game could be, just like when in a race in the heat of the moment.

a team photo at the end and had a talk about what it was like to play the game from both perspectives.

Back in January 2014, UH Racing were privileged to be able to see McLaren Racing taking part in netball with Hertfordshire Mavericks Superleague team as part of their winter training.

The commitment from both teams was fantastic: the netball team displayed their skills but were also able to talk to the Racing team during the game to explain different rules which lead to many goals all round!

Although UH Racing were in a lot of pain the next day, it was agreed all round that everyone had a fantastic time and would like it to happen again!


An idea started floating around the team that a university version of this event could happen. But it stayed a distant dream until 26th February, when one of the Formula Student team (who is also a member of the netball team) was able to organise the day for us all.

Both teams gathered together for

Swimming Team meet Bo-Jo

Thanks to all the people who took part. Without you guys, it wouldn’t have been such a success!

UH Racing turned up raring to go and the Netball team took them through some warm up drills to avoid injury later! They also did some skills drills to get used to passing and catching the ball and positioning on the court before the real challenge came.

On Wednesday 12th March, the University of Hertfordshire Swimming Team got the chance to visit the London Aquatic Centre and Olympic Village and met with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The netball team showed UH Racing just how fast paced and

The boys’ captain, Ahmed Omar said: “Our coach Kevin Pickard

organised the day for us to go there. Boris was quite funny! He asked us what we thought of the pool and Olympic village and whether we thought it was worth the huge investment. We all pretty much agreed it was!”

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UniVerse | Volume 22 Issue 9  
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