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Issue No.37 2014

FREE to a good home

The Official voice of Northumbria Students’ Union





Plus: Spotted, crosswords and much, much more Written by Northumbria Students for Northumbria Students.

? Vote for your






Voting now open for the Students’ Union Leader Elections

The Five positions VP Communications

VP Academic


VP Activities and

VP Welfare and Equality


You said… you were sick of rogue landlords and high fees

Your Union… created NU:LETS. Quality accommodation with no admin fees.

You said… the coach lane bus was crowded and unreliable

Editors Words

Your Union… got you an extra bus

You said… there wasn’t enough space to work in the library.

Your Union… got you a bigger & better library


So welcome to my penultimate edition of NU:Life – depending on when you’re reading this, Northumbria Students may have already voted for who will take over from me as editor of this very magazine and as Vice President Communications and Democracy. If the elections haven’t happened yet – DO NOT FORGET TO VOTE. This issue is jam packed of information ranging from placements to fashion to exam prep but we’ve also got some issue pieces around Benefit Street and Neknominations which could generate some discussion and debates with your friends. I know it’s only March but if you’re looking for things to do in Summer, make sure you check out our article on making summer plans – if you’ve got a lot of time off in the summer, why not make the most of it? But make sure you focus on your work up until then so check out our Academic Advice and Social Media guidance to avoid getting into hot water whilst at uni. We’ve got loads of new writers in this edition which is great to see but if you want to write then get in touch or come a lot to our weekly editorial meeting on Mondays at 5pm, our sub-editors are also going to be delivering some skills sessions so if you’ve never written before then don’t worry! Happy Reading, Mike Contributors Emma Langton Mental Health 2014 Laura Nelson Benefit Street, Exam Prep Clare Haldane Northern Ireland Jamie Dinning Overuse of Technology Cameron Giles Tea vs Coffee, Crossword Lucy Starkie St Patricks Day, How you know that you live in a Student House? Charlotte Hall Money, Money, Money James Dix Is gay outdated? Jackson Douglas Neknominations Katy Gale Fashion placement Fran Hazell Placements in Australia James Kreczak Summer Plans Mike Potter Elections Sarah Owen Social Media Guidance Annabelle Coakley Student Led Teaching Awards Anna Robinson Netball

Contents NEW & FEATURES Mental Health 4-5 Benefits Street 6-7 Northern Ireland 8-9 Overuse Of Technology 10 CULTURE & REVIEWS Tea vs Coffee 12-13 St Patricks Day 14-15 Is Gay Outdated? 16 STUDENT LIVING Money, Money, Money 17 Exam Prep 18 Neknominations 19 Fashion Placement 20 Placements In Australia 21 How you know that you live in a Student House? 22-23 Summer Plans 24-25 Spotted 26 Crossword 27 GET INVOLVED Sabb Spotlight 28-29 Elections 30-31 Social Media Gudance 32 SLTAs 33 UNI NEWS Rate My Roof 34 PhD Case Study 35 CERN Placements 36 SLike Fathers, Like Sons 37 Orange 38 Northumbria Fashion Students 39 Special thanks to my sub-editors; Josh Mclean, James Dix, Chloe Normyle, Amy Urwin & Cameron Giles

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NEWS & FEATURES Mental Health

Take time to look after yourself Many of us suffer from the winter blues, exam stress and home sickness, but we rarely take the time to look after ourselves. Even if problems begin to pile up, we power on through without a second thought. For many people these struggles can become too much and turn into mental health problems. You may have heard about mental health but not really know what it is about. These problems affect the way you think, feel and behave. They are problems that can be diagnosed by a doctor, not personal weaknesses. Did you know that 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues at some point in their lives? Think about your friends, your family, yourself. Problems may manifest themselves in different ways and during different times. You might not necessarily notice a problem and it could become more difficult to cope with. Some people may experience suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide. Yet despite these feelings, people often do not wish to talk about their problems. It is my hope to reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and other mental issues and to create a safe environment for people to express their thoughts and feelings. We should be able to openly talk about problems without being judged, or perceiving that we are a burden to society. Fortunately, there are many organisations out there to support anyone who feels at risk of suicide.

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I first heard about PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide when they came into my school to talk to us. They are a National UK Charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide among young people and supporting them through difficult times. Hearing these people talk openly about suicide and share their experiences of losses shocked me. I had never heard anyone speak so calmly about suicide; to me it was taboo, unacceptable and almost rude to talk about it. I was interested in the charity and followed them on Facebook for a few years. Wanting to support them, I became a member and sent in donations. I later began to fundraise for them and took part in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training; these experiences changed my life. I met many people who had lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives, siblings and friends from suicide. Their willingness to be involved with the charity inspired me even more to support people at risk of suicide. Supporting people can vary from a simple smile to listening to someone talk about their feelings. You don’t have to be an expert to talk about mental health. Why not ask people how they are and take the time to listen? If you wish to end the stigma against suicide and other mental health issues, let’s create a safe community to allow everyone to share their experiences. With appropriate and early interventions, suicide can be prevented. Talking about suicide can be scary, but if you are concerned about a student, friend or family member, follow your instinct and encourage them to talk to you. Talking about suicide does not make it more likely to happen. Just hearing that someone genuinely cares is enough for some people.

Northumbria Students’ Union became one of the many universities to sign the Time to Change pledge, aiming to reduce the stigma and discrimination around mental health. This is a campaign set up to eradicate negative perceptions of mental illnesses. By signing the pledge, the Union has promised to fight the stigma against mental health. This is a fantastic development for Jamie Thompson the Vice President of Welfare & Equality in the Students’ Union. One of his campaigns focuses on removing the stigma attached to mental health. He has driven the University forward and inspired students to support other people by raising awareness of the difficulties many people face. He says: ‘Mental health is something I wanted to bring to the forefront of the Students’ Unions agenda this year, and I saw the best way was to join in a national movement with the same goal and passion I felt in myself. The Time to Change pledge may not gain accreditation but it is certainly a beacon of hope to all who suffer from mental health issues, and also proof of support and awareness available. Hopefully as more people sign the pledge, the stigma around the topic will gradually dissipate and the views of people nationally will become more accepting of mental health.’ The Union is making great progress and moving towards removing the stigma. Hopefully students will now have the opportunity and courage to talk openly about their own mental health and feel able to support other people through difficult times. Always be aware of the things that you enjoy so you can allow yourself to take a break, relax and be mindful of your own feelings! Emma Langton

Here to listen,#OwlNightLong If you want to talk to someone about suicide you may call

PAPYRUS HOPELineUK on 0800 068 4141. Or if you wish to talk to someone about any problem you may call

Northumbria Nightline on 0191 227 3737 between 8pm-7am.

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NEWS & FEATURES Benefits Street

Benefits Street: Food For Thought When adverts first started appearing on Channel 4 for the recent controversial ‘documentary’ series Benefits Street, it was quickly apparent what the show would entail - another half-hearted attempt to capture the lives of those surviving on benefits that would focus on the criminal behaviour of benefit recipients, their laziness and their varying addictions. And once more, it seems that a surprisingly large proportion of the British public leapt at the new opportunity to fuel their hatred for these apparent freeloaders. People took to Twitter and Facebook to rant about taxpayers’ money, how hard they have always worked for what they have and what an awful attitude people on benefits have.

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For me, it is sad to see that so many people are still fooled by these myths. In the early episodes of the series that aired have focused on the ‘in and out of prison’ lifestyle many residents of the street lead. Despite the ‘clever’ ways in which they manage to evade the law (one clip showed a resident demonstrating how to stop store security alarms going off, and how to take off security tags on clothing), the shows featured druguse, the mass unemployment of the street (and the ease of staying unemployed while still receiving job seekers allowance) with general ‘hooliganism’. The sad thing is, too many people appear to believe that this accurately portrays the many people who are in receipt of benefits with figures showing that this is simply not true. For example, polls have suggested that many are under the impression that job seekers allowance is far higher than it actually is. Statistics show that the amount of money unclaimed, as a result of people purposely not claiming benefits that they are entitled to (out of fear that they may be overpaid and then

get into debt when the money is later demanded back), far outweighs the amount of money claimed fraudulently through the benefits system. It is also true that the tax evasion of large corporations amounts to much more than tax evasion of individuals, but does this stop us purchasing and endorsing their products? It all rings true with the kind of ‘class warfare’ that is demonstrated a lot on television these days - for example, Katie Hopkins’ varying comments on ITV’s This Morning regarding how she would only let her children play with other children that have ‘middle class names’. It all seems to boil down to the same thing - there are people below us in a social hierarchy and it is their own fault. It is their laziness and criminality that results in their unemployment, and we shouldn’t support or associate with these people.

suffice to say that shows such as Benefits Street are created to interest people - nobody wants to watch a more realistic documentary in which a JSA recipient updates their CV and spends their days job-searching online. seems that a surprisingly large proportion of the British public leapt at the new opportunity to fuel their hatred for these apparent freeloaders... Laura Nelson

Owen Jones’ book Chavs highlights these issues perfectly, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in these debates! For now, I think it is nu:life 07

NEWS & FEATURES Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: From Political Unrest to Political Peace

The aim of this article is to highlight people’s views on Northern Ireland and ‘The Troubles’ and make it a subject that is not as taboo. Sometimes whilst in England, I, being from Northern Ireland, come across stereotypically in my views and comments about violence relating to Northern Ireland and the Troubles. Although these comments are said comically, we have to remember that at the time of the Troubles, Northern Ireland was a very dangerous place and a huge number of people were affected by segregation and discrimination.

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Recently, a friend came to visit me in Northern Ireland and on his return he made the comment that: ‘at least he wasn’t pipe bombed.’ This was obviously meant in a comical way and at the time I laughed, in hindsight it has made me think about how people view Northern Ireland based on what they have heard before. The bustling streets and bars in Belfast are a far cry from what many people assume. The town lights up in the evenings and there are people everywhere, the atmosphere received in Belfast is different compared to anywhere else I have been. Belfast caters for everyone, whether you want a few cocktails in the trendy Merchant hotel, or a wild night in Filthy McNasties, after all, the Irish are known for a great night out.

Give Northern Ireland a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised. During a walk near my home town of Holywood I realised something that Northern Ireland has that a lot of other places do not; it has a sense of community. Every time someone walked past me they said hello and asked me how I was, does this sound like a country full of violence and conflict to you? As I grew up and was schooled in Northern Ireland I have firsthand experience of the issues that go on there, yes segregation still happens in some places, but does it not everywhere? No matter if you are black or white, Christian or Islam or Protestant or Catholic, we are all the same and discrimination happens everywhere in the world.

a dangerous place, people often only hear of the bad things that happen and never think to consider the beautiful surroundings and sprawling hills that Northern Ireland has to offer. Although people are starting to consider Northern Ireland as a place to visit, with the huge help of the European Music Awards being held there a few years ago, it still holds the reputation of a violent country which is far from the truth.

Clare Haldane

Northern Ireland is now associated with violence, corrupt politics, parades and riots, when in fact there is so much more to it. Northern Ireland is not

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NEWS & FEATURES Overuse Of Technology I have no qualms about using social media, though it was sad that it seems to have become as much a part of everyday life that it is just that – everyday.

The overuse of technology should we care?

Today we live in a society that is rich with gadgets, tablets, and smartphones. There seems to be a device for anything that you require. Indeed, this digitalization of our lives has provided us with an abundance of items that supposedly make life easier, faster and more entertaining. The saturation market has grown from our adoption to this technology. It has become commonplace. The question remains, are we prioritising our time checking-in, snapping photos or posting status updates about what we are doing, instead of simply doing and enjoying what it is we are up to? My friends and I recently joked when we realised, in a restaurant, that we were all looking on our phones rather than enjoying each other’s company. It was not boredom or that we had nothing to say, but it just seems so normal to check that virtual extension of ourselves, be it on Facebook, Twitter or Google. 10 nu:life

The term ‘nocialising’ was coined to describe events such as above and to combat those situations. Some people now make a conscious effort to leave their phone in the middle of the table, so as to avoid temptation. ‘Addiction’ is thrown around for just about everything lately and if someone has a problem often it is deemed an addiction. For this reason I do not really want to coerce you into thinking that I am stating that we are all addicted to our gadgets and gizmos. When thinking about it, the first thing many of us do, myself included, is check our phone in the morning, even if it is just to hit snooze on the alarm! This routine of repeated behavior is an act of addiction. I absolutely love technology and remain amazed at the advances that seem to constantly happen. It is strange to think that the iPhone is less than 10 years old. The iPhone has arguably changed the game for the mobile phone industry. The many uses of technology are bountiful and exciting. Despite this, it is interesting to reflect and think about whether or not it is possible to just spend a little bit too much time creating a virtual web/canvas of our lives, instead of simply living in the moment and enjoying ourselves. P.s. I am off to read my friends status updates to get see what they are up to. Who needs conversation? Jamie Dinning




















Tea vs Coffee The Scalding Debate: Beans vs. Leaves One of the most controversial debates I have ever had in a group study session was about whether we were going to go for tea or coffee? Everybody seems to have their own preference, and their own opinions about those who partake of the other. I, however, am quite on the fence, enjoying both a cuppa and a cup of joe. In order to try and pick my side of the battle, I tried out two specialist shops right here in Newcastle.

Representing Team Tea: Quilliam Brothers Tea Room You may have heard of this quaint place, but few ever venture close enough to Newcastle University Campus to actually try it out. Located between Newcastle Civic Centre and the Hancock Museum Quilliam Brothers have a greater variety of teas than there are brands in your local Supermarket. I tried out a cup of the smokey Royal Pu-Erh and rather nice macaroon biscuit. The pricing is in no way expensive considering you get a pot. The menu says each pot serves 3 cups, yet I managed to get 4 out of mine. The service is excellent with china cups, (better than those at Buckingham Palace trust me, I have been). They are also open until 1am, although you will probably not incorporate it into your night out. Instead try dragging the flatmates on a long Sunday afternoon, there is a selection of board games dotted about the place and it is quiet enough for a catch up. No matter when you go, I guarantee you will leave more relaxed and probably quite full too.

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Representing Coffee’s corner: Pumphrey’s If, like me, you like to shop around a bit, you have probably checked out Grainger Street Market before, there is a fantastic variety of shops from clothing, to greengrocers and great bakeries. But whilst you are browsing the place, I would strongly recommend a coffee from Pumphrey’s. They serve all the coffees you would recognise at the usual high street chain, your lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos, but also give you the opportunity to expand your repertoire with the flat white (like a latte but no foam, less milk, stronger coffee) or a macchiato (equal measures milk and coffee), or if you want to venture away from espresso based drinks, aeropress coffee (which sort of fills the gap between espresso and filter coffee). The stall has a few seats but mainly you would be getting these to take away and drink as you wander the market, it is certainly a hustle and bustle atmosphere. The coffee buzz will definitely give you the energy to join in and barter with the butchers.

Think this was the right choice? Or do you know somewhere else that stands out? Let us know on Facebook or tweet us at MYNSU @NULIFEONLINE Cameron Giles

The conclusion: Both Pumphrey’s and Quilliam Brothers are a fantastic choice for drinks when out and about. You will usually get served quicker than you would anywhere else in town. But when it comes down to Tea vs. Coffee I think I have got to give this one to Quilliam Brothers, the tea there was indescribably better and it is certainly going to become part of my weekly routine. It is important to grab some friends and all have a chat about where we are in our lives, tea – I think – can make even the worst day a little better, whilst coffee usually just helps you stay awake through it all. nu:life 13


St. Patrick’s Day, or ‘Paddy’s Day’ as it is more affectionately known, is a day for the Irish among us to celebrate being Irish and for the rest of us to pretend we are Irish for the day! However, it is also a day to celebrate the man himself – St. Patrick. If you’re not Irish, you probably have no clue why you are tipping Guinness down your neck at the SU in the name of this man! Not to worry though, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about the day itself and why it is celebrated. First, let’s start with the boring stuff. Here’s a little bit of history on St. Patrick. (You can impress all your Irish friends with your knowledge!) St. Patrick In the fourth century, Patrick was kidnapped and brought to Ireland from Britain as a slave. He claimed that God told him to flee captivity and so he escaped and boarded a ship back to Britain. On his return, he joined the church and studied to be a priest. He was called back to Ireland as a Bishop some years later, and he is therefore responsible for the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. Since the 7th century, he has been the patron saint of Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day is held every year, on the 17th of March, which is the date St. Patrick died. The Shamrock It is believed that St. Patrick used a three-leaf shamrock to explain the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity (the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). That’s why shamrocks can be seen everywhere on St. Patrick’s Day. The Colour Green Originally, the colour associated with St. Patrick was blue. However, since the 17th century, the colour green has been associated with St. Patrick’s Day. This is largely due to St. Patrick’s use of the Shamrock and because Ireland is known as the ‘Emerald Isle’ for its tranquil dark green countryside. Also, during the 1798 rebellion, Irish soldiers wore full green uniform, to make a political statement.

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Now for the fun part! The celebrating! (After all, it’s what students do best!) Irish Tipple Of course, the all day drinking session is what appeals the most to students about St. Patrick’s Day! It’s practically the law that you drink a pint of Guinness on the day (even if you don’t like it) so make sure you swap the trebles for a pint or two of the black stuff! This year the SU are offering a free pint of Guinness to the first 500 students in. Irish Food St. Patrick’s Day has to be started off with a traditional ‘Irish Fry’ (which is basically the same as a Full English). Irish stew is also a must and you can usually sample this traditional Irish dish at Habita. Irish Dancing Attempting to do an Irish jig to some of your favourite Irish tunes is inevitable once you’ve had a few drinks! The SU have some great Ceilidh dancing that you can try and emulate. Try not to fall flat on your face – its harder than it looks! Irish Getup Dressing for the occasion is essential – it will really get you into the Paddy’s Day spirit! Irish Rugby tops are often worn so if you have an Irish friend see if they have one you can borrow. If not, just wear green. The SU will be providing face painting, Gaelic tattoos and giving away those famous Guinness hats so you can really look the part!

Now you know everything there is to know about St. Patrick and what you can expect on the day, make sure you get yourself down to the SU for an all-day party you’ll never forget! Doors open at 11am and it’s completely free.

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CULTURE & REVIEWS A Whistle-Stop Review Of 2013


OUTDATED? ‘That’s so gay.’ Slang for ‘That’s so annoying.’ For an individual who labels themselves as ‘gay’, it is ironically more annoying to hear the use of the phrase. The title of ‘gay’ outmoded and so is the way in which it is used.

When an individual is called out as a lesbian we immediately have an image of what she is like and how she behaves, we often stereotype. The samesex or equal marriage bill is often referred to as ‘gay marriage’ by the media. There is no such thing as a ‘gay’ marriage, the marriage is not gay, and the point is that it should have the same worth as ‘straight’ marriage. Marriage should be marriage.

When I go home for Christmas or summer I work at an insurance company. The people are friendly, the pay is good and I manage to make insurance interesting. There is one problem. There is still accidental homophobia in the office.

The point is that if we stray away from labels we avoid negative slangs: faggot, queer, dyke and so on. The word ‘gay’ used to mean happy, homosexuals used it as a code word in the past when it was still treated as immoral to have same-sex relations. The power of the word used to be owned by the homosexual men who used it.

A colleague of mine is an immigrant and has been for a long time, they went to university here and earned their degree. The problem is that somewhere they picked up the phrase: ‘That’s so gay’. The problem is not that what they are saying is a personal attack on ‘gays’ but the affect it has on our values. If they have learnt the phrase, then they were taught by us. What kind of example are we setting? If people from other cultures see and hear us using derogatory statements, then it reduces our power as a nation to criticise them for their prejudice. The big LGBT news story since last year is Russia’s anti-gay laws banning the promotion of homosexuals. In the UK we used to have the same law under Section 28 of the 1988 act. This act prevents teaching in schools about equality of homosexuals. In the UK, the majority of people are hopefully accepting of all minority groups, we are getting better education in our schools and fairer representation in the media. Our nation is getting better but part of the problem that remains is the use of labels. 16 nu:life

The word ‘gay’ has instead turned into another faggot, it lacks empowerment due to the repetition of the negative phrase, ‘gay’ has become ‘so gay’. To be ‘gay’ implies that you have sex with men, to be labelled sexualy objectifies the individual. I offer an alternative - ‘queer minded’. The individual can define themselves as someone open to the possibilities of alternative relationships without the stigma carried by labels. A person who defines themselves as ‘straight’ should be able to say that they are ‘queer minded’, because they are open to the ideas of non-normative relations, it is more positive and accepting and ignores the act of sex. If we as a nation are open-minded, then we are ‘queer minded’ and can influence other nations to follow and end homophobia. Why would anyone be scared of homosexuals anyway? That’s so gay. James Dix

STUDENT LIVING Money, Money, Money

MONEY MONEY MONEY AS A STUDENT, MONEY CAN BE A LITTLE TIGHT AT TIMES, AND WITHOUT A JOB, EVEN TIGHTER, SO I THOUGHT I WOULD SHARE SOME WAYS OF MAKING AN EXTRA QUID OR THREE. 1. Survey Sites A great way of making extra money, especially if signed up to a couple! Some offer vouchers for every £10 you earn and some offer you genuine cash which soon adds up and isn’t bad for taking 3 or 4 surveys a week, when chilling in bed etc.. Sites such as Valued Opinions, which give vouchers out to a variety of shops when you hit £10 are great, as well as YouGov, Panelbase and SpringboardUK which give cash rewards! You do get screened out of some surveys and some do take quite a while, but for minimal effort, it’s a great way of making money!

2. Qmee I heard about this through a student website and it’s basically a completely safe add on to your computer, which, when you search for certain things, comes up with 4 or 5 suggestions of websites for you and if it is what you are looking for, click on it and per click you receive 9p, which doesn’t sound a huge amount but when you think about how often you google something, it soon adds up and it absolutely no effort whatsoever. You can cash out whenever you want to, whether that be 50p or £50 and is just

a simple and easy way to make extra ££! It doesn’t give results for every single google search FYI and it’s mostly for when you are searching items to buy paid for online shopping = win!!

3. Cash4Clothes Got a bulging wardrobe that needs sorting out? Instead of simply donating them directly to a charity shop, take them into a Cash4Clothes near you, and you get paid £5 per 10kg(basically a bin bag full) and they then distribute the clothes out to certain charities etc!

4. VoucherCodes and UniDays Both of these websites have such great offers and discounts that if you are ever going out to eat or shop somewhere, check them because they will most likely have offers on them! Another great website for cheap deals/money off is Student Beans!

Although none of these will make you a millionaire, it’s always nice to have an extra few pounds in your pocket, whether it be for that bag you’ve had your eye on for ages, or that night out you’ve painfully had to decline due to your lack of dollar! Charlotte hall

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Exams are looming, but don’t start

stressing just yet… As always, exams have quickly crept up on us, and if the thought of starting revision makes you want to crawl back into bed and sleep until July, then look no further. It seems like only yesterday we were all getting a bit too merry in refreshers week and casually ignoring our responsibilities, but now really is the time to start knuckling down. But it isn’t all bad news - exam preparation doesn’t have to be a stressful period of cramming a whole years’ worth of teaching into your head. A few simple tips can make the weeks of preparation seem a whole less daunting. Planning is everything. It may seem obvious but when it comes down to it, good preparation is something that many students seem to forget about when starting revision. By working out when and in what order your exams are, it is then much easier to plan which work needs starting first. Drawing up a calendar is useful to work out exactly how many weeks and days you have left, and can also help motivate you. It might also be motivating to mark on planned nights out or days off from revision - setting small goals and rewards to work towards makes a big task manageable, as well as helps avoid you getting off-track. It is also easy to get bogged down in theory and what you’ve been taught, forgetting that exam technique is just as important. This is where past papers really come in handy and are available for most faculties on the E-Learning Portal (if they’re not, try getting in touch with your course director). Don’t underestimate the value of learning what has been examined in the past, as this can be a good indicator of what is to come.

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Mark schemes explain what was required to get high marks - so if depth of analysis is a recurring theme then make sure you are capable of analysing effectively, and so on.

So by managing your time well and planning ahead, exam preparation doesn’t have to be a stressful, hectic period. Don’t lose sight of the end goal - it WILL be worth it in the end. Good luck!

Finally, a word about the day of the exam. Go in with confidence because what is done is done, and never expect to do badly. Get a good night’s sleep, eat well beforehand and have a coffee to wake you up. Bring spares of everything, and of course, your student card!

Laura Nelson


STUDENT LIVING Neknominations

#neknomination The Trend That Should Stop Trending You have all heard of the neknomination phenomenon. If not, lucky you and where have you been hiding? This hashtag trend is circulating faster than chain mail ever did. So basically, it is an online drinking game that originated in Australia and made it to the UK. The basic premise is that participants must film themselves ‘necking’ alcohol while performing a stunt, before nominating someone else to do the same within 24 hours. The concept of the game has been described as: “Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don’t break the chain, don’t be a d***. The social drinking game for social media! #neknominate. Drink Responsible”. Some try to take neknomination to extremes, downing disgusting cocktails or aiming to be ‘bigger and better’ than the nominator, sometimes with dangerous results. The NekNomination Facebook page had been encouraging readers to take part in the game and had attracted more than 10,000 “likes” since it was set up in late January. The web page has now been taken down after complaints from the family of Jonny Byrne, 19, from Co Carlow in Ireland. He died after jumping into the River Barrow in Carlow and was the second death, due to this craze. Many alcohol awareness groups have spoken out against this ‘drinking game’ such as Alcohol Irelands chief Suzanne Costello, who says: ‘The way this game spreads through social media by ‘nominations’ also means that many young people who would never consider doing something like this are now coming under considerable peer pressure to put themselves in danger, not just in terms of their health, but also the poor decision-making, accidents and the other forms of risky behaviour that we know go hand-in-hand with binge drinking.’

I know from my own Facebook feed how quickly the game has taken off. Less than a month ago nobody had heard of it and now it is all over my feed. What is deeply worrying is that companies like Facebook know about this major issue and are not willing to do anything about it. A Facebook spokesperson said the social network aims to be a platform for people to share freely whilst still protecting the rights of others. A spokesman said: “We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but controversial or offensive behaviour is not necessarily against our rules.” I have always wondered what it would be like to stare down the barrel of a gun loaded with stupid. Thanks to the neknominating, now I know. It truly is as pointless as stupid celebrities. It is also deeply annoying when your Facebook friends insist on taking part. Whoever created this ‘phenomenon’ cannot even spell! Jackson Douglas

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STUDENT LIVING Fashion Placement I never thought I’d see myself getting up before midday. As every student will agree, none of us are so keen with those early starts. So when I uprooted myself and moved down to the ‘big city’ of London, life as a Fashion Web Editorial Assistant Intern meant getting myself up, ready and out of my front door by 7.30 was going to be a challenge!

As many Second Year Fashion Design and Marketing students know, we are required to complete a placement year. Running twelve months, from January, it begins in the middle of Second Year and finishes mid Third Year. Choosing London to take on an internship was the easiest part of the process. The majority of Placement opportunities that were sent through to the students were London based. With companies only replying to our applications late November/December, this left myself and the four other girls, who I now live with, only a week to find somewhere to live for the year. Living with four other girls from my course has made the whole ‘moving to London’ process undoubtedly easier. We were never alone to conquer the stress of finding a house, sorting out bills and using the tube etc. After the stressful week of completing course deadlines, we found a very nice and cheap house in Zone 2 situated on the Jubilee line. This meant it was easily accessible, which, priced at £104 per week each excluding bills, we believed was incredible for how large and lovely the house was.

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As we were London based we were eligible to gain the London student loan. This made the cost of a London lifestyle a little bit more affordable, as our loan almost doubled. We soon realised how expensive everything was, as it cost £11 pounds per day to get to work without an Oyster card – with a standard beer costing a minimum £7. Within two weeks, we were all moved in and officially living in London! The transformation from being in Newcastle with all the friends I had made in my Halls and through my course, to having only the four girls I live with in this big, and at times, unfriendly city proved quite daunting. But you soon realise that you have little to no time for anything outside of work and social activity is simply for the weekend. Now I have lived here for almost five weeks and have loved every second of it! I would highly recommend completing an internship in London! It is a great city to learn for all industries and has endless opportunities! Katy Gale

STUDENT LIVING Placements In Australia

Placements In

Australia As I write this it’s 8 days till I’m on a plane to the other side of the world. I booked my flights yesterday and if things stay the way they are I will be living on the streets. Finding out you’ve been offered a place on a semester abroad in Australia three weeks before you’re expected to be there, isn’t ideal, but it has shown me that if you really want something you can get things into motion pretty quickly. Moving to Uni the other end of the country (London to Newcastle) was the first big move I made so moving to the other side of the world is the next step! My visa got me panicking as the usual turn around time is two weeks but miraculously, mine took half an hour. Flights were pretty straight forward too, but accommodation is where I’m struggling, because I don’t really know where to start but think of all those empty rooms! I will be studying Graphic Design (the same course as I do here) at the Australian Academy of Design in Melbourne - a partner Uni to Northumbria and an opportunity, which I remember being told about way back in my first interview. The exchange wasn’t at all publicised and so it was completely up to me to research and submit my application; I strongly encourage anyone to find out if a similar opportunity is open to them and make everything a reality. It has meant that I will be able to go travelling in South East Asia when term ends - a substitute for the Gap Year I never had and hopefully experience some amazing new things that I never dreamed would happen so soon. I’m excited for the new style of learning, oh and the Aussie surfers that I will hopefully come across, and think it will spice up my CV in a way that little else comes close to doing so. Now I need to stop bikini shopping, and ensure my jet-lagged head has a pillow to rest on. Fran Hazell

I strongly encourage anyone to find out if a similar opportunity is open to them and make everything a reality.

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STUDENT LIVING How You Know That You Live In A Student House?


STUDENT HOUSE You know you live in a student house when: 1.

You can barely open your front door for all the takeaway leaflets / previous tenants’ letters that have accumulated there.


Traffic cones are a part of your living room furniture.


There are never any clean plates, cutlery or cups because you refuse to do your housemates’ dirty dishes. This results in you eating from the saucepan / drinking from measuring jugs.



You walk in the kitchen to find, to your surprise, that the dishes have all been ‘washed’ and put away. However, you open the cupboards to find bits of food are still stuck to the plates.


You finally decide it is time to do some laundry, but there is a pile of someone’s soggy clothes left in the washing machine preventing you from doing so.


Wet clothes are hung all over your house because it is too expensive to use the drier.


Likewise, the heating is not to be switched on. This means you have to get into bed and blast your hairdryer under the covers to keep warm.


The microwave is the most used kitchen appliance in your house. You never knew you could microwave pasta, eggs and vegetables before you came to Uni.

You leave numerous post-it notes asking people to tidy up after themselves. This never works.

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10. You never manage to remember when bin day is, or even to take the bins out at all for that matter. 11. Cleaning is reserved only for house inspections / viewings and the last day of your tenancy. You want that full deposit back. 12. You often get up in the morning to find strangers passed out on your sofa. 13. It is acceptable to wear pyjamas, no matter what time of day. You will change into sweatpants if you can be bothered getting dressed.

14. Toilet roll is sacred. You keep a secret stash of it in your room. 15. Everyone in your house agrees that a TV licence is a waste of money. However, the internet is essential.

in You walk n to che the kit your find, to ... surprise

Lucy Starkie

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Summer might well seem a while off yet, but with the stresses of semester two now embedded in us all, we can’t help but dream of June being here just that little bit sooner, bringing with it the end of exams. By now all of us are bound to be looking ahead to our summer, thinking about what to do with our glorious four months away from Uni. Whether you’re a ‘stay at home’ lounge-about or someone a little more adventurous, now’s your chance to make this a summer you’ll remember forever. If you’ve got a part-time job, try and bag a bit of time off to do something new. You may well remember your summer of working 40-hour weeks, but it’ll be for different reasons than a proper adventure, that’s for sure! Many companies offer summer camp employment in America, something some of my friends have scooped up for their summer. Many camps offer young people from all over the globe the opportunity to help out and teach youngsters, usually aged between 6 and 17, a whole host of activities based on what you, as a leader, sign up for.

Another option is to grab yourself an inter-rail ticket. At around £360, inter-railing gives One of the more personal camps on offer is ‘Stars N Stripes’ who you access to 30 days of travel recruit eager staff for 9 to 10 weeks each summer. Once your in 30 European countries all place with them is confirmed, you’ll be heading to one of their just a click and a sit away. 400 camps spanning the length and breadth of the States and earning up to $2100 for the pleasure.

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I’m doing it for 40 days altogether, starting in Paris, and dropping in on 14 countries along the way including Germany, Austria, Croatia and Spain. Accommodation is cheaper than you’d imagine too, and there’s a smattering of handy Apps to help you plan along the way. Inter-railing is definitely the ideal way to submerge yourself deep, in a whole host of cultures, just waiting to be discovered, and with the easy to use website, it’s no wonder that ‘Europe by rail’ is on the rise. Of course there are many other options available for the keen adventurer out there. Thailand’s fast becoming a travelling hotspot for adventuresome students and thrill-seekers alike.

exploring the capital, island hopping deals, and even a hike, bike and kayak tour too. It’s difficult to tear yourself away from their website after exposing your eyes to their tantalising student-friendly adventure vacations. What I’m basically trying to say is that there’s a big world out there. It’s not going to come and find you, so you need to spread your wings and just do it. See it. Experience your summer in a brand new way and unearth one of the crown jewels of the world, because it’s all out there waiting to be discovered. James Kreczak

STA Travel offer a pick’n’mix of adventures ranging from

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ST PATRICKS DAY IS A HUGE DAY AT THE SU here’s a look back at last year’s event! 26 nu:life









8 9

10 11 12









1. 2. 5. 6. 9. 10. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 18.

1. 3. 4. 7. 8. 11. 17.



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GET INVOLVED Sabb Spotlight

SABBSPOTLIGHT JAMIE THOMPSON Vice President Welfare & Equality What is your role? I look out for student wellbeing, and make changes to improve their student experience outside of the classroom. I am also the lead Sabb for all Equality groups.

Your Sabbatical team were elected last March on manifestos of what they wanted to do to change your Students’ Union. This is where we report back on what we’ve been doing. Remember we’ll be elected a new sabbatical team in March so this what you’re voting for! NATALIE-DAWN HODGSON President What is your role? I am elected to represent the views of all Northumbria students as your student union president. I am the principal link between the university and the students union and ensure that student views are heard all the way to the top of the University. My aim is to make sure that all Northumbria Students have an excellent time whilst they are here studying so if there is something you would like to raise, come and visit the sabbatical office on the first floor of the SU! What have I been p to? Recently I have been working hard to lobby the University for extended opening hours on campus, particularly in CCE. Thanks to a great campaign by the sabbatical team I was able to take a report to the University and it has resulted in them listening to student s and opening CCE 24/7! I am so please that all the hard work paid off and I hope students use the extra space available to them. Why should students vote in the elections? Students should vote in the elections to make sure that the right people are leading your students Union in the next year. Sabbatical Officers are incredibly important and strive to make the student experience better for our students so make sure you check out the candidates manifestos to be able to pick the candidate that is right for you! What advice would you give to students in their final year? Graduation is almost in sight so make sure you make the last few weeks count. Its also important to make sure you maintain a work life balance so make sure you have plenty of rest and make time to see your friends. Last year, when I was writing my dissertation last year my friends and I used to go out for tea after a day of studying, let’s face it you definitely still need to eat so it’s a perfect excuse to keep you healthy and calm in what can be a stressful period. PH NSUPres

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What have you been up to lately? I’ve been working really hard to ensure that we do everything we can for student health – I’ve got a really exciting mental health day in preparation (26th March!) and I’ve been working on policy for NUS around access to medical services for students. Alongside work for LGBT students and helping volunteers in the community, I’ve been really busy! I’d like to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my ‘Welfare Warriors’ too for working so hard on the welfare agenda for our students. They are forever inspirational and really do keep me going! Why should students vote in the elections? I’m hoping that my work around mental It’s SO important for students to vote – in voting they can ensure that the leaders of the Students’ Union have the best interests of students and are going to make positive changes in their role. Get your house, course and friends to vote too – it only takes a few minutes and really does have an impact. What advice would you give to students in their final year? Students should run for Sabb – You This is for any student really! But with regards to assessments, I have some top tips: *Make a plan for your time – this helps keep you organised and reduce stress at the last minute *Make time for yourself – it is proven that 15 minutes break for every 45 minutes working has a positive impact on your memory and wellbeing! *Eat! It’s really easy to forget to eat and drink when you are busy, but you need to keep yourself fed as it will help you focus. *Go outside – getting fresh air and doing some exercise (even a short walk) will help keep you refreshed and keep you busy. I hope that helps – work hard but don’t forget to look after yourself, keep in touch with your friends and make the most of the time you have left as a student – it goes by far too quickly! PH


MIKE POTTER Vice President Communications & Democracy What is your role? It’s my role to communicate with you I’m in charge of letting you know what the Union has been doing whether that’s through student media or making sure we’re out talking to you. I also look after democracy to ensure that everybody’s voice can be heard – and Student Council and the Elections are exactly how we do it. What have you been up to lately? I’ve been working on a strategy for Student Media and how to grow it over the next few years as well as starting a review on how Student Council operates. As its election season, I’ve been talking to loads of people interested in running – they’re now your candidates – how exciting. Why should students vote in the elections? Voting is so, so important. I can’t really stress enough. I’ve written a two page article in this edition about why you should vote – take a read! What advice would you give to students in their final year? Enjoy every second – I know the dissertation seems overwhelming but remember to take breaks and enjoy potentially your last few months in Newcastle if your plans next year are going to take you further afield. PH


Remember to drop by our Coach Lane Office and see us at our second home

Mike Jamie Nicole Natalie Sarah

Thursday Morning Tuesday Morning Tuesday Afternoon Wednesday Morning Wednesday Afternoon

NICOLE PEGG Vice President Academic Affairs What is your role? IIt is to represent the 32,500 students we have here at Northumbria on academic issues, whatever the nature of the issues might be. I mentor all academic reps, including course reps and I manage relationships with senior university staff in order to effectively lobby them and get the best results for students. This is the last ever time that I will be writing this and I will be sad to leave the role in July, but I’m sure my successor (whoever that may be) will do an excellent job in the role. What have you been up to lately? I’ve been so, so busy recently, I have led a campaign on group work and the university have agreed to my recommendations so I’m currently working with them on that. I have launched the Student Led Teaching Awards with the committee, don’t forget to nominate you have until 14th March. I’ve been drafting some policy to take forward on a national level and I am doing a lot of planning ahead for when I leave. That’s just a bit of what I have doing but you can always e-mail me if you want to know more. Why should students vote in the elections? Because if you don’t vote for the right candidate, or you don’t vote at all, you may end up with exams on Saturdays for example, which I’m guessing not many students would want. If you don’t vote at all you can’t really complain about it. In order to ensure your experience at Northumbria is the best it possibly can be get your vote cast to ensure that candidates that will actually make a difference are elected! Some of the things that those that have been elected have achieved are 24 hour city campus east, an additional coach lane bus and secured an investment into Electronic Submission and Feedback. We need to continue this trend and we can only do this with your votes! . What advice would you give to students in their final year? Be organised, utilise opportunities, start planning for afterwards and most importantly, as many of you won’t be students again, MAKE THE MOST OF IT!

SARAH PRICE Vice President Activities & Development What is your role? I oversee societies, volunteering, fast friends, the welcome team and general development and employability of volunteers. What have you been up to lately? I’ve been planning for welcome team 2014 – scary stuff! I’ve also been sorting out award-type things, both for activities & the annual awards, as well as working at a better relationship with Northumbria sport – exciting times! Why should students vote in the elections? Students should vote in elections for two reasons! 1)What candidates want to do actually happens, and can affect the entire student population. For example our recent campaign on opening hours has led to several buildings being open 24/7 from 24th February – this affects LOADS of students! 2) the more votes we get, the more power we have to put these problems right! What advice would you give to students in their final year? Students in final year – this is the best year! Only one year left (well a few months now!) and it’s all over! A few more months of work for a lifetime of being able to say you have a degree really is worth it – you can do it!! PH

NSUActivities1 PH


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So why vote? It’s an interesting question – the Students’ Union elections are a very busy time where campus is flooded by posters and people are incredibly excited and flamboyant. But don’t be worried, the elections are your chance to have your say on the Union, the University and beyond. There’s 5 Sabbatical positions up for grabs who will lead your Union from July 2014. We’re also electing our Lay Student Councillors who will represent everyone and run some exciting campaigns over the next year. And last but certainly not least, you can elect your equality reps who’ll make sure that every student has a voice no matter who you are. Your reps all sit on Student Council and make key decisions on your behalf and on the behalf of all students. They lead their own campaigns to change the Students’ Union and the University so the elections are your chance to make sure that you can be happy with who is representing your views. Much like any wider politics, if you don’t get involved then you don’t have a reason to complain if something doesn’t go your own way.

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With elections, I feel like there’s a lot of myths flying about that cause people not to bother to vote, so let me try and clear them up for you.

MYTHBUSTING Sabbatical Officers can’t achieve anything in a year! Sabbs are able to make the key decisions for the Students’ Union. The only decision makers above the Sabbs are the Trustee Board and Student Council – both of which the sabbatical team are members of. We also oversee different areas of the Union – each Union department essentially works to the vision of the elected sabbatical. Sabbs individual pledges have resulted in things such as Nightline and a bigger library. So make sure you make an informed decision of who you want to vote for.

The Sabbs have no influence over the University’s decisions! A few years ago the University intended to stop change the bursary scheme which wouldn’t have particularly benefitted students so the team managed to convince them to completely change this. Sabbs sit in the majority of university meetings and their opinions are taken really seriously because students want them to be there while members of staff haven’t been selected by students.

One vote doesn’t make a difference If everyone had that perspective then nobody would vote. In the past Sabbatical elections have been won by a very small majority so every vote does count. Remember that if your first choice doesn’t get enough votes then put your second, third or even forth choice to make sure you get the best chance to have a say.

I can’t vote In the past, some students haven’t been sure if they could vote – if you can log onto a university computer you can! Whether you’re on placement, study at Coach Lane or City, love the Union, hate the Union – this is your chance to have your say.

What is RON? If you log on to vote you might wonder what RON stands for and indeed why he’s running for each position? RON unfortunately doesn’t stand for McDonald, Weasley or Burgandy – it’s actually Re-open nominations where you don’t think there’s a suitable candidate for the job.

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GET INVOLVED Social Media Gudance

Student Advice & Representaion: Social Media Campaign As you all know you have a great Advice and Rep team here at Northumbria Students’ Union. There are two Education Caseworkers, Kim Buffery and Ashleigh Blackwood, and a team of dedicated Student Advice Representatives, (also known as STARS!), who are on hand to help with any academic support you require. If you have specific worries or concerns about academic issues do not hesitate to contact:

growing presence on social media sites but even if they don’t, it is worth being aware that even if they do not have an account, it is possible that they might see any aspect of a person’s profile or information.

During this semester the STARS will be running a social media campaign, which will include information stalls, video clips and advice leaflets. The campaign is about making students aware that although social media can be advantageous as it enables students to promote their skills (e.g. LinkedIn) and network with potential employers there are also many disadvantages. For example, 35% of employers have reported that they have found information on social networking sites that caused them not to hire an applicant. In some cases employees have experienced disciplinary action and, in extreme circumstances, termination of contracts for publicly complaining about their workplace or other members of staff online.

Our social media campaign aims to make students more aware of how social networking sites can affect students’ future career prospects and how any use of social media might be effectively managed. The campaign will be running in March so if you are interested in finding out more, drop by and see us at stalls located throughout both our City and Coach lane campuses.

This leads to the question of how private your social network profile really is. Even though your own profile setting may be set to private the internet is ultimately a public domain and there is no way of ensuring that ‘private’ means details cannot be accessed at all. Many employers now have a

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The negative effects of social media are not only felt by those who are currently in full-time employment but also by University students. All students should be aware of the disciplinary or professional suitability implications which are attached to inappropriate use of social media. ‘Inappropriate material’ could include, but is not restricted to, derogatory or offensive content, anything that might bring the University into disrepute or a breach of a student’s professional code if enrolled on a course which involves wider community work experience such as teaching, nursing, allied healthcare or social work.

Sarah Owen

Our social media campaign aims to make students more aware of how social networking sites can affect students’ future...


It’s really rewarding to see how students develop their skills and confidence during their three years at university...

SLTAs Our second annual Student Led Teaching Awards are coming up again in February and March. To celebrate this we decided to catch up with last year’s winner of the Best Lecturer award: Daniel Laqua. Q. What did the SLTAs mean to you? And how did your win affect you and your teaching? A. It meant a massive amount and was a really uplifting experience. I tend to put a lot of energy into teaching, and it was great to see that some of my students acknowledged this! It has also been a spur for me to think further about my teaching and has given me an energy boost that continues to this day. Q. What do you believe makes a great Lecturer and Teacher? A. Enthusiasm is vital. And curiosity is important in several ways: you need to be interested in your subject and in the people that you teach. This involves having an open mind, being prepared to keep learning as a lecturer, and working with your students to support their progress.

Q. Is there any one teacher that inspired you? And why? A. As a teenager, I had a teacher who had lived through two dictatorships and saw it as his mission to not only teach Literature and Language, but also to broaden our minds. He organised a range of extra activities and treated each of us as individuals. He made it very clear that learning and teaching was more than simply spending a fixed amount of time in a classroom. Q. What are you secrets for being the Best Lecturer? A. Apologies for dodging this question: I think there are actually many ‘Best Lecturers’ at Northumbria! Each will have their own style, and that’s a good thing. Q. What is the best part about teaching for you personally? A. The regular interaction with people, and to find out about their backgrounds and ideas. It’s really rewarding to see how students develop their skills and confidence during their three years at university. Annabelle Coakley

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UNI NEWS Rate My Roof


PERFECT PAD Rogue landlords and dodgy digs can be a nightmare – but a new website by Northumbria business student Owen Dixon can help you avoid the pitfalls and find the accommodation of your dreams. has property reviews written by student tenants who rate properties from 1 to 5 on aspects such as condition, safety, cleanliness, location and responsiveness of landlords. The innovative service helps other students make real comparisons and a genuinely informed choice when looking for accommodation. Fourth year Business Studies student Owen has had plenty of experience of rented accommodation himself – not all of it good.

He said: “I’ve been in places where nothing worked and have literally not been able to cook anything. I can remember sitting down with mum once and saying I really wish I could have spoken with previous tenants before moving in. The idea behind Ratemyroof is like TripAdvisor for choosing accommodation – it’s a simple concept but really helpful and can make all the difference to ensuring a great student experience.� “While there are sites out there with basic information and rental costs, there is nothing like this – the rating feature is completely new. Users simply log on to the site for free, search for accommodation and make helpful comparisons.� As a Northumbria student and aspiring entrepreneur Owen has received help from the University’s Graduate Enterprise service with marketing, advertising and establishing terms and conditions. He added:

“This has been a fantastic service from Northumbria and has probably saved me in excess of ÂŁ2,000 in my start-up costs.â€?

XXXSBUFNZSPPGDPVLr3"5& 3&"%3&7*&8 To find out how Graduate Enterprise can help you, visit 34 nu:life

UNI NEWS PhD Case Study


Forensic Scientists Work on DNA Murder Mystery Case Ever wonder what you might get involved with during PhD study? This is one example of a project that was investigated by academics and PhD students from Northumbria and Leicester Universities. Further your studies and you too could find yourself cracking open age-old mysteries with cutting-edge technology. Read on for the facts behind this intriguing murder case… Researchers from Northumbria University’s Centre for Forensic Science have been trying to identify the victim of a gruesome 1930 murder case. A male body was found in a blazing car in Northamptonshire in November 1930. Traveller Alfred Rouse was hung for the murder of his victim who, to this day, has not been identified. Last year, the descendants of a man named William Briggs approached Northamptonshire Police in an attempt to re-open the case. Briggs had left his family home at around the same time the crime was committed and was never seen or heard of again. His family always believed he could have been the victim of what had become known as the Blazing Car Murder. With the help of Northamptonshire Police, the University of Leicester and The Royal London Hospital, the family were able to access tissue samples taken from the victim during his postmortem examination. If the 83-year old samples contained enough mitochondrial DNA there was a strong chance that a comparison could be made with the DNA of Briggs’ descendants. Dr Eleanor Graham and PhD student Victoria Barlow in Northumbria’s Centre for Forensic Science were asked to analyse the samples to see if there was a match that would identify Briggs as the victim of the Blazing Car Murder.

The results revealed no consistency with the DNA of Briggs’ family members, meaning he could not have been the victim of the murder. However, the analysis revealed an uncontaminated DNA profile, opening the possibility that a match could be identified in the future. Victoria Barlow said: “‘I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to assist on this historic case, which offered the chance to solve an 83-year-old mystery and bring some closure to the family of William Briggs. “The sample type itself was challenging and there was every chance that the DNA had degraded too much over the years for us to obtain the mitochondrial DNA profile we were looking for. “Fortunately this was not the case and with the successfully obtained DNA results we were able to exclude William Briggs as the victim in this case. For now, the identity of Alfred Rouse’s victim still remains a mystery.” Dr Eleanor Graham added: “Projects such as this highlight the fact that forensic DNA analysis is not confined to ‘catching criminals’. DNA analysis also has a critical role to play in the identification of those who have been killed during criminal acts, accidents or natural disasters, which have occurred recently, or many years ago.”

For more information about Northumbria’s Centre for Forensic Science, visit nu:life 35

UNI NEWS CERN Placements


ACCELERATE THEIR CAREERS AT CERN IN PIONEERING PARTNERSHIP Northumbria has been congratulated for having the most student placements in the UK at one of the largest centres for scientific research in the world. CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, is internationally renowned as the groundbreaking home of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), birthplace of the World Wide Web, and as the lab where the Higgs Boson particle was famously discovered. Northumbria excels at giving students an edge in their careers through real-world placements with a difference. One of these is undoubtedly at CERN’s headquarters near Geneva, on the border of Switzerland and France. Northumbria has seen its total number of student placements at CERN double in each of the last three years – an outstanding achievement that has been congratulated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Three Northumbria students, who were working at CERN when the Higgs Boson was discovered in 2012, have recently returned from their one-year placements. Iain Steers, Paul Barella, and Liam Dodd were all Computer Science BSc students at Northumbria when they went to work at CERN, known for its slogan of ‘Accelerating Science’. Liam said: “I walked into a job as a software engineer when I returned to the UK because of my placement at CERN. Northumbria’s excellent relationship with CERN is fantastic for students and is a real selling point for the University.” Iain, who is now studying for a Masters in Computer Science at Northumbria, added: “We were exposed to technology at the very cutting edge, gained unique skills, and got to meet industry leaders and company CEOs, while working in an incredible environment surrounded by beautiful countryside. “I’m in regular contact with CERN via email and plan to go back there as a staff member after I graduate.” Paul said: “It was great to work in such a multicultural environment. The placement was a genuinely life-changing

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experience. I plan to do a Masters at Northumbria after graduating and hope to return to CERN one day.” The Science and Technology Facilities Council described Northumbria as ‘blazing a trail’ for other UK universities in its relationship with CERN. Jane MacKenzie, CERN Opportunities Project Leader at the STFC, said: “The opportunities offered by CERN to Computing and Engineering students for training and work experience are exceptional, but historically UK universities have not made the most of these opportunities, and there is still a mindset which believes that only Physics students can benefit from CERN. “Northumbria University is blazing a trail in changing this perception, and the University’s success in placing its Computing students at CERN is well above the UK average. “CERN’s technology teams want students who are outwardlooking, project-orientated team players, and who have a real industry focus. Northumbria students fit this bill perfectly, and the University has worked really hard to foster links with CERN and to help students in their applications. “The management at CERN are delighted to see more British students in their teams (the main technical language at CERN is English), and that they are happy with the quality of Northumbria’s students is evident since they keep accepting more and more of them! I can only congratulate the University and urge you to keep up the good work.” CERN, the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, has been at the forefront of scientific and technological development since its establishment in Geneva in 1954. Apart from several important achievements in particle physics, this prestigious institution has also been instrumental to the introduction of Internet technology, the development of the World Wide Web, and it is a centre for the development of grid computing. Gerhard Fehringer, Director of Placements for Engineering and Environment at Northumbria, said: “We are delighted that four of our BSc (Hons) Computer Science students are currently on a placement at CERN. This clearly demonstrates the high quality and commitment of our students.”

UNI NEWS Like Fathers, Like Sons

LIKE FATHERS, LIKE SONS Four students are studying for the same degree their fathers completed at Northumbria more than two decades ago It is not uncommon for sons to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, but four students at Northumbria have taken this tradition literally. Harry Elliot, James Fletcher, Dan Serfontein and Jonathan Yapp, are all studying Real Estate, Planning and Estate Management at Northumbria – more than 25 years after their fathers graduated from the same degrees. Their fathers all studied at Northumbria in the 1980s and are now highly successful company directors and business leaders in the world of real estate and chartered surveying. Adam Serfontein, now a Pro-Vice Chancellor and Governor at Northumbria, graduated in 1987 and went on to become Managing Director for The Hanro Group, one of the largest property investment and development companies in the North East. He said: “I’m delighted Dan is studying at Northumbria. I think it’s great that students are following in their fathers’ footsteps. It’s a testament to the excellence of the Real Estate and Estate Management programmes here at Northumbria.” His son, Dan, said: “I’ve always been interested in my dad’s career, but originally wanted to do a business degree. I’m so glad I changed to Estate Management at Northumbria though as I’m really loving it. “It’s more than just a degree. There are great links with the industry in both the North East and London, and the course is really close-knit so you really feel part of a community.” Simon Elliot, who is now Head of Public Sector Consultancy for Sanderson Weatherall LLP in Newcastle, studied BSc Estate Management in the late 1980s.

His son Harry is now in year one of Planning and Real Estate Management, but he is not the only member of the family to follow his father’s lead. Simon said: “As well as Harry, my oldest son, Sam graduated last year and secured a job with his very first application. This is quite a validation for getting a degree in a vocational subject and I was very happy that both of my sons studied on the modern equivalent of the same degree, although I never pressured them into this direction.” He added: “I have a great relationship with Northumbria University, attending seminars they run and delivering guest lectures every year for the past 10 years to help give students a feel for what it’s like to work in the profession.” Adam, Dan, Simon and Harry were joined on campus recently by Bob Fletcher and his son James for a photo shoot that brought the fathers and sons together. Bob graduated with a BSc in General Practice Surveying and is now a partner at Sanderson Weatherall LLP. Peter Yapp, whose son Jonathan is now studying BSc Real Estate, was unable to attend the photo shoot on, but he had a very good reason. He now runs his own firm in Asia, JS Valuers, which has offices throughout both the Malaysian peninsula and East Malaysia. Andy Dunhill, Senior lecturer on Northumbria’s Real Estate programmes, added: “The Estate Management, now Real Estate, Degree is very well established and has an excellent reputation internationally. “This belief is supported by the number of times we see siblings and friends follow each other through the course. These examples of sons following in their fathers’ footsteps clearly cements our reputation.”

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Student designers imagine the future for Orange Design students from Northumbria University have been asked to imagine the way we will use mobile technology in the future. We’ve got a hugely talented design and media community here at Northumbria. And we’re not the only ones to think it. Super-brand Orange has picked us out as the only UK institution invited to take part in its third instalment of ‘Orange spreads your wings’ – an international (and rather exclusive!) student design contest. Just five schools from three countries – France, the UK and South Africa – have been selected to take part by imagining how we will use the mobile technology of the future. The budding designers have been challenged to take a fresh look at personal digital space and how it will evolve in the short to mid-term. They must imagine the future in the form of a filmed scenario that explains how cloud computing and cloud-based services will help people in their day-to-day lives. Eleven Northumbria students, representing Design for Industry, Fashion Communication and Interactive Media Design, have been busy developing their UK competition entries, with support and mentoring from Northumbria’s designers and academics. They’ve also had the chance to collaborate with senior Orange marketing and design professionals who flew in from Paris especially to join them right here on campus in January. This gave our gifted students the chance to showcase their creative concepts directly to the Orange team.

“This means the project is not about imagining how technologies will work in the future but exploring what kind of future we really want. Only then can we consider how digital technologies can help to bring those ideas to life.” The competition entries will be judged on Tuesday 28th March by an expert panel, including representatives from Facebook and Microsoft. With three prizes of €5000 each up for grabs, competition is hotting up! The three categories are: ‘Design for all’ for the most accessible project; ‘Embodiment’ for an innovation that could rapidly be on the market; and ‘Vision’, which rewards tomorrow’s innovation that goes beyond the frontiers of today’s knowledge. The projects will be on public display during a series of exhibitions after the award ceremony next month. Pierre-Yves Panis, Director of Design and User Experience at Orange, said: “Design at Orange is focused on customerexperience above all else. This means stepping into the shoes of technology users in order to think about new ways to make their experiences more practical, more intuitive, simpler and even more memorable. “For us, it makes perfect sense to ask design students, who are ideally positioned both as users of technology and future designers, for their vision and empathy on all these areas.”

Matthew Lievesley, Reader in Human Centred Problem Solving at Northumbria, said: “Orange are clearly passionate about design that puts the interest of the user first, which matches the philosophy of Design at Northumbria very well. For the latest news on the competition and to find out more about design at Orange, visit For more information about studying Design and Fashion at Northumbria University, Newcastle, visit

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UNI NEWS Northumbria Fashion Students



Dr. Martens. ‘docs’ noun 1. An iconic pair of boots that make a loud and clear statement about who you are and what you stand for. This is our definition. But what’s yours? The legendary clothing and footwear label asked Northumbria fashion students to design an outfit that reflects the Dr. Martens brand. The brief asked them to draw on local music and rebellious sub-culture, political references and freethinking individuals. And a talented trio have now won the opportunity to have their designs on display in the Newcastle store – along with a £150 voucher to treat themselves to their own pair of boots, accessories or clothing that’s on offer in the store. Megan Bramhald, Vicky McMenigall and Sophie Leigh are the three lucky winners chosen from an impressive exhibition of work by the fashion students. The winning outfits were displayed at Dr. Martens, Newcastle during February.

The winning design was displayed at the Newcastle Dr. Martens store.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION: Follow #STANDFORSOMETHINGNCL on Twitter and join the conversation. We asked our winning fashion students and Fashion lecturer Gael Henry to sum it up for them – in just 3 words! Sophie Leigh Studying: 2nd Year Fashion Design Hometown: Bolton Docs are: Timeless, Versatile, Rebellious Vicky McMenigall Studying: 2nd Year Fashion Design Hometown: Edinburgh Docs are: Diverse, Alternative, Unpredictable Gael Henry Senior Lecturer: Fashion Northumbria University, Newcastle Docs are: Authentic, Individual, Subculture

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40 x £100 prizes to be won Follow the survey link from your eLP or MyNorthumbria page: °‹ National Student Survey (most final year undergraduate students) ‹ Northumbria Student Satisfaction Survey (other undergraduate students).

3 February – 30 April 2014 Find out more at

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