Hello, I write a public blog (which is also submitted to ULU Senate – ULU’s decision making body) every 2-3 weeks on my work as University of London Union Vice President. This is to keep everyone aware of what I’m up to. Here is an update on my activity from late September 2012 to early October:
– ULU Presidential Elections 2012:
Nominations opened for the vacant ULU President position on the 26th September. See full information, including the elections timetable, electronic copies of the elections posters (sent out by mail to Students’ Unions), voting information, and nomination forms with the regulations here: http://ulu.co.uk/elections
We held our first elections committee meeting in early October; the minutes are to be submitted to ULU Senate. There were a number of things discussed, including: promotion, the logistics leading up to, and during the elections, securing the student-date from colleges, candidates question time, info to be sent out to colleges. We are on time with everything and promotion has been going well. There will be a follow up elections committee meeting on the 29th October.
– Freshers’ Fayre: I have attended many freshers fayres in my capacity as ULU VP over recent weeks – this has been to spread the word of our services and campaigns for the year. Well done to everyone who been involved in organising their fayres, they have all been excellent!
We organised our own ULU freshers fayre, which took place on the 28th September; I was part of putting it together from societal support to sports demonstrations to signing people up to ULU.
– ULU Funding Review, University of London, ULU Development Day:
The University of London Collegiate Council have now agreed on a terms of reference and membership for the review of the University of London Union. We will be contributing to the review and working with local Students’ Unions on their submissions. I really feel this is an opportunity for local constituent colleges to shape the future direction of the organisation. And while it may be easy to reflect on the lull in recent work by the Union, I feel it would be better to use the review to put the organisation in the state we want it to be in.
I have set up meetings with senior members of the University of London as we are keen to re-acquaint the University with ULU.
I organised a “Development Day” of senior staff at ULU to discuss our major areas of work for the year and how staff and the sabbatical office could best work together. The main focus of the day was to set in train the strategic development plan for ULU (we will be seeking involvement from local Unions and students).
– Education and public services campaign:
I have been working on a number of things in this area:
- Called the ‘Education bloc’ on the TUC Demonstration alongside London HE Trade Unions, and organising the logistics for the day. We plan to use the ULU building to host people; there will be safe spaces, breakfast available, media spaces, stewards training, storage and lots more.
- Attended a UCL Defend education meeting.
- Spoke at a SOAS anti cuts meeting.
- Supporting the ballot for strike action for Unison and UCU staff branches in Bloomsbury, London.
- Organised the first in the series of meetings hosted by ULU on key student topics. The first was entitled ‘free education, international students and immigration controls’.
- I have organised London wide organising assemblies.
- I attended a demonstration against the New College of Humanities in Bloomsbury.
- I have been working on building links with NUT representatives in FE colleges.
- Alongside education trade unionists I have been organising a public meeting on the possible strike action in universities later this month. ULU is putting together materials in support of staff.
- Organising a theatre-dramatics event and talk on unpaid-internships and free labour for November.
- Working and supporting local colleges on their respective campaigns.
- Producing materials for the campaign.
– London Student Liberation Network: We held the first meeting of the network – the network is a coalition of Liberation activists across London who are based in Higher or Further education institutions aiming to pool resources, provide support and training, experience and events. The aim is that there will be four separate campaigns, within the network, Womens, Black, LGBT and Disabled, which will meet separately and also together. The network is currently only open to students who self-define into one or more of these liberation groups.
We agreed to hold a follow up meeting on the 15th October, information here: http://www.facebook.com/events/276468595805305/?fref=ts
– Local Colleges – ULU relationship:
I have been working on finishing the ‘Memorandum of Understandings’; these are documents between ULU and its local constituent colleges that set out the joint areas of work, expectations of ULU, and the role of ULU on the local campuses during the year. It will act as a good balance sheet for colleges to determine the impact of ULU for their local students.
– Student media:
I have written to every student media group in London introducing myself as I hope to work closely with them. This can be about sharing news stories, our press releases, news from the Sabbatical team, our events, and to make sure local students are aware of we have been up to. I am keen to also offer development and training opportunities for these groups.
– ULU Lobbying:
I have written to each of the Greater London Authority (GLA) members and the Major introducing myself, and beginning relations with the Assembly. We are following this up with a number of meetings.
At the last ULU Senate meeting it was decided that housing would be the major focus of our lobbying work this year. We are following this up with a meeting soon of interested parties.
ULU contributed to a consultation being done by the GLA on student housing. This is available on the ULU website.
– ULU Student Activities: For those of you unaware, as ULU Vice President, I head up the work of the SA department alongside Allan Adams, the SA department manager.
Some of the big areas of work for the department recently:
- Student activities team meetings. We held our monthly team meetings. Other meetings have included a particular focus on what we can offer local colleges in the SA area – more to come soon (see memo of understanding section).
- Organising the first ULU Student Activities committee meeting which is taking place in late October. We are organising the elections for the committee places.
- Working on extending representation on the SA Committee.
- We are now offering a plethora of development and training opportunities for London sports people; this includes first aid training, referee scholarship, captain’s training, officer training and treasurers’ training.
- We have been attending college freshers fayres, encouraging people to join our clubs and societies.
- There was a wealth of preparation from our department for ULU’s freshers fayre. We have since had thousands of sign ups, which is excellent.
- We are starting a social media platform for the department – this is to include a blog, social media pages and more. Will provide the opportunity for clubs and societies to celebrate their successes, and share news.
- We are beginning to roll out our new sports, for example, Tchoukball – we held many demonstrations at our freshers fayres for the new sports.
- We are starting a ‘Summer Sports league’ which will be for students who remain in study over the vacation period.
- We are scheduling meetings with Sports coordinators and student activities department officers.
- We have continued our work alongside the ULU Conference department to free up rooms for local colleges as well as our clubs and societies. This has gone down extremely well amongst the clubs and societies.
- We are investigating the possibility of an online sports-equipment shop which will enable students to purchase kit and equipment directly from us.
- We are currently looking into providing new volunteering projects. More news to follow soon.
We have now set up nine online networks for students and student officers to communicate, share news and organise across London, these are for: small and specialist, sports and societies, Liberation, Welfare, Education, International students, Postgraduates, Communications and media, Environment and ethics. If you would like to be added to the online network email firstname.lastname@example.org
We have made major progress with the Small and specialist colleges; they now have their own council, autonomous powers, regular meetings, and ULU has put together a package of special offers for their students (which I am waiting for feedback on).
– ULU Rights at work:
We have released our ‘Guide to Students’ Rights’ at Work’ and ‘Know Your Rights’ materials; we will giving these to local colleges, and have now set up a number of skill-share workshops and stalls to get students’ clued up. We have a public launch of the campaign with a film showing and talk called ‘Supersize my Pay’ on the 6th November.
– London Student ‘Great Debate’:
As the lead officer at ULU, I felt compelled to write something publically on “The Great Debate – Should Unisex toilets exist on university campuses” in the first edition of the London Student, in particular the “No” side, put forward by LSE Government student, Jason Wong. See here: https://dancooperulu.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/thoughts-on-the-london-student-great-debate-on-unisex-toilets/
– ULU managers meeting: we held the first ULU managers meeting of the year; this brings together the different departmental managers – it was to discuss the upcoming funding review and receive reports from each of the departments.
– ULU Campaigns and Engagement coordinator: We recently employed a campaigns and engagement coordinator; the role will be to support the sabbatical team, take a lead on the campaigns and lobbying side of our work, develop the networks and provide support for the elections.
– International students in London: I have been following the recent news story of students in London having to que for hours through the night to register their presence in the UK with the Police. I sent a letter of complaint to the Major: https://dancooperulu.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/complaint-to-the-mayor-over-treatment-of-international-students/ and I have gone to see myself, offering support and solidarity. I am going to follow this up with a letter to the London college Vice Chancellors, the UoL VC, and discuss further with the students involved.
– ULU Newsletter: We are now going to be putting out regular newsletters for London students; it will include info on what ULU has been doing, our events, meetings – and will be good as London students can get to know what we are up to.