The University of London Union Student activities department has undergone sweeping changes this year. From August 2012, we introduced a new team and new sporting and societal initiatives for London students.
There was recognition that prior to this year the service that London students deserved wasn’t being delivered. There were new staff brought in to lead the department and I, as Vice President, arrived to take up my post at the department.
We have taken the overhaul of the department very seriously, as ULU’s student activities make up a crucial part of ULU’s offering.
We have set-up an online sports & societies shop to cater for sports teams, clubs and societies. It offers a wide range of uniforms, equipment and leisurewear. The unique element about this project is that any proceeds made from the shop will be placed into a pot used to fund University of London student projects. The ULU Student Activities committee, which is a set of elected students from ULU clubs and societies, will democratically decide on how the money is spent.
We have introduced new sports for London students through our ‘Get Involved’ Programme. This includes: Dodgeball, Futsal, Roller Derby, Softball, Tag American football, Tchoukball and 5 A-side Football – each of them are sports that are not offered anywhere else.
We now offer student clubs and societies high quality training and development opportunities. This includes referee scholarship, first aid- training, and support for finding sponsorship or pitches for your sports team.
Students from across the colleges told us at the beginning of this year they were eager to take part in pan – London events. We have brought together officers and societies to organise a series of events for LGBT history month – a cultural and music night, a variety show, and much more. We are putting together a cross – London world record attempt in which we will be trying to play 5 – a – side football for 500 + hours! ULU is running a ‘Societies convention’ that will bring together students involved in societies to share best practice, to learn and develop their skills, and meet other interested students from across the City. We are also organising a ‘Clash of the Bands’ – bringing together student musicians to compete!
ULU is known for its club nights. However we have been keen for this to not be our sole focus. The most successful of our new cultural events has been the ‘ULU Vintage Cinema Series’, which has seen ULU profiled in ‘Time Out’ magazine.
We are running women’s – only self defence classes. This will be 6 sessions on understanding personal safety and building confidence to protect oneself. This is in conjunction with the introduction of a full time women’s officer at ULU.
This year the ULU Football League program has seen the inclusion of teams that historically haven’t competed in any cross London competition. These include Birkbeck and Royal Academy of Music as well as non UoL teams. The league has run in conjunction with the AFA and been closely linked with other ULU activities like Futsal and our Referee scholarship program.
With the spring term starting the first round of fixtures for ULU Cup competitions have begun with both UoL and Non UoL teams competing in men’s and women’s football competitions, and men’s Rugby 1st XI’s competing for the prestigious Gutteridge Cup. Finals will be held at Imperials Harlington Ground on the 9th, 17th and 20th of March.
We are starting a ULU Volunteering Programme. This is being kicked off with our ‘Clubbing Crew’ initiative in which students will provided assistance and care for young disabled people.
Only 6 months ago ULU student activities department was in an extremely poor state. However due to the work of our team we have started to turn things around. If you are a student in London involved in a club or society – get in touch.
Daniel Lemberger Cooper, ULU Vice President.