Katie Smyth


Reiding between the lines - November

Reiding Between the Lines - November

Welcome to Reiding between the lines, my new blog updating students, staff and everyone else about my work and all of the other great stuff that NUSU do.

As each of our new students settle into their time at Newcastle, November has arrived. Despite the nights beginning to draw in and the weather starting to become a little wetter, Newcastle United find themselves at the dizzy heights of the top half of the Premier League table.

But it’s not only at St James’ Park where things are looking up. At the Students’ Union we’ve been working really hard to represent your academic and extra-curricular interests, and our efforts since we took office in July are starting to bear fruit.

I’ve made some good progress on my employability agenda for the year, and will be launching The Placement Portal at the end of this week. Many students can get all of the logistical information surrounding placements from our brilliant careers service, but this campaign is there to provide advice and help from students, to students about taking a placement. It’s not just engineering or scientific students that take placements either; everyone is eligible and I thoroughly recommend that you look into taking one.

But for those not taking placements, the Students’ Union are doing loads of other work to ensure you have the best University experience possible. One of my core manifesto commitments in March 2017 was to protect and improve mental and physical health access for all students, and I’m delighted to say that the University have agreed to implement an online GP registration process. Students will no longer have to fiddle around with pencils, pens and have to remember their tetanus jab from 2005, but instead will be able to register for a GP from the comfort of the library or home.

The good work doesn’t end there. NUSU continue to work hard to ensure that students are having as much cash to splash on the things that matter; being able to spend time with friends. To do this, we’ve launched an affordability campaign called NUSU Affordability 2018. We’ve lobbied the University at the very highest level, and been able to gain access to the Value for Money Committee which was previously a vacuum of student representation. We’ve already made life easier for regular students in the library, by negotiation with Eat@Newcastle to secure a new £3 meal deal. The work won’t finish here though. We’re lobbying the University to re-evaluate petrol base units for students that have to drive to their placements, and we also want to make sport at the University more affordable.

Another manifesto point which I’ve been able to tackle is the issue of word processing exams. Although this is by no means a full time commitment from the University, I’ve been able to secure a pilot scheme in January 2018 to test this form of assessment out. NUSU will produce a report after the pilot, and we’ll look towards ensuring that every student has the choice of typing their exams should they want to in the long term.

So, as I hope you can see, the manifesto that I ran on in March 2017 isn’t there to line the waste paper basket. I’ve made a huge effort to implement the policies which I was elected on, and continue to try and represent the talented and hard-working student body at Newcastle as well as I possibly can.

But if there is anything that you think needs to change, submit a form on our You Want It, We Got It page.

Have a great month.


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