Katie Smyth


Reiding between the lines - December

It seems like yesterday that bags were being unpacked, books being purchased and 9am attendances remained at 100%, but before you know it, we’re in December.

The time has absolutely flown by, and we as a Sabbatical Officer team have been in more boardrooms than a failing Apprentice candidate.  

On a serious note, I’ve been making some very good progress both on my manifesto, and also on some other issues which I view to be of importance to the student body.

Last month we led on the temporary resolution between the Islamic Society and the University, which really demonstrates the power of the student voice. The next step in this regard will be to lobby the University for a dedicated Faith Centre on campus, providing space for those of all faiths and none. You could help make this a reality by filling in this survey which asks a few questions on the current provision of faith space - 

I have also thoroughly enjoyed the previous two Student Council sessions. In the last meeting, I committed to lobby the University on providing students in St Mary’s College with a bus pass with access to the 36 and 63 buses. Over £30,000 was spent on a University run bus last year, and this money is no longer being spent on transport for St Mary’s. I’m currently doing all that I can to ensure that we put this right. Indeed, this dovetails with my manifesto commitment of my campaign, NUSU Affordability 2018.

One of the most interesting parts of my job is managing relations with Jesmond residents. These usually fall into one of two categories; waste and anti-social behaviour. On the waste front, I’ve had meetings with the Council and resident associations to launch a bin text reminder service, not only informing students of when their bins go out, but also providing information on what is to go in each bin. Although I’m pleased to report that we’ve seen a reduction in serious incidents in Jesmond, it is also my job to make sure that students are fairly treated.

I’m afraid that being able to report unwitnessed reports to landlords, and letters summoning students to Police Stations for informal agreements is not fair treatment. Like everyone, I am fully committed to ensuring that Jesmond is a safe and happy place to live, but not at the expense of singling out students.

But as the Students’ Union moves into its next strategic plan for the next three years, we must also look at the changes at the University and adapt. One major change since I first arrived in 2014 has been the expansion of the site next to St James’ Park, which is due to grow even larger with the arrival of Science Central. One issue that I am passionate about and currently working on are traffic restrictions on Wellington Street, which is the road that thousands of students will cross to get across to the Urban Sciences Building. I have had preliminary conversations with the Council, and I hope that they will see sense and implement traffic restrictions to protect our students.

This is, of course, not an exhaustive list of my work. I’ve written and delivered a citation for Tom Caulker, the founder of World Headquarters for the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King’s honorary degree. I’ve also helped secured funding for a TedX conference in March 2018, and had my input into the future development of the University in general.

Congratulations of completing either your first or another successful term at Newcastle, and I hope that you all find time to catch up with family and home friends over the Christmas break.

Thank you for 2017, and I look forward to an even better 2018.



Brdmajec Mfekhjkk
4:40pm on 9 Jun 18 1
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