Katie Smyth


End of term report Jan-March 19




What have I done this term?

With 2019 commencing, there was a classic sense of 'new year, new opportunity to ruffle feathers.' This began in early January with getting the University to commit to actually putting effort into a Black History Month this year, in tandem with NUSU. Hopefully this will materialise. 

Two key things which have dominated my efforts over the past months are lobbying the University to introduce free menstrual products on campus, and working on NUSU divesting from fossil fuels. Progress has been made in the former, with a full report being completed [shoutout to Joe Barton] outlining why they should introduce this initiative and all the added details I won't bore you with. This is all due to come to a head in the coming weeks - by the end of March there should be some indication as to whether free products will be a reality soon. With regards to divestment, it's been great to meet with student campaigners on an issue they and I feel so passionately about. Lots of research has been done in the Students' Union to find options to divest, and we're getting close. 

Myself and Jonny got Shijo to run a 50% off week which saw them sell 500 meals a day and students queueing out the door!

Additionally, I successfully lobbied the University to introduce more regular updates on their own investment portfolio, from their annual updates to quarterly releases. 

On a smaller level, a mini-kitchen has been introduced on the top floor of NUSU, equipped with a microwave!!! Take that Robinson Library. We're getting close to introducing a piano in the building for those who want to brush up on their skills, or as a method of mental health self-help. Finally, I've been working with the Libraries to introduce student art on those horrible staircases of theirs. 

What has been your biggest achievement?

Organising a talk by Maisie Williams (Arya Stark of Game of Thrones!). It was bizarre to have a Hollywood Star inside the Union, let alone meeting one. She did an empowering talk about her journey into the creative arts and eventually into the upper echelons of acting, and it was fascinating to hear. The real highlight was the 45 minute Q&A she held afterwards. The queue stretched all the way to the Armstrong building and student feedback was positive. Hopefully this paves the way for more big stars having a ginger biscuit on the activities floor. It was great to see how capitalising on a random email in December from her agent could turn into one of the highlights of the year. 

What could you have improved on?

Definitely attending more student events. There's been some fantastic things organised and held by students this term - notably the Stand Up to Racism conference, NUTS' Rent show and the LGBT+ Conference - all of these and more I would've loved to attend. It's very easy to get stuck in the office and university meetings and not get out and see all the things that really matter and seeing the efforts put in by students to create amazing events. This is something I want to improve upon before I finish.

What do you plan to do next term?

Try and finish as many manifesto points as possible. Probably end up emailing the CEO of the printing company to get those printer credit transfers. Continuing to lobby the Council to keep students safe.As mentioned above, attending more student events. Extending the Participation bursary for students. Officially divesting from fossil fuels and getting the Uni to introduce free menstrual products. Improving my goal record this season for my football team. Safe.

Any additional sections that the report writer deems necessary



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