Katie Smyth


End of Year Report

What have you done this term?



This final term has been one I’ve been very proud of and thoroughly enjoyed.  But it’s been no less busy!


As mentioned in my previous blog, the NUSU team went to the big University committee we have with them every two months equipped with the report proposing an introduction of free sanitary items to students. If you hadn’t already seen on social media, they agreed to its introduction and it should all be up and running by the start of the next academic year. This has been an 8 month long project for me, and I’m over the moon that it’s not all been for nothing. The positive response from students has been great to see.


With the local elections taking over Newcastle, myself and Sophie [Activities Officer] were very active and vocal on promoting students to vote and lobbying councillors to take student issues seriously.


On a lighter note, myself and Sophie have also been hard at work organising the first ever NUSU Summer Jam. To be held on the final day of exams in the evening, we’re turning the middle of campus into an outdoor festival. With live student bands, NSR hosting, local food trucks, pop-up bars and a silent disco, it’s sure to be a great celebration for everyone after exams in the sun. Don’t miss out.


I also wrote and submitted an 8 page report to NUSU’s Trustee Board to finally complete divesting from fossil fuels, more details below.


What has been your biggest achievement?



Achieving fossil fuel divestment for NUSU. I led on this in collaboration with our Director of Finance. Being environmentally conscious is something very important to me, and being President has meant I’ve been in the position to take action in my own organisation this year.


But it wasn’t easy – to convince a Board to entirely change its investments which have existed for a decade or so requires a lot of research, and as a History student, this was initially way out of my depth. I had to develop a knowledge of some serious financial jargon, legalities of changing investments and ensure that NUSU wasn’t going to suddenly go bankrupt.


It was something out of my comfort zone and not usually what I’m good at, but a detailed 8 page report later and with a passion to pull it off, NUSU has followed through with its commitment to divest from fossil fuels.


What could you have improved on?


Arriving at 9am and maybe using less slang.


What piece of advice would you pass on to your successor?


Get the University onside early on, make them value you. Then when you think the time is right, hit them with the hard truths and start implementing your ideas. They’ll be much more inclined to listen to you.


Also, never lose sight that you’re here for students. If you ever try and distance yourself from them and work too closely with the University, you might as well not turn up to work anymore.


Be Bold.




Any additional sections that the report writer deems necessary


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