Chair's Blog: Week 7

Bare with me - this might seem like a tangent, but it will all make sense!

So, when ideas are submitted to the Union Executive, and the committee can't make a decision about whether the idea would be considered contentious by students, the idea is sent to a student jury (a group of randomly selected students). 

In week 5, we held our first ever student jury! The jurors considered two ideas:

  • Do more to protect the environment - including stopping the use of disposable cups in its shop and increasing its charge for plastic carrier bags
  • Become more politically neutral - staying out of debates on international politics and focussing on higher education and cost of living  issues that directly affect students

After meeting, the jurors decided that:

  1. A student submitted an idea to encourage the union to do more for the environment, including to ban paper coffee cups and to increase the price for plastic bags in Central. The Jury decided not to ban coffee cups but to make it easier and more appealing for students to use reusable ‘keep cups’, such as discounts and a deposit scheme. They also decided not to increase the price of plastic carrier bags, but to set up recycling or plastic-bag-swap points. The union should also run more recycling awareness campaigns and work with the University to provide more recycling points around campus.
  2. A student submitted an idea to restrict the union’s political campaigning to just higher education and cost of living issues. In the evidence pack, the original proposer clarified that they only wanted the union to focus on these issues, and the Jury received information about the legal restrictions the union already has, for example to not support political parties. They decided to reject the idea.

Good stuff.

Sometimes the Executive gets to move away from thinking about governance... 

This week, we looked at the applications for LU Friends Funding. Every December, the Friends Programme provides funds to use across campus for projects that fall outside statutory funding but are vital to the life of the University. This is made possible by donations from alumni and other friends of the University. However, the Students' Union only gets to put forward 5 applications - which the Executive vote for as a group. This year bids going forward this year are for Green Lancaster, the Sailing Club, Boat Club, theatre Group and the Film Production Society! If you club or society would be interested in putting forward a bid for next year, get in contact with our VP Activities

More fun for the Exec: GRAD BALL. Already, we are thinking about the summer! Grad Ball is LUSU's end of year event, where we all get super dressed up and go to Blackpool Tower (Activities include pictures on the windy peer, a trip right to the top of the tower, the CIRCUS and, last year, Cascada. I know). So The Exec had the joy of agreeing the proposal and budget... but, more importantly, Sunday Week 29, save the date. 

Here I am, photo bombing this lovely photo. Having a ball.


Anyway, back to governance. My fave segment, STUDENT IDEAS.

This week, students were asking for Officers to lobby the University for more water fountains in the library (fair! Can't deal with the drips that come out), and if it was possible to get a short nap or relax area for students? Now although I'd love to set up a hammock from the tree in the library, did you know that each college has its own common room, which is your space to use however you like! And most academic departments will have a similar space - and if you'd prefer to be more active between lectures, the campus woodland trail is a nice way to kill an hour and we have just play sessions all over the place. The final idea submitted to the Exec is to reduce the number of products in Central using palm oil. It's a big one, palm oil is literally in everything. The Exec decided the idea should be considered by a jury - explanation being its better for the environment, but more costly for students. Point of info: the suppliers are Central are the Coop who recently wrote this update. We will find out what happens at the next student jury! 

My officer update from the week is:

Sugarhouse update: I met with property developers and City Council to discuss what the impact of the proposed developments would have on student experience and the local economy. We have been working closely with our legal team to continue to argue why there should be more consideration on the effects of low frequency noise, and what mitigation is available. We have begun to campaign to students, MPs, Councillors and local businesses as to why the Sugarhouse is a vital part of Lancaster.

We are launching the Vote Fest campaign this term! This is aimed at celebrating the elections period! I look forward to seeing all the campaigning come in the next few weeks.