Espressos, student media and change at the Guild :Ben Meakin, Guild President

Hi all,


SOMEHOW it’s December already. The past few months have flown by and pretty much the only thing keeping me going right now are copious espressos and Berocca and I’ve not even started my Xmas shopping yet.

Thanks to all of those who turned up to the first general meeting of the year, it was possibly the busiest GM I’ve ever been to, and despite the various hiccups throughout the evening (understatement, I know) I feel like we got a good few things discussed. Although many of you might wonder why we appeared to prioritise the Starbucks issue over housing and other more important issues, the answer is that we will never prioritise these over important welfare issues, but we had to get you lot in the room somehow! As a bit of a student media and social media fanatic it was great to see The Courier and Bay Radio team covering the night, with live streaming and blogging, people were going crazy about it whether they were in the room or just hashtagging away!

This is an amazing time to be in this job, especially with the new Vice Chancellor and the shake ups that she is bringing with her. As a team we have monthly meetings with the University senior management (the VC April McMahon, and the Pro Vice Chancellors) to make sure that student issues are at the top of the agenda all the time. This is how we have (hopefully) managed to secure funding for the coffee area, an iPad for the survey and a bus bursary scheme totalling 10k!

But it’s not all about money and neither is it all peachy. At a recent meeting, we stood firm in telling the University that it is wrong to offer returning students the option of a bunk bed. We believe that for those who are financially restricted, the choice of a cheaper room will be more appealing than a quiet working environment, and we don’t want their studying to be compromised by choosing the cheapest option of housing. With the library and learning spaces becoming incredibly full, there is no way that some people will manage to write their dissertation whilst wedged into a bunk room!

So where are we going from here? Well, in early October I instigated a review of the Guild and all of the services that we provide. This included the Guild Survey, which hopefully many of you filled in. Alongside this we will be going through an internal review to make sure that the services we deliver are exactly what you as students want. We’re also in the process of making the Guild a much nicer environment to be in and making sure we communicate with you guys better, including the implementation of a brand new website.

Music Review

On a lighter note, here is my music suggestion of the month. I recently ventured to see the band Wild Beasts at Manchester Cathedral. Wild Beasts were phenomenal, especially in such a cool venue, but I would also highly recommend their support; a Canadian group called Braids. Led by a female vocalist on the same par as Florence (of The Machine variety) and with more effects pedals than Muse, they manage to layer various cut up vocal stabs over a building atmosphere of epic proportions. They have just the right amount of beats and bleeps that I like whilst retaining that core band feel. I definitely recommend giving them a listen. Head over to Spotify and chuck them in the search bar to find a pleasant surprise. It’s this kind of chill out stuff that I need in this job!