January Blog by President Kevin McStravock

Kevin McStavock explains what he got up to in the month of January

James McGrath, CBS Studios and Kevin McStravock, UUSU President

Welcome back to the new semester everyone, I hope all the New Year resolutions are going well and haven’t went out the window like my own. I trust the student loans are looking healthy also – I’ve no doubt they’re being spent on healthy balanced meals and not in any of the local establishments!

All things aside, I am hopeful that the exam season has treated you well and you’re ready and raring to go. January wasn’t so bad as far as post-Christmas months go. I wasn’t long back until I was away again – using my annual leave to visit our previous Vice President for Campaigns & Communication, Micky Quigg. Micky is now working for New York GAA as their Hurling Development Officer so I reluctantly packed my case and headed stateside.

It was great to get a break ahead of the new semester and I even managed to connect with some of our Alumni whilst I was there. I took a trip to CBS Studios courtesy of James McGrath, a former student of the Jordanstown campus who now works as a Director for their Evening and Weekend News. As a Journalism graduate, I was in my element going behind the scenes of such a huge news broadcast corporation. It’s also great to see Ulster students making their mark internationally.

My feet were barely back on home turf before I was back to work and attending Senate (the senior academic committee of the university). One of the key outcomes of this meeting was the announcement that Ulster University will not be entering the Teaching Excellence Framework this year. We hold student council policy mandating us to oppose the framework, known as TEF due to it’s link to the marketisation of higher education across the UK.

Senate also gave permission for the Pro-Vice Chancellor Education, Professor Paul Bartholomew to consult students on proposed changes to the degree algorithms which, if approved, will see future students being assessed on their second year performance as well as their final year performance. We’ll be helping Professor Bartholomew to get student feedback on this so keep an eye on your inboxes for more info!

Some of my later work this month including finishing off the finer details of the Four Corners Festival which we’re helping to host on the Belfast campus on February 7th, for the third year in a row. The Belfast campus activity is part of a wider programme of events taking place around the city and brings together Year 11 pupils from all areas of the city for a day of interactive workshops and lessons. This year will see even more of our clubs and societies getting involved with the event and sharing their expertise with the pupils. Keep your eyes posted for a blog post on how it went later in the month!

I can’t squeeze much more into this month’s blog but a few things to watch out for in February: our Mental Health campaign will be running all this week (starting Monday 5th February) followed by our Sexual Health campaign. Both offer important and useful information for students  Our social media pages will have all the key information on both campaigns so you can check your favourite platform for updates. If you’re a course rep, we have our Student Voice Conference coming up later this month so make sure to book your slot for that!

That’s the latest from me – the team and I are always keen to do everything we can to make things better for you. If there’s anything you’d like us to get involved with, whether it’s lobbying for change or offering advice on something different, please feel free to drop me an email on president@uusu.org.

Happy Valentine’s month!

Kevin

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