General Meeting 14/10/2014: ‘The Devil is in the Detail’

Excited chatter fills the SU Main Hall as students file in, more or less thrilled about being at the year’s first General Meeting (GM). As the clock strikes 18:08, we’re still waiting to begin. Purple dots the SU Main Hall as the Executive Committee 2014-15 file in and spread out across the hall. Tonight, the […]

Advice for Freshers they won’t tell you in the Welcome Pack

Here you are. A bright-eyed young student, arriving for your first day of Freshers at Royal Holloway. When you get to your Halls, you’ll get given lots of information and bits of paper (which you’ll most probably lose – I did). One of these is the Welcome Pack. However, the university only tell you the things […]

‘You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’ – or do you?

The old classic: “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” is thrown around a lot. It’s one of those bittersweet feelings in life, where retrospection is simultaneously your best friend and your worst nightmare. With my time at Holloway now drawing to a close on the eve of my last exam (why I’m […]

The Reformed Student?

The summer. A time of being exam free, where lying down all day in the sun and drinking a cider at 11am seems perfectly acceptable and where short-shorts make their repeated dreaded appearance. Either way, it is meant to be our time to relax. Well, that’s wrong… and I shall explain why. Having recently taken […]

The Meaning of News

All day, every day, our lives are permeated by facts and knowledge of others than ourselves. We spend hours of our time checking Twitter and Facebook, updating, liking and reading about other people’s lives. But how much of what actually matters do we absorb? How many young people prefer to spend their time online checking […]

My Advice to Freshers? Be a Snob.

A-Levels well and truly in the past, exam certificates already lining the bottom of your wardrobe, you’ve made it to one of the top universities in the country. Congratulations. You’re young, intelligent – the cream of the crop – and you can do anything, right? Well, so they tell you anyway. We’re bred on the […]

SURHUL Elections 2014

The nominations for the annual SURHUL elections are now open until March 7th. Although you may be preparing to dodge the flood of campaign teams lobbying outside Windsor building as you skate to your next lecture, or getting ready to brush off the hundreds of campaign leaflets that are about to clog up your bag – I ask whether if it has ever crossed your mind to take part in these elections?

With the whole campus entrusted to elect, four Sabbatical Officers, Student Trustees, the entire Executive Committee and the heads of the student media organisations: The Orbital, Insanity Radio, and RhubarbTV – the Students’ Union are urging Royal Holloway students to consider running in the 2014 elections.

Elections are key to ensuring the student voice is heard within the University and the Students’ Union. Many students think it is not for them or doesn’t affect them. So, here are a few misconceptions about being an officer and running in an election…

“You need to have been involved in the Union before to run and definitely if you want to win”

Actually, you just need to be passionate about the role. You don’t need to have been a society president, part time officer or volunteer. Full training is given for the role to ensure you get up to speed before you start. The Sabbaticals have a handover period in July, and the Executive Committee are given training at the start of the academic year to help you settle into the role.

“I’m not popular enough to win!”

It’s not about popularity or how many societies or sports teams you’re a part of or know. Any candidate can approach clubs and societies and ask them to support them and the best way to get students to champion you is to write an honest, appealing manifesto that speaks to the students.

“Officers can’t achieve anything in a year!”

In addition to representing you at a local, regional and national level, Sabbatical Officers sit on the Board of Trustees at the Union, and are heavily involved with the day-to- day operations of the SU. It’s their job to help facilitate and implement any changes or improvements to the running of the Union and to University policy, so this is why a lot of their ‘behind-the-scenes’ work may go unnoticed to many students.

However, they can of course achieve considerable successes within a year – whether it’s lobbying the University for improved services or organising major events, their influence can be felt throughout all aspects of University life.

Running in an election is a rewarding and exciting challenge, sometimes all you need is a bit of faith and some support to make that first step. Chatting to a member of the Exec Committee or one of the Sabbs can calm those initial fears. So why not give it a go and hand in that Nomination Pack? Ask yourself, what will your story be?

Article: Ashna Hurynag

Photographs: SURHUL (Main); Twitter.com (Featured).

LGBT History Month

As March is fast approaching and bringing about Women’s History Month, it feels right to take a look back LGBT History Month, which occurs in every February in the United Kingdom. Although there are many arguments against minority history months, such as the belief that they serve as a reminder of difference and maintain lines of segregation within historical thinking, such minority history months have many benefits and teach us a lot about groups that we may or may not identify with.

LGBT History Month was kick-started in the UK by Sue Sanders and the charity ‘Schools Out’ back in 2005. The Metropolitan Police Services and the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as Amnesty International, are essential in developing the sustainability of this month. February was chosen as it was considered a month that usually saw a lull in the school calendar, therefore it was the prime opportunity for the organisers to make a difference and associate February with a monumental celebration.

There have been many important people and events linked to the concept, such as a reception held by Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street in 2009, a pre-launch event held in the Tate Modern and the Royal Courts of Justice. Notable patrons alongside Gordon Brown include actor Ian McKellen.

LGBT History Month became possible due to the abolition of Section 28, which was heavily campaigned for by ‘Schools Out’. Section 28 prohibited local authorities from promoting homosexuality, or from suggesting that a homosexual family could be considered as “normal”. Thankfully, 2005 saw the removal of Section 28 and the beginning of the massive political and sociological advances, which the LGBT community has begun to experience over the last decade.

So that is the history of the month, but what does it mean for us today? Well, here at Royal Holloway February has been a very strong month in terms of promoting LGBT rights and awareness. On the first of February, the Amnesty International Society, in collaboration with LGBT+ Society organised a protest outside the Russian Embassy in London against the anti-LGBT legislation in Russia and in support of the subsequent controversy surrounding the Sochi Winter Olympics. In addition the LGBT+ Society organised a film festival with different nights, concentrating on each letter under the umbrella term, to encourage solidarity and the discussion of important issues for LGBT individuals today.

Of course, there is always more work to be done. Yet the impact that LGBT History Month has started to make over the last nine years cannot be considered as anything less than a success. Hopefully this progress will continue, particularly for individuals who identify as trans, as this is sadly the area which still needs recognition.

Article: Jack Kilker

Photographs: flickr.com (Main); en.wikipedia.org (Featured).

Spoken Word: Much More Than Words

Amongst the numerous art forms that exist within the creative world, spoken word is without a doubt one of the most thought provoking types of art. So what is spoken word? This particular talent revolves around the poet’s articulate delivery of words on a specific topic which is usually presented in the style of storytelling. Its success is dependent on the poet’s lyrical fluency and expression conveyed within a single performance. The poet aims to captivate his/her listeners and generally seeks to challenge and inspire the audience to see the world through their eyes.

You may be surprised to know that spoken word is not a new form of art; it has existed throughout history. Ancient Greeks would include spoken word poetry during their Olympic games as a way of making political and social comments to large audiences that ranged up to thousands of people. Modern spoken-word became very popular in African-American culture during the 60s’ when the African –American civil rights movement occurred in amidst the social and cultural discourse that heavily prevailed throughout America. Great speakers would deliver their words through musically influenced narratives which aimed make political and or social proclamations to the world. An exceptional example of this is the political figure Martin Luther King who’s speech on freedom; “I have a Dream” became one of the most inspirational moments in history to date. He used the art of spoken word to comment on humanity’s need to surpass creed colour and race in order to emancipate humanity of its own shackles. M. Luther King’s speech serves as an ever-present reminder to a contemporary audience of humanity’s infinite potential to achieve greatness in regards to personhood. In addition, other inspirational people such as Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington are also prominent figures whose spoken word poetry left an imprint in history.

This art form still remains integral within our modern culture to date; for example slam poetry is a competition where spoken word artists compete against each other either in prose or verse and their performance is judged by the way they convey their story. Thus, is a prime example of how spoken word has been used throughout the centuries as a way for people to express personal and public affairs to the world. Overall, the hallmark of spoken word is its use of concrete language that seeks to emanate a tone of seriousness from the performer.

Spoken word excites the senses as the poet takes the listener on a journey to different places and experiences by skilfully creating vivid images and sounds through an eloquent yet powerful projection of words.

Article: Victoria Ormé

Photograph: en.wikipedia.org.

Lost In Translation: ‘Just a small town girl living in a southern world’

For the ‘minority’, living in Surrey can seem disparate, bewildering and alien. Particularly at Royal Holloway where the Southern supremacist reigns, one can feel anomalous, isolated and misunderstood. I am of course referring to that special (and quite frankly friendlier) category of homo-sapiens that is the humble Northerner. It has become commonplace to be introduced in the manner of “this is Chloë, she’s Northern” as though my geographical habitation is my ‘fun fact’ to allow people to get to know me. Having spent all my life living in the North West (although knowing that such thing as ‘the south’ existed), being launched into a comparatively subterranean world can take some adjusting.

Thus, it is not unusual, having said something, to be greeted by a blank face with shifting eyes to the person beside me seeking an explanation. Naturally, my native tongue sticks out; there is many a word one would not be able to use without causing confusion. For instance, ‘pants’ in the North means ‘trousers’ and not underwear. We like to add letters to our shop names – THasda, TescoS, THiceland etc., whereas the frugality of letters in the Southern style of referring to shop is less flexible and of course the slight extension of the names bemuse people in this region. Speaking of shops, what even is Budgens?

On the subject of food, normal phrases become nonentities, for example, ‘chips and gravy’ is not a meal; when combining the words ‘chips’ and ‘gravy’ you may as well be speaking in Slovak. My town (unfortunately adhering to the stereotype) is the home of the Holland’s pie, wholly superseding the Pukka pie; the prestige of the former pastry is to such an extent that Tesco(s) devotes sections of their produce to this specific brand. Egham’s Tesco is, unfortunately, deprived of this beauty and makes shopping there – absent of the shining green packaging looming over the isles – a little like foreign territory. Not to mention the on-going, tumultuous debate which has fissured friendships, broken families and produced rages, that is tea Vs dinner. Northerners possess a very particular set of skills; skills that make us a nightmare for people like you, skills which Southerners lack: to distinguish between the meal ‘tea’ and the hot beverage. Or we just use the generic word ‘brew’ (tea or coffee, mainly tea) to sort out the matter; what can I say, we’re master linguists.

Despite all this, the benefit of being unique (so to speak), hearing “I love your accent. Where are you from?” multiple times a day counteracts the ‘language’ barrier. People are instantly interested in you because you’re different. My housemates have even become accustomed to my dialect. They now understand words that are not in the dictionary like ‘owt’, or to translate ‘anything’. Ultimately, I find myself vaguely sympathetic to those who don’t understand my dialect, people of the Southern world, you’re forgiven for your ignorance. After all, I do come from a place where it’s okay to say “a’right cock” in public…

Article: Chloe Seymour

Photographs: forums.digitalspy.co.uk (Main); roughyeds.co.uk (Featured).