UEA’s Place in the 2015 General Election (and why your vote counts)

Unless you’re a Politics student then it’s quite likely that you’ve given the upcoming General Election less thought than you perhaps should.

UEA is a particularly interesting place to be voting on the 7th May. In the 2010 general election, Norwich South (the constituency which UEA is in) was a true three-way marginal, but with the Green party making concerted efforts to cultivate the student vote it is possible that this year it may become one of only a few four-way marginals.

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But what does this all mean for me, you may ask? A common reason given for not voting is that, ‘my vote won’t matter’, well you are lucky enough to be a student in an area where that is demonstrably not true. During the last election, the Lib Dems won by only 310 votes – which is fewer people than those who live in Norfolk Terrace.

In a recent article on their website, the NUS (National Union of Students) reported that there are almost 200 seats in which the student vote could swing the verdict, ‘In all but six of those seats, Census data shows full time students are a bigger proportion of the electorate than the swing required to change the 2010 outcome. Students hold the key to more than a quarter of seats – 81 Conservative, 76 Labour, 25 Liberal Democrats and nine others.’

You can register to vote both at home and where you go to uni (although you can only vote in one location). NUS’s Election Hub can help you compare the statistics for the two locations, to assist you in deciding where you should vote.

Earlier this month the Guardian named UEA as the third most influential university come polling day. This is largely due to its three-way marginal which means multiple parties are prioritising the Norwich South constituency as a place to gain a seat this May.

Even if politics isn’t your thing, I’m sure you can see why a large turnout of students on polling day is especially important at UEA. Last election only 62% of 18-25 year olds voted, compared to 89% of 65+, if students want to be taken seriously by the government and not have universities seen as the easy places to make budget cuts, then we need to be politically engaged over the next three months, and exercise our influence in the polling stations come the 7th of May.

Unless of course you’re planning on voting for UKIP, in which case stay home and rethink your life choices.

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LGBT+ History Month

Following on from Welfare Week, I thought I would talk in this post about some of the other ways UEA works to support their students.

In case you didn’t know this month is LGBT+ History Month, and the UEA Student Union and the Pride Society have organised a huge variety of events including talks and free film screenings, alongside all of the usual stuff that they put on.

LGBT History Month Speakers WEB USE

https://www.uea.ac.uk/literature/engagement/lgbt-history-month

UEA Pride is a really active and friendly society who regularly organise socials in the SU bar, nights out in Norwich, or if that’s not your cup of tea there is always the Pride Bookclub – which I can personally recommend, although opting to read extra books whilst doing an English Literature degree can feel like masochism.

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LGBT History Month isn’t just about celebration but about representation, and I would really recommend you attend some of these events even if you don’t identify as LGBT+.

On a final note, if you ever want to speak to somebody about something, the UEA Advice Centre is open every weekday (10.00 – 4.00), with drop-in sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (12.00 – 2.00).

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Unio’s cups for this month!

Goats, Votes, and Dogs with Soft Coats

One of the things I love about UEA is their commitment to the welfare of their students, it’s probably the reason we usually do so well in satisfaction surveys, and this last week was UEA’s ‘Wellbeing Week’.

It saw a whole host of events, from the opening of the ‘Nap Nook’, to the visit of a fleet of dogs. We even had goats in the square – but more on that later.

UEA is now the first university in the country to have a Nap Room; students can book forty minute slots in this little retreat from the harsh realities of academia to relax and refresh themselves. Apparently there are even eye masks.

As I am currently living on campus I have no need for this facility at the moment, but come next year it may be a whole different story.

In even more exciting news, in my personal opinion that is, P.A.T. (Pets As Therapy) organised for some pet owners to bring their dogs into the LCR on Wednesday afternoon and during pre-booked slots students were able to pet a dog for ten minutes.

Look how cute she is

  Look how cute she is

The event was very relaxed and was a great opportunity for students to unwind. The owners sat with their dogs and chatted to the students, providing an informal and calm atmosphere in which students could talk about any problems they were facing at the moment, without the pressure of feeling as though they were talking to a counsellor. The event was by all accounts a great success and I hope that P.A.T. comes back again.

The other great excitement of the week was, ‘Goats for Votes’. To encourage students to register to vote (which you really should do by the way x ) a small herd of goats were brought into the Square, and once a student had registered they were allowed to pet them.

10551088_981636708530267_60805935853729111_nIt’s definitely the most unusual strategy I’ve come across to encourage students to vote, but it was a fun one and as UEA is in one of the constituencies that have been predicted to be important in May’s General Election (x), perhaps goats really will effect the government.

In older news, we have had a few sprinkles of snow, although not the Narnia style covering I was promised, and I thought I would share with you a few snaps of UEA in the snow:

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The Flatmates…

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Hannah’s Norwich Highlights: Part 2

It is often said that sequels never quite match up to the original but that is a trend I hope to buck today as we continue to explore the numerous delights of Norwich.

It was pointed out to me this last week that for a blog about student life my highlights were conspicuously free of the usual watering holes that students frequent, so we shall rectify this by starting with-

Favourite Pub:

The Belgian Monk - 7 Pottergate, City Centre, Norwich NR2 1DS

The Belgian Monk – 7 Pottergate, City Centre, Norwich NR2 1DS

I should probably begin by admitting that I don’t go to many pubs besides the Student Union, but if you’re like me then I would heartily encourage you to try out The Belgian Monk at some point. It has a wide selection of beers, serves food, and, best of all, makes alcoholic milkshakes…. need I say more?

Favourite Fish and Chips Shop:

Grosvenor Fish Bar - 28 Lower Goat Lane, Norwich NR2 1EL

Grosvenor Fish Bar – 28 Lower Goat Lane, Norwich NR2 1EL

I should begin by saying that Grosvenor Fish Bar is not just a Fish and Chips shop, it is as one reviewer on TripAdvisor put it, ‘like being welcomed to Heaven’. It is the nicest Fish and Chips shop I have seen in my life. It’s decorated in a kind of vintage fashion with downstairs seating for up to fifty people, and they regularly run deals with The Birdcage, a bar on the other side of the street, so that you can order your food and then have it delivered to you in the bar with a glass of bubbly. Perfection.

I think the queue in the photo above speaks for just how well loved an establishment this is.

(Some of my) Favourite Places to Shop:

Norwich Covered Market

Norwich Covered Market

The Norwich Market has been a staple of the city since the 11th Century when it was established to meet the needs of the Norman settlers after the invasion of 1066, today it has around 200 stalls and sells everything from flowers to fish.

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Norwich Market is one of the largest in Britain

It is practically impossible to live in Norwich without seeing the market regularly as it is the focal point for the city, and is well worth a wander through.

The Royal Arcade

The Royal Arcade

Whilst you are in the market square it is also well worth your time to take a stroll down the Royal Arcade. Built in 1899, the Royal Arcade was designed to provide a beautiful place to shop (the tiles were designed by WJ Neatby who also helped design the Harrods’ Food Hall), it is a exquisite example of the Art Nouveau style. If that wasn’t enough it also contains the Colman’s Mustard Museum.

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All in all I believe the travel writer George Borrow (1803-1881) was quite right when he described Norwich as, “a fine city”;

‘A fine old city, truly, is that, view it from whatever side you will; but it shows best from the east, where the ground, bold and elevated, overlooks the fair and fertile valley in which it stands. Gazing from those heights, the eye beholds a scene which cannot fail to awaken, even in the least sensitive bosom, feelings of pleasure and admiration. At the foot of the heights flows a narrow and deep river, with an antique bridge communicating with a long and narrow suburb, flanked on either side by rich meadows of the brightest green, beyond which spreads the city; the fine old city, perhaps the most curious specimen at present extant of the genuine English town’