Sunday, 21 July 2013

Week 1 - Down the Rabbit-Hole


Welcome to my new blog! We're apparently getting blogs on the ULU Website when uni starts, but I start office now so It only makes sense for me to start now! Before this week I've been up to loads, I've been on Women's Hour on Radio for talking about student feminism, I've been asked to be on the Abortion Rights UK Board, I've been on various campus talking to women's and feminist groups about  how I can work with them next year. As you can see, hardly ever a dull day in my role.

(I have a unashamed obsession with Alice in Wonderland and dedicated a third of my dissertation to it. #sorrynotsorry)


So this was my first official day at work. If you know me personally you'll know when it comes to feminism I do over time so I've actually been hanging around ULU for over a month - But this was my official first day. I finally got my new desk and desktop all set up I could start pull my masses of notes together, starting with writing up the Hollaback ULU report. Along with report writing I also began to outline how autonomous Liberation Campaigns and Officers work within the democratic structure in ULU. I've also introduced the sabb weekly calendar to the office which are all now using properly so we all know roughly what each sabb is up to during the week.


Second day of work was ... eventful. As some of you may know already, the University of London called the police on a female student activist for chalking a message about the 3COSAS Campaign outside the ULU Building and Senate House. One of my tweets of rage ended up being featured in the Independent the next day - Police accused of disproportionate force at ULU chalking arrest. You can read the statement from the sabbatical officers on the ULU Website. As you can imagine, not the greatest amount of work was completed that day. Learnt how sudden events quickly warp how student officers plan their day. At the end of the day I attended Birkbeck Women's Campaign outdoor AGM to meet and discuss some plans with the new members of the committee.


After three long days of being tied to keyboards I finally finished the first draft of the Hollaback ULU Report (I also found some snazzy folders near the Officer pinter as you can see). I would like to thank Rhul FemSoc Alumni April Howard and ULU President Michael Chessum for spending time reading over it and proofing it for me :). I'll be presenting the research first at the Hollaback ULU workshop at the ULU Officer and activists training on the 29-31 July. Alongside talking people through the research, I will be also telling people about the overall Hollaback ULU Campaign and how campuses can get involved. So if you're interested in how to tackle sexual harassment on your campus make sure you swing by.


I took the day off from work to graduate! I Zoomed back to Egham town and did the ol' robe wearing, cap throwing, photo snapping business. Others will agree that basically dressing like batman in that weather wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but we made it through, and most importantly: no one fell over. I'm now an official graduate of Royal Holloway University of London and after three long years I have a 2.1 Media Arts BA (Hons). Thanks to everyone who helped get through the stream of difficult times I encountered. I hope all the wonderful friends I've made go off to do great things. I'll probably try and get into higher education again if I can ever afford it, which seem to be the case with many friends graduating that week. I believe that this only adds more reasons to why we need to build a strong movement against the  attacks to HE & FE.


On friday I began the day by finishing the second draft of the Hollaback ULU Survey. After that I headed to NUS to meet up with NUS Women's Officer Kelley Temple to review the findings and potential next steps. After that me and Kelley attended the End Violence Against Women AGM. EVAW has started to do work with girls in schools which is great but we hope in the future that will help us to work on campaigns to do with women in HE and FE. There was a really impressive presentation by Sharyn Potter on tackling rape and getting better victim support in US Campuses for students of all genders, races and and sexuality. She included lots of useful things on empowering bystanders and we got to discuss the similarities with UK and US campuses.


  • Note to self - Eat properly!
  • Note to self - Remember you have to get up early tomorrow, your legs won't thank you the next morning if you take a 4k walk after work.
  • Student activists, don't count on authority figures to look out for you, look after each other.
  • As well as women's representation unions really need to start looking at black* students representation and outreach. There was a low turn out from Black students for the Hollaback! ULU survey and photos of NUS training days usually have an average of about 4 black students in them. It's not representative of the number of black students in HE & FE at all and we all need to do more to tackle this. Probably will do a follow up post on this!

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