8 January 2014

Storm evacuations, Greedy Vice Chancellors, Student with meat cleavers…

Students evacuated from Aberystwyth accommodation

Aber Uni Evacuation

Storms on the Welsh coast have caused 250 students living in accommodation on the seafront to be evacuated.

Students were given only a few minutes notice of the evacuation and the high tides, whipped up by the weather, have largely destroyed the promenade. Although exams were due to start this week, staff and students have been discouraged from travelling to the seaside town.

Our take: It’s genuinely heart warming to see that a large number of Aberystwyth students acted as volunteers during the evacuation. It’s easy to miss the sense of a community all pulling together in an increasingly fragmented world, and this should be celebrated. And it’s a massive relief to anyone who spent their Christmas break eating, drinking and celebrating instead of revising, you’ve got one more week!

Student outrage at Vice Chancellor payrises

Greedy Vice Chancellors

The news that Vice Chancellors at some of the nations’ top universities have taken an 8% pay rise, has sparked mass outrage amongst students and unions this week.

Some senior managers are being paid as much as £400,000 a year, while courses and staff face cuts and other staff, such as cleaners, barely make minimum wage.

Our take:  As you might expect, we’re completely outraged by this as well. Vice-Chancellors shouldn’t be getting a pay rise while the rest of the UK higher education system is suffering, it’s pure hypocrisy. A spokesperson for the Russell Group has claimed the pay rises are in line with the demands and pressure of the job, which makes us question exactly what does a Vice-Chancellor do?

SSE to reduce energy bills

SSE to reduce bills

Energy provider SSE has confirmed that from March it will reduce its tariffs by an average of 3.5%, for those with dual fuel agreements following changes to Green Energy levies.

Although this is a reduction, the price increase of 8.5% from November last year is still in effect, so prices have still risen, just by a smaller amount.

Our take: At first this seems positive, dare we say a rare win for the consumer. But that’s just too good to be true, in reality, the energy provider has put it’s prices up, dodged a government levy and then marginally dropped their prices as a token gesture. Cheeky!

Chinese Student roams halls with meat cleavers

Meat Cleaver Chinese Student

A Chinese student at Huddersfield university has admitted to patrolling his Halls of residence on Christmas day with two meat cleavers after being mugged.

Gingyuan Xlao had his wallet and jacket stolen and was left ‘scared to death’ after the event. He says he was carrying the cleavers for his own protection and didn’t want to hurt anyone.

Our take: Well this has made our Christmas day seem a little dull, although there was that one incident with Uncle… Nevermind. If Gingyuan is telling the truth (and why wouldn’t he be?) it’s a sorry state of affairs that someone felt that scared on a UK campus, but maybe next time he should consider calling the police instead.

Prince William to study Agriculture at Cambridge

Prince William Agriculture

Prince William has enrolled on a ten week course on agriculture at Cambridge University to prepare for his future role as the Duchy of Cornwall.

The course does not lead to a formal qualification, but it is expected that William will attend between 18-20 hours of lectures and seminars and will be assessed throughout the term.

Our take: Lets hope William actually mixes with some normal students (or as normal as Cambridge students get AMIRITE Oxford?) and sees what student life is really like. And our SEO expert has said we definitely need to mention the Royal Baby here, so we also hope Prince William doesn’t neglect his parental duties.

State of the Machin: On New Year’s Resolutions

New Years Resolutions

I hate making New Year’s Resolutions. They’re supposed to be beneficial, but really it’s just annual summary of how bad you are at everything.

Drinking less, going to the gym more and not leaving things to the last minute, they’re all noble ambitions. But to someone as weak willed as me, just one of these is completely unfeasible never mind attempting them all the same time on one of the biggest hangover days of the year.

But like the glutton for punishment I am, for 2014 my three self improvements are…

Budget Better

Keeping track of finances is one of the things I struggle with most. After all I write for Save the Student about news and, thankfully for you, not the budgeting advice.

This all changes in 2014, organised shopping lists with meals planned out on them. No more forgetting to send invoices for writing work. Definitely less (but let’s not completely eradicate) spur of the moment it’s X day treat myself purchases. (Where X equals Pay/My Birth/Wednes/EVERYday).

No More Fast Food

This is partially tied into the above, but throughout my student life I was fuelled primarily on fast food and takeaways. A fine lifestyle, but an unsustainable one as adulthood progresses.

Again, I’m not ruling it out completely but less McDonalds, KFC and Dominoes will certainly lead a to a healtheir and richer (in all senses of the word) 2014.

Read More (Physical Books)

I spend  my entire working day on the computer, and then all my spare time also on the computer, which I don’t mind that much. I make my living on the internet so can barely complain about being online all the time.

But I have noticed that my attention span is getting shorter and shorter, and the multiple tabs of Google Chrome are almost definitely to blame for this. Unplugging myself and concentrating on one physical book for an hour a day would probably help combat this.

So they’re my New Year’s Resolutions, let me know what yours are in the comments and maybe we can get some kind of honour system going to make sure we all stick to them in 2014.

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