Posts Tagged ‘Union’

Norman for Faith and Culture

March 12th, 2008 1 comment

I have decided to stand for Faith and Culture Rep within the union. This is my mnaifesto…

My name is Norman Ralph and I want to represent you as Faith and Culture Representative for the next academic year!

I am a 4th year student, currently studying Computing and Management. I have a number of years sitting on society committees and relish the opportunity to step up to this unique challenge.

I feel I have the skills and understanding necessary to best represent the diverse group of societies that make up this assembly. I realise the need to combine our strengths yet highlight out uniqueness. I believe that this is best achieved through a combination of inter-society cooperation and support for your individual events.

Why me?

l Vote for me and I will improve communication by:
 Replying to emails within 3 days.
 Becoming the point of contact for more inquiries.
 Working with the Development Coordinator to reduce the turnaround on requests.

l Vote for me and I will improve inter-society cooperation by:
 Ensuring that all societies can contact each other easily.
 Working with societies to increase the number of inter-society events.
 Setting up a Faith and Culture forum to share best practice.

l Vote for me and I will highlight the needs of our societies by:
 Vigorously representing your views at the Societies Executive.
 Ensuring fair and equal access to union facilities.
 Fighting for your funding.

Vote for me. Vote for your future.

Norman The “No!” Man

February 27th, 2008 1 comment

It seems that my political views have led to me acquiring a new nick name, that of Norman the “No!” Man.

This came about due to my big mouth and desire to see democracy work. I was at the Union’s AGM a week or so ago which was followed by the Union’s referendum debate meeting. With student apathy at an all time high, it was astonishing that we actually got around fifty people to turn up! Unfortunately, there was no debate. The proposers for each motion got up and said their piece and there was no opposition. How can you run a debate with no opposition?? As a democratic soul at heart I got up and put forward the opposition cases for one motion at first, but this soon ran into several motions.

The Union were videoing the event and asked the speakers to do some short pieces about their motions and the opposition to the motions. I thus ended up doing a number of video spots about why we shouldn’t ban the Union from using RBS Group as our bank, why we shouldn’t oppose ID cards and why we shouldn’t prevent the university from accepting military research funding.

With all this in mind I have decided that I am going to start a new political blog called based on this nickname. So, as soon as I sort out the site I will be up and running, until then i will probably dedicate part of this site to it.

Rationalist Week 2008

February 13th, 2008 No comments

Yes, it’s that time of year again – A-Soc started planning this year’s Rationalist Week in Earnest yesterday, getting a provisional timetable together and starting to look at the budget. The event is likely to cost in the region of £1500, of which the Union’s grant will cover maybe £200-300, which means we will have to raise the rest ourselves. Yesterday’s cake sale was a good start but we need a lot more money.

A-Soc is looking into running a Rocky Horror Picture Show Night and a couple of club nights to break the back of the fundraising. We are also looking for sponsors, both private and corporate who might be interested in getting involved. So if anybody has any ideas or would like to contribute let me know!

It is a great event, check out the posts about it from last April.

Secret Boys

February 12th, 2008 2 comments

Well the main news for today was going to be about the success of Darwin Day 2008, A-Soc’s annual celebration of the birth of Charles Darwin. Sarann and Michelle kindly spent their weekend baking the most delightful selection of cakes – crispy cakes, fairy cakes, Victoria sponge, chocolate cake, banana bread, scones, cookies, shortbread, flapjack and ginger bread men!

We spent the day outside the union foyer selling these cakes and generally spreading the word about the life and work of Charles Darwin and how his theory of evolution by natural selection is still influencing us today. I presented a discussion on how this theory works within the idea of social evolution and how society and altruism within that society is a result of Darwinian evolution, not a contradiction!

As I said, this was going to be the main news – however, when Chris and I returned from the A-Soc social this evening we tripped over a pair of shoes and a bag in the hallway and then noticed a strange coat on the hangers! Intrigue was in the air as B has been away and Chris and I were out – leaving Michelle or Sarann to have visitors. The lounge was empty and their was no reply from downstairs. The plot thickened…

On closer inspection we determined the stuff belonged to a boy! Secret boys in the house. Who had the mysterious visitor in their rooms? Well, on logging onto MSN I discovered Michelle was online and soon came downstairs on hearing the news! This left one suspect… Sarann!

The list of possible candidates for the secret boy is short – there are very few people that Sarann would have round without telling Michelle at the least. In fact, only one name springs to mid. The same boy that stayed over just recently – supposedly on the sofa – after inviting himself round.

I have been informed that revealing the secret boy would be unethical, so I won’t mention his name, but anyone who knows the people involved should be able to guess!

Referendum Time

February 5th, 2008 2 comments

It’s that time of year again, when the crazy political folk get their soapboxes out and try and make the student population care about the world outside of Neighbours, Deal or No Deal, cheap drinks and Carnage based incidents.

The Union Council passed the following motions meaning they now go on to the referendum ballot paper which every full member of the union gets to vote on. Compare them with the submitted motions here.

Motion 1: Don’t renew the LUU ‘No Platform Policy’– AT SECURE PETITION (330)

Everyone support this – get down to the union and sign the petition! It gives us back our right to free speech!!

Motion 2: Lobby for Activity Groups to have access to the Refectory

This is a good idea, not that it will actaully make any difference seeing as the union couldn’t organise themselves a drink, never mind a piss up in a brewery!

Motion 3: Should this Union support a re-evaluation of the decision to close Bodington Hall?

Not one I actually care about. It is going to happen whatever the outcome of this vote.

Motion 4: Stop the Royal Bank of Scotland/Natwest funding climate change

This is just ridiculous. We are intelligent people able to make up our own minds about who and what we buy from whom. Either ban everything or shut the f*** up!!

Motion 5: ID Cards

It’s already law!! Get over it and move on. If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about.

Motion 6: Should our University accept money from military companies to carry out their research?

YES. Next question…

Motion 7: Should LUU lobby the University for Home Fees to apply to refugees?

NO. Either pay up or get a job like the rest of us.

Motion 8: Oppose the NUS Governance Review

A tricky one, I think that the ideas behind are pretty sound, just not sure how it would actaully work in practice.

Motion 9: Lads mags behind the counter

There are more naked women in Cosmo….

Motion 10: Occupation and education in Iraq – AT SECURE PETITION (750)

Gah. This is basically a mish mash of several motions. They are all rubbish! Stay away from this one.


January 16th, 2008 4 comments

I have eaten a couple of times in Mine now and I am still unsure as to how I would rate the experience as a whole. Mine is Leeds University Union’s ‘upmarket’ eating establishment and bar – offering table service, a la carte menu and at night an intimate, atmospheric venue used mainly for the smaller club nights and live music.

First, my main criticisms. I think that the food menu is too small and lacks any real variety, the food is of so-so atandard and is somewhat overpriced in my honest opinion. Today was a bad experience in terms of drinks – the lager I ordered was flat!

On a positive note, the service and atmosphere are pretty good. Relaxed enough to enjoy a quick bite with friends yet formal enough that you could entertain there too. As usual with the union establishments the staff are friendly and approachable and are very quick to deal with any issues.

I will probably eat there again, but mainly due to the fact there is no viable alternative within walking distance of the university with the decline of the Llama and Eldon. The Library too far away and The Faversham too expensive. I hope that the union is quick to look at the potential of Mine and realises that it could be so much more!

Atheist Week

November 21st, 2007 No comments

It is here, the long awaited return of a week long A-Soc event, Atheist Week.

Atheist Week is basically the slightly less hardcore version of Rationalist week (see posts here, here and here) but with a slightly more relaxed agenda. We were aiming for a cosy, intimate feel in the Riley Smith Hall, maybe attracting larger crowds for the main events. I think it is going ok so far, although we seem to be very quiet between events. The events themselves though seem to be quite successful. The two evening events so far have pulled a decent crowd – especially Gijsbert’s discussion on the problems with agnosticism.

I am hoping that the next few days work out equally as well. We have a couple of big events left to do – a debate on the influence of Richard Dawkins (in which I am speaking) and a screening of the contraversial Jerry Springer: The Opera.

So, if any one is in Leeds tomorrow or Thursday then check it out.

It’s life Jim, but not as we know it!

August 1st, 2007 2 comments

As I am sure many of you are aware my life has been in somewhat of a state of flux recently. New housemates, new girlfriend, new friends, new job, new starts, new found enjoyment of life etc etc all add up to something resembling upheaval in my life. I am not generally one for getting too flustered by most things, in fact it is often pointed out as a personality flaw that I tend to not to publicly experience highs or lows.

Well, I thought I would take a few moments and take some sort of stock of where I am at the moment and what I think of a few things.

I will start with my domestic situation. It has come to my attention that I tend to play quite a downer on my family, particularly my parents and that is something that does not accurately reflect my current relationships with both my mother and my father. My mother is a proverbial god send. I do not know where I would be without her. We do not agree on everything and we have been known to have some rather passionate disagreements over the years. I will say though, that we are probably as close now as we have ever been. She is my confidant and the one I seem to turn too when things are hard. I realise that she does tend to only see the worse side of me when we get together, but then I do seem to only turn to her when I am at a loss and cannot fathom any other solution. Anyway, thanks for everything you have done and probably will do over the next few years!

My father is a different matter altogether. He has been absent since I was very young and hence I have never really experienced a father-son relationship with him. To be honest, it was never something that I felt was necessary, not until I moved to Leeds and started to look at my life and try to make some head or tails of it. Since then it has been something of a rollercoaster, with a lot of downs along the way. At the moment though, there seems to be something amiss as we have barely spoken (through no lack of trying on my part) for a a few months now.

Now, onto the good news. Liz and I are flourishing. I think it is safe to say that the initial honey moon period is probably over and yet we are still as strong as ever. Which is always a good sign. I know I have a habit of jumping into these things with both feet, but I feel that if something is worth doing and caring about then its worth doing properly and with all of your heart. It brings to mind one of my favoured quotations, although the name of the quoter escapes me temporarily….”Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” It always manages to instill me with a sense of duty and inspiration to go out and achieve whatever it is I am aiming for. In summary then, I am in love.

The current friends situation is also quite rosy with no great fallings out going on or any on the horizon. I am probably not paying enough attention to all my friends across the country, but I think I am doing OK. As mentioned previously, I have found a new level of relationship with many of the people I know. Namely, Si and George. Mine and Sarann’s relationship also seems to be going from strength to strength at the moment. I am really loving living with her. I think the closeness of our working relationship over the Summer has really helped and done a massive favour for our personal relationship. I now consider her one of my very closest friends. Otherwise a lot of my friendships are as steady as they ever were and I am still loving my new housemates! It’s turning out to be a lot of fun!

I have been reading a lot this Summer, mainly around atheism and related topics. I am hoping to really get my teeth into running A-Soc this year as Secretary. I’m looking forward to taking a more active role within union politics too. I have a lot to say about a lot of things, not just religion based, although that is my area of knowledge at the moment, and I definitely feel I have a future in politics. I realise that my relatively right wing attitude can often be construed as unhelpful and unproductive in a student environment, but I feel that a lot of my ideas are fairly central and often liberal in nature. I am very much a centre-right thinking person. With traditionally conservative views on crime, punishment, immigration and capitalism. Although my views on families, homosexuality and religion are particularly liberal in stance.

In other news, I am looking forward to Solfest in August, going to prague with Liz for my birthday and the start of the new term. I can’t wait to see how my rediscovered zest for life will be transferred to my work and study environment.

Roll on the rest of Summer!

Fruity Fun at the Rileys

May 5th, 2007 No comments

Yesterday was the third annual Riley awards at Leeds University Union. The Rileys are basically an awards ceremony to reward societies for thir efforts over the past year. There are about seven categories and four nominations for each category. A society can nominate itself in three of the categories. The ceremony itself is based a bit on the Oscar’s, i.e. a central host inviting various people to present the awards, representatives from the winning society collecting the award and making a daft speech. The evening was punctuated with performances from a number of societies.

The event itself was actually quite fun, A-Soc had been nominated for an award so we got three complimentary tickets and acquired a couple more. Chris, Sarann and I went as reps for A-Soc and Michelle and liz came along as for moral support and a night out. Unfortunately A-Soc didn’t win anything – I can now saw “we was robbed!” The night was relatively smooth running considering it was organised by LUU and the entertainment was generally good fun if not incredibly camp!

As part of the evening, we received reduced VIP entry to Fruity, so we braved the sticky floor and drunken students and made a night of it. Charlie, DJ and John ended up joining us too. Everyone had a great time, especially Michelle who pulled. Twice. Drunken fun was had by all and the evening was rounded off with pizza at Chris’s then heading home.

Liz was incredibly amused by the fact that she was relatively sober and I was quite quite drunk. It’s the first time that’s happened whilst we have been seeing each other. I think I annoyed her a bit by pretty much going straight to sleep as she is as bad an insomniac as I am.

Off to see Soweto Kinch tonight, which will be cool.

Wendy House

April 22nd, 2007 7 comments

“Norm, don’t be afraid of the cows.”

The wonderfully profound words that come out of the mouths of drunk people. If you haven’t figured it out yet, we all went out for Wendy House last night. Quite a crowd in the end actually. Definitely one of the best attended Wendy’s in recent times.

The party kicked off for some of us at B and Chris’s house. The hosts, Cara, Michelle and I set about getting nice and merry ready for the night ahead. An interesting pre-Wendy debate where none of the Christians in the room could actually remember the Ten Commandments!

We set off for Wendy at about 10.30pm, which was fairly early really. Well I thought so until I realised that Michelle already needed carrying! B, Michelle and I slowly wandered up to the union where we were accosted by a group of Italians wanting us to join their BBQ. Unfortunately, the rest of the gang were already waiting for us at the pub so we had to decline. We met up with Sarann, Kat, Claire, Moz, Verity, Worfolk etc in the Old Bar. Sarann was wearing cool boots with buckle things on, I knew I was drunk because I thought it would be fun to unbuckle them!

We got to Wendy about 11.30 and it promised to be a great night. The drink was flowing and the dancing was as crazy as normal. Sarann kept losing things though. First it was part of her camera then an eyeliner and then people! Worfolk was the first to capitulate, having pretty much been awake for seven days it wasn’t that surprising. Me and B were next, not by choice mind. B was wasted.

Anyway, that was that. After a brief adventure into the ladies loo to fetch B we went home.

Sorry guys.