Blog

  • Mon 14 Jan 2019 17:30

    Suitcase

    By Abbie Dodson

    Everybody is familiar with Australia. I know that many of my own relatives have tales to tell about a trip there in the blistering sun, and spiders bigger than their hands. However, England’s tumultuous history with Australia is lesser known. On the 26th of January each year, Australia Day is celebrated. The occasion offers a chance to showcase Australian culture and celebrate Australian people. However, the date that Australia Day is held marks the first British Ship arriving at Sydney Cove, signalling the start of colonisation. It seems like a pretty strange thing for the nation to celebrate, right?

    After British colonisation of Australia, indigenous people were forced to leave their homes by European settlers, leading to lack of fundamental resources, such as food and water. Alongside the fleet of 11 ships which arrived in Australia in 1788, the British settlers brought diseases which the indigenous population were not immune to, such as smallpox, influenza and tuberculosis. This was followed by prolonged conflict and division between settlers and the indigenous people, which saw lives ruined and many different accounts of violent altercations.

    However, some indigenous people have renamed Australia Day ‘Survival Day’ and ‘Invasion Day’, and protest in masses to raise awareness. These protests often take the form of rallies, and in 2018, a statue of Captain Cook was also vandalised. Captain Cook was credited with the first European contact with Australia in 1770 and was targeted to highlight the macabre origins of the holiday.

    Australia Day is typically celebrated with concerts, parades, barbeques and other public events. Whilst a poll in 2018 found that only 38% of 1,417 Australians could explain the historical origins of Australia Day, over half of those surveyed said that they did not care when the day was celebrated. A mere 37% of the surveyed people agreed that the day was offensive to indigenous people. So, it’s no surprise that indigenous people are not willing to celebrate the beginning of their ancestor’s oppression. Are people simply unaware of the historical significance of Australia Day, or has the meaning of the day evolved into a celebration of Australian culture and being patriotic?

    With so few Australians actually aware of the holiday’s origin, I asked family members who emigrated to Australia over thirty years ago what Australia Day meant to them. Over a pixelated video chat, they mused that the day was good fun, and only partially understood the origins of Australia Day. “I knew that it was something to do with British invasion”, one of my relatives claimed, “I just didn’t really understand the extent of it”. Perhaps this is the problem; people need to hear the awful stories of loss, disruption and damage that this day had on Australia’s indigenous population to become more sensitive and educated to why it may offend some people.

    Despite the history associated with Australia Day, the holiday has evolved into a celebration of Australian lifestyle. It is unsurprising that Australians want to celebrate the beauty of their home and create a sense of community across the 6th largest country in the world. However innocent the celebrations may have become, perhaps a change of date would better convey the ‘new’ meaning behind the celebrations.

    To reflect this, at the Students’ Union we are holding our Australia Day celebrations on 22nd January in Hideout with Aussie décor, kangaroo burgers, drinks deals and an Australia Awareness Day quiz in the evening.

  • Fri 11 Jan 2019 10:47

    By Jess Brown

    Suitcase

    Drynuary? Januadry?

    I don’t know about you but I love a glass (ahem bottle) of wine... And rum and cokes... And cocktails especially the cocktails with supernatural colours that glow and make you look like you’re sipping on plutonium! However, as a species it’s always good to apply a bit of self-control. Alcohol (especially the plutonium looking alcohol) is after all a poison and can be bad for us in excess.

    Dry January is pretty much what it says on the tin, for the whole of this month you just don’t drink booze. Have to clarify booze just in case some of you think that it means you can’t drink ANYTHING. For some that’ll be very simple but for those of us who like a drink that may be a bit difficult. So here’s three recommendations from me about what you can do to keep yourself busy instead of drinking.

    1) Get a hobby!

    There are so many activities you could take up this month to have fun, from reading that book you’ve been putting off for years to writing, drawing, learning Japanese, doing a sport. The possibilities are endless. Go skydiving if you need an adrenaline boost! The Give it a Go programme at Sheffield Hallam Students' Union is perfect for starting a new hobby, you can try something out without commiting to anything longer term. Check out the What's On page for events and pick up a programme next time you head to the Students' Union. 

    2) Go out with friends to somewhere other than a bar

    Did you know that just outside of Sheffield there’s this big nature packed grassy thing called the Peaks? Apparently it’s part of something called a ‘countryside’ but I’m not exactly sure if that’s the right word. Point is, go there! See the sights, have a walk with your pals. Or if not that, go bowling, go out for food, go to the cinema, go to an arcade, go somewhere with your friends other than bars. It costs about the same, often cheaper, and is just as much fun. Going out with friends at night doesn’t always have to be the same pub or bar. Valley Centertainment Leisure Park is also just a tram ride away and has all the above mentioned things and more, aside from the Peaks obviously.

    Here’s some events happening through the Students' Union you may be interested in going to:

    Open Mic Night (Every Thursday in Hideout!)

    Gardening for Your Wellbeing

    Happiness Bootcamp - Pop Pilates

    Hallam Bingo (Every Tuesday in Hideout)

    Glow in the Dark Badmington
     

    3) Stay in or talk to someone

    Dramatic shift in tone here but a lot of us get drunk or go out to escape our issues. This is obviously not the healthiest coping mechanism. Possibly take this month to focus on you and your mental health, take a breather from the pressure society can put on us and just spend some time watching Netflix on your own or with a friend. It’s healthy for us to try and talk about our issues too so if you can find someone or need to go to the doctors, this month is a perfect time to start that and possibly  get in a better mindset for the rest of the year. For Christmas my friend got a copy of What a Time to Be Alone by The Slumflower AKA Chidera Eggerue. I read a few pages and I’m going to get it too. It’s a book about loving yourself and knowing your worth with very relatable messages about body positivity and why it’s okay to be alone and focus on yourself. I’m hoping it helps me and it may help you too.

  • Mon 07 Jan 2019 15:09

    Suitcase

    “And shavasana…” I feel super stretched out and relaxed. As I lay down on the mat, I focus on my breath, the subtle movement of my chest up and down. I slowly scan down my body. Neck, shoulders and lower back no longer tense and sore. My attention comes back to my breath as I close my eyes and feel like I’m melting into the floor.

    Who Am I?

    My name is Lewis Pontremoli. I come from a small town just outside Brighton, on the south coast of England. I’m in my second year at Hallam, studying International Business. If you asked me a few years ago “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I would definitely not have described my life as it is now. Going to Uni wasn’t even on my radar.

    Then I found Climbing

    I visited my local climbing centre with a friend and was instantly hooked. Since then I’ve made weekly trips to various climbing centres and had many trips outdoors. Typically I boulder, a style of climbing using no ropes often requiring masses of power and flexibility. When I first started, this usually involved a lot of aches and pains for days after a session. This is how I found yoga.

    For years, I’ve used Yoga to warm-up, cool down and improve my flexibility. But it can also be a great way to relax and forget about life for a little while. At any class I’ve been to, there is always a great mix of people from elite athletes to office workers. This is because it is such an easy activity to get into – can’t get your leg behind your head? It doesn’t matter, you’ll be able to change the pose to suit you.

    Since moving to Sheffield, I’ve not taken a Yoga class. I normally just find some space, grab a mat and stretch my body in some weird positions. But over this summer I decided I’d like to go to some classes and meet up with other people who wanted to do the same. “I’ll join Yoga Society” I thought and headed over to the student’s union website… Only to discover there wasn’t one!

    Starting my society

    I was instantly decided on creating my own society, what an achievement that would be! So I sent some emails and got some opinions from my friends, and everyone was psyched! I held a meeting with Sally the Societies lady, she saw the potential in my idea too. Then I held elections to form the committee for the rest of the year (super easy, it was just some polls on a Facebook group). I think We’ve got a really strong team, who can work together to make a great start.

    We’ve worked hard to get more people excited about the society and the group now has over 80 potential members. We want this to be an inclusive society, suitable for all abilities. In a standard week, we plan to hold 2 hour-long sessions for mixed abilities with fully qualified instructors. As the year progresses and we build a strong membership base, we may add extra sessions or run specialist classes. We also look forward to working with other societies who would like to hold occasional yoga sessions.

  • Fri 21 Dec 2018 12:43

    Suitcase

    By Katie Johnson

    Hello, I am a recent 2:1 marketing graduate from Sheffield Hallam University, it has been 5 months now since I’ve finished my degree. During my final year of studies, it was a stressful time but also so rewarding! Originally, I undertook a business studies degree but changed to marketing after my first year of study. I enjoyed the creative aspect of marketing but also was still interested in the business side of marketing so this was the correct choice for me personally. At Hallam I believe I was surrounded by support and there were lots of things to be involved with. I value that Hallam specifically supports their pupils throughout their studies. For me personally, I work better with hands on experience rather than writing essays. I was so pleased with the support I was given towards my academic development as I am dyslexic. The system Hallam has to offer for my dyslexic supported me so much with my academic writing, organisation and time management. Especially, within my final year of study I would meet with my 1 to 1 study skills support officer every week to ensure I was on track with my deadlines and keeping in mind the end goal. Without my study skills support officer, I highly believe I wouldn’t have achieved the grade I have now which will make such an impact on my future. Within my first year of study I wasn’t particularly interested in extracurricular activities as everything was so new, moving out, living with friends and getting used to the university way of working. However, as time went on, I began to get involved with other projects. I initially volunteered for a week marketing experience at Sheffield Doc/Fest, then progressed into completing a summer marketing internship at DW Graphic Design Ltd. These experiences inspired me to find out more about the university’s opportunities at the employability centre. I realised these extra less demanding positions would support my future prospects after university life and make me stand out. I undertook a Marketing Student Assistant role for two years alongside my studies. I volunteered as a course representative and progressed onto a Department representative role. I completed a summer role at the university as an IT Assistant. Also, during my studies I completed two leadership courses with common purpose. As I reflected upon all of my achievements over the past year outside of my degree this is what drove me to apply for the Hallam Award! I met the criteria for the Hallam Award without realising initially because I would have completed all of these extracurricular activities regardless. I would highly recommend students evaluate on their personal achievements throughout their studies as you may be eligible for the Hallam Award without realising! It’s an excellent attribute to add to your CV, highlighting that you haven’t just achieved skills academically but in other areas as well. Since graduating, I have completed a 2-month Hallam internship with Gradcore. This provided me with more experience within the marketing field and boosted my confidence. I began this just a month after finishing university I think this really helped me. It’s highly overwhelming time finishing university and thinking what to do next?! There are so many choices and opportunities it’s hard to know where to begin. Luckily, I worked with a very supportive group of people which really helped me at this point in my life. I have done a little traveling since uni, I went to Barcelona and Venice which was a really nice relief after all of the university stresses. I have been searching for a longer-term marketing graduate job for the last 2 months, I’ve had 8 interviews but the competition is high so not successful yet. However, I’m about to begin a temporary bar job and will still look for marketing related roles alongside it.

  • Fri 14 Dec 2018 10:19

     

    SuitcaseTraditionally a time for giving, many people end up over-spending and paying for Christmas well into the New Year. Students often feel especially skint at this time of year. Your student loan has probably just about run out and you won't get the next instalment until January.

    So this year, think about what you are spending and why. Is that Secret Santa gift going to end up in the bin on Boxing Day? Do you need to send cards?  A donation to a charity could save time and money!

    Perhaps you can think about a No Unnecessary Presents Pact with friends or family? https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/nupp/

    You can save money on gifts by giving time, making, upcycling or recycling. And you can reduce the environmental impact into the bargain!

  • Fri 30 Nov 2018 15:58

    Suitcase

    This year, we have a brand new Content Team on hand to provide you with everything you need to know about what we're up to and the things that affect you whilst at Hallam. Meet the team...

    Jess Brown - Student Blogger

    I'm Jess Brown, an artist and writer studying second-year illustration at Sheffield Hallam Universty. I'm extremely passionate about creating and spend most of my time playing with words or drawing whatever is on my mind. I'd say I'm your typical art student, so you'll probably find me walking around Sheffield with wild hair, ridiculously flamboyant clothing and my head in the clouds. Most of my work revolves around social issues, helping people or generally trying to make them laugh by being absurd and weird.

    Abbie Dodson - Student Journalist

    I’m Abbie Dodson, and I’m the student staff journalist at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union. Alongside my work here, I am in my second year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University. I am a passionate animal rights advocate, and have been described as a “dog enthusiast” by people who know me too well. I enjoy writing about prominent social issues, including gender discrimination and situations that affect university students. I believe that journalism should be honest, unbiased, and factual, and hope that these values are evident in my writing.

    Lauren O'Donoghue - Student Podcaster

    I'm Lauren, the podcaster for Sheffield Hallam Students' Union. I'm a second year Creative Writing student and audio enthusiast. My goal is to produce interesting and engaging podcasts for students which will keep them updated about the variety of opportunities available to them through the Students' Union.

  • Fri 30 Nov 2018 15:25

     

    Suitcase

    By Jess Brown

    There’s a lot of fear around HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), and since the early tribes we started out as, fear has caused humans to run chaotically wild with their imaginations. Just look at the witch hunts hundreds of years ago. It’s probably best to avoid such moral panic and look at facts. The way the media presents HIV is as an extremely contagious disease that is going to come and get you whilst you sleep. In the 80s at the height of the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) crisis it became the boogie man for the right wing to try and attack gay people with false information. Some of those myths have unfortunately stuck around. As it’s World AIDS Day on 1st December, I think it’s important to address some of these and help disprove them.

    HIV can be transmitted by touching a person with HIV

    The myth of how HIV is contracted is perhaps one of the biggest myths perpetuated. The truth is, you can’t catch HIV from any of the following:

    • Mosquito or any other insect bites
    • Urine or sweat
    • Public toilets, saunas, showers, gym equipment, swimming pools or water fountains
    • Going to school with, socialising or working with HIV-positive people
    • Sharing cutlery or crockery
    • Sneezes or coughs
    • Animals
    • Touching, hugging, shaking hands with or kissing a person with HIV
      Breathing the same air as someone who has HIV

    The most common way of contracting HIV in the UK is through vaginal or anal sex without a condom or by sharing needles. HIV can also be transmitted from a mother to their baby through pregnany, birth or breastfeeding. 

    HIV is a death sentence

    Thankfully, this is no longer true. Thanks to developments in antiretroviral treatment (ART) and medication that helps to keep opportunistic infections (diseases that occur in people with suppressed immune systems) under control, people with HIV now have more chances of living long and productive lives. In fact, recent studies have found that if a person diagnosed with HIV early on and takes correct medication, then theiraverage life expectancy is almost no different to that of a person without HIV. 

    HIV is AIDS

    Wrong, HIV isn’t AIDS but if it isn't managed through medication, it can progress into AIDS which can be life-threatening. With the help of drugs, a person with HIV can lead a normal life and in many cases, treatment can make a person have an undetectable viral load, meaning they can't pass it on. In fact, 87% of people in the UK with HIV are estimated to have an undetectable viral load.

    Only certain types of people can get HIV

    It’s common for people to think that you can only catch HIV if you are a gay man or an IV drug user. However, there was a study done in 2015 which found stats on modes of transmission eg “Of those receiving HIV care in 2015, 41,945 (48%) were exposed through sex between a man and a woman, 41,016 (47%) were exposed through sex between men, 1,909 (2%) were exposed from injecting drug use, 1,383 (less than 2%) were exposed before or shortly after birth and 753 were exposed from blood/receiving blood products”

    Here’s some information from the official World AIDS Day website “Over 101,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally, there are an estimated 36.7 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS”.

    ---

    No one is immune from HIV, if you're sexually active or you have ever shared a needle with somebody you should get tested, it's a simple finger prick test and you can have the results within minutes or you can see your GP on local sexual health services for a blood test. Chances are, you don't have it but it's always good to have peace of mind. You can find out where you can get tested in Sheffield here… http://www.sexualhealthsheffield.nhs.uk/services/sti-screening-and-treatment/hiv-services/

    For more information about HIV and AIDs, head to the NHS website - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/

    SAYiT is a charity in Sheffield that works with young people aged 12-25 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or affected by HIV. They are holding an Open Day on 1st December to mark World AIDS Day and to give you a chance to find out more about the charity. 

  • Fri 30 Nov 2018 13:12

    Suitcase

    It's no secret that university is expensive and a lot of us have to live on very tight budgets. With so many costs associated with being at uni like books, food and other living expenses it can be somewhat of a struggle. For first years it can be particularly hard because it's your first time away from home and you most likely have no idea where to start.

    Fear not! As a self-confessed cheapskate I’m constantly looking for ways to pinch a penny and I’m going to share them with you.

    1) Vintage/charity shops - I know it may not be to everyone's taste, but just give it a try you will be surprised what you can find in charity and vintage shops . Sheffield has some great vintage shops, my personal favourites are Thrifty Store and Vulgar. You can get all sorts of amazing and unique pieces at bargain prices! I mean where else can you buy Levi jeans for £14!!! Being thrifty is definitely the way to go!

    2) Buy in bulk - When you go shopping for your groceries, it is way cheaper to buy in bulk. Buying your meat from a butchers shop is cheaper than buying small portions from a supermarket. Instead of buying 1 bottle of water, buy a multipack instead. You get the hang of it right? You could even, if you lived with friends, share the cost which would make it even cheaper!

    3) Meal prep - Doing this can save you so much money! When you get home after a long day of work the last thing you want to do is start cooking, so of course you just reach for your phone and dial in a take away, and we all know that this is a very expensive and unhealthy habit. The best thing you could do for yourself is to prepare your meals for the week on a Sunday so you literally just take it out the fridge when you need it, heat it up and enjoy! It will free up so much of your time and save you a fortune!

    4) Make your course work for you - If you've got a course that requires a lot of spending on books, materials etc, why not ask those in the years above you if they have any old books and bits that they no longer use that they could sell or maybe even donate to you . If they don't have anything they can give you, they may still be able to advise you on the best place to get the things you need without having to pay an arm and a leg. 

    5) Budgeting - This might sound long, but if you are really not good with money, budgeting with an excel spreadsheet could be your saving grace. You can put your monthly income on their and then allocate money to all your various expenses. This way you can always keep on top of your spending and of how much you actually have at any given time. There are also loads of different budgeting apps out there that you could also try out!

    If you are ever struggling with your finance or need some support/guidance on budgeting or anything money related, the Student Advice Centre staff are great and will help to get you sorted!

  • Wed 28 Nov 2018 14:32

    Suitcase

    By Abbie Dodson

    Islamophobia has been defined as “dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force” by the Oxford dictionary. Whilst anti-Islam prejudice was formally acknowledged almost a century ago, it is still a prominent social issue, with many reports suggesting it's on the increase. 

    The Casey Review was carried out December 2016, and found that over 55% of the general British public surveyed agreed that there was a “clash” between Islam and the values of British society. In this research, 46% of British Muslims felt that being a Muslim in Britain was difficult due to prejudice against Islam. This research was compiled before the panic caused by the London Bridge attack and the Manchester Arena bombing of 2017. After the Manchester bombing, Greater Manchester Police said that they saw a 505% increase in Islamophobic incidents.  

    Statistics released by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, reflect Tell Mama’s conclusion, showing that Islamophobic attacks have increased fivefold since the London Bridge attack. The figures show a 40% increase in racist incidents compared to last year’s daily average.

    With Islamophobia increasing across the UK, there have also been incidents recorded within some universities across the country, despite the progressive ideology of the institutions. Islamophobic graffiti has been found on the campuses of several universities, including the University of Birmingham, where “Kill Islam before it kills you”, and “Islam must die” was spray painted on site. 22-year-old Fatima studies History at the SOAS University of London, and claims that after last year’s terrorist attacks, she feels the need to be ‘friendlier’ when on campus to make sure that everybody around her feels safe. Fatima also expresses her concern surrounding peoples’ reactions to her during the commute to university.

    In 2016, the British Public voted to leave the European Union in a political referendum which lead to Brexit. Police figures obtained through Freedom of Information have shown that 11 months after the referendum, religious and racially motivated hate crimes have increased by 23%. The rising amount of discrimination makes minority groups feel “more vulnerable than ever”, according to Sufyan Ismail, founder of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND). Ismail urges the government to “[...] urgently review incitement to religious hatred legislation.” Ismail states that “[...] the far-right and elements of right-wing press continually demonise Muslims and stir up intense hatred against them.”  

    In July this year, Police Watchdog warned that Brexit would increase the amount of Islamophobia and hate crimes. A report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services concluded that there were significant failings in the way these racially motivated hate crimes were dealt with, and concluded that hate crimes were becoming much more frequent.

    Equalities campaigner, Akeela Ahmed states that “[…] these findings reflect the fact that since 2016, a growing minority of people with far-right sympathies have felt emboldened by Brexit and the 2016 US elections.” A study conducted by the NUS found that Islamophobia is a prominent issue in some universities, with 79% of Muslim students surveyed believing that they have been treated differently because of their religion. 

    The NUS report also concluded that Muslim women were more likely to be victims of these racial attacks due to wearing items of religious garment, such as a hijab, niqab or jilbab. One female student claimed that she was made to feel very uncomfortable after two students drew a sexualised image of her wearing her religious garment. The Muslim Students Survey interviewed 578 Muslim students in higher or further education in 2017. The research revealed that women who wear Islamic religious garments were concerned about being victims of Islamophobia.

    According to a different survey conducted by NUS, over 1/3 of British Muslims have experienced abuse or crime during their studies. Most victims believe that the attacks were motivated by Islamophobia, with a third of the respondents claiming to be ‘fairly or very worried’ about experiencing verbal and physical abuse alongside vandalism and theft at their accommodation due to their religion.

    Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, told The Independent that “[…] universities are failing miserably in their ability to communicate to students effectively on these issues. Universities have a lot more to do.” (*E) Mr Mughal also said that Muslim students feel the need to isolate themselves due to Prevent, feeling as though the campaign clamps down on all free speech.

    The government made counter terrorism campaign, Prevent, a legal duty for universities in July 2015 . Prevent was created to prevent violent extremism through the four strands; Prevent, Pursue, Protect and Prepare, and was widely discredited and accused of perpetuating Islamophobia.

    A survey surrounding Prevent revealed that 1/3 of respondents felt negatively affected by the campaign, with some students even being referred to the authorities due to the campaign. 43% of those reported to have been negatively affected by Prevent say they felt unable to express their views and be themselves, as Muslim students were constantly reported for being vulnerable to radicalisation.

    Jacqueline Stevenson, Head of Research Sheffield Institute of Education, and Professor at Sheffield Hallam University, advises that “engaging with discussions around religion is a key step to achieving greater equality in the UK.”

    Whilst Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union acknowledges issues with the Prevent campaign, there are many places that any students experiencing Islamophobia can turn to. The advice centre is a confidential place to seek help and advice, and the Student Unions’ Welfare Officer, Nabeela Mowlana, can be contacted by anyone in need of support. Nabeela recommends the charity, MEND, for those who have experienced Islamophobia, and also urges victims or witnesses to go directly to the police with their cases.

    Abdullah Okud is the President at Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union, and has advised that even though Islamophobia is not explicitly obvious, it does still happen. Abdullah pledges to tackle any racism within Sheffield Hallam University, and expresses the importance of an upcoming campaign, which aims “[…] to highlight racist incidents and tackle racism as a Students' Union, and to do so independently for students.”

    The Students' Union is currently running an Islamophobia Awareness Campaign, with events to highlight gendered Islamophobia and an exhibition of Muslim contribution to Britain, and aims to start discussions on Islamophobia prevention as a Students’ Union.

    There have been multiple events throughout the month for this and to conclude it, there is a screening of Four Lions at The Stage in the HUBS on 29th November from 5pm including an introduction from the CEO of Warp Films, Mark Herbert. The screening will take place on Thursday the 29th of November, follow this link to secure a ticket.

     

  • Tue 20 Nov 2018 14:29

    Suitcase

    Written by Hallam students Jess Brown

    *trigger warning for trans people, people with gender dysphoria and mental health issues*

    Gender is complicated. I feel like if I explain mine it may give you better context to the point of this article. Mine used to be set as a boy, although to be quite honest I was never too certain on that. I didn’t really vibe with any boys in the typical “boy way”. I was different, like something caught in between. Emotionally intelligent and sensitive but also in tune with girls in a way that not even the most feminine of boys are. Around two years ago I got diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The pain I’ve had of not fitting in suddenly had a focal point. It was magnified and explained to me in simplified terms of me not feeling right in a boy’s body. But what do you do with that information? When you are already dealing with another serious mental illness and general life stuff, how do you juggle that? How do you cope?

    I coped by adapting which isn’t what everyone gets to do so I count myself very lucky. I didn’t get over it but being on a waiting list that could potentially be up to five years, made me impatient. Something had to happen or change, I don’t stay in cocoons for that long. So my mind, being the tricky little thing it is, managed to pull a wonder off for me and make me relatively content with not being physically a girl but somewhat spiritually one. I don’t know what I am now. Gender doesn’t really matter to me anymore. I’m just, Jess. That’s what matters. My actions and how I influence the world matter. If I can output positivity then I will be happy. But it’s more difficult for some and it’s important to be mindful of that.

    I use this argument when it comes to defending the existence of mental health issues, invisible disabilities or racism, “just because your house isn’t on fire it doesn’t mean someone else’s isn’t”.  The same applies to people who are trans. You can’t discredit them by simply pretending they don’t have an issue with the gender they were born in. You can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist because it’s not happening to you. Gender dysphoria does exist. I was going to do a list of things not to say to trans people but that’s been covered by BBC 3

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvBwWeG4Rpc

    So I think I’ll make the point of this to be about fighting Transphobia. Transphobia can take form in many shapes. It can be little jokes or harmful jokes. It can be denying that someone exists or that they aren’t a man or a woman if they aren’t originally born one. Lots of other things that make people small minded and ignorant to the actual reality around them.  It’s a priviledge of anyone born into the right body to not have to experience the pain of feeling like you are in the wrong skin. Of feeling like your body doesn’t work or fit right. It’s a pain I have never felt before and one that feels so inescapable. Again, just because you don’t have it it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

    There are lots of stereotypes around gender. Let me put on a small minded persona for a second, please meet Old Man Jenkins; *in a gruff deep cockney voice* “Boys play football, like cars, have beards, like beer, chase birds. Nuff said. And only gay boys like girly things. Girly things are you know... pink stuff. Cocktails. Flowers. Gay stuff. Rainbows. Dolls. Makeup. Only lesbians like boy stuff”. Ahem. This attitude is clearly wrong and is dying out thankfully due to our generation’s open minded approach to both gender and sexuality. Also sexuality doesn’t really effect someone’s gender. I’m bi and I would be bi if I one day do go through a change. These kinda myths should be dispelled. Gender is slowly dissolving in society it’s more becoming a biological term than a societal one which is for the better. If girls can play sports and videogames and boys can wear makeup and dresses in peace there’s nothing wrong with that. It doesn't hurt anyone apart from people brainwashed by constructs of society that mean nothing.

    Everyone deserves their right to be comfortable in their own skin. Trans day of remembrance is about remembering those who have lost their lives due to transphobia. I think if we all do our part to remember these people by battling transphobia that'll be a good way of paying respect.

  • Mon 19 Nov 2018 13:27

    Suitcase

    The 10th of October was World Mental Health Day. My Twitter feed was flooded with individuals, organisations and corporations sending out messages of support, signposting and awareness raising on mental health; sometimes sharing personal experiences of mental health and often encouraging others to talk about their own mental health.

    In a culture of hashtags and social media trends, designated days such as these are often a good way to start a conversation by spotlighting difficult topics. Whilst I recognise the importance of starting these conversations and having spaces that allow these discussions to take place, awareness-raising cannot be the start and end of this discussion. When 1 in 4 adults experience mental ill health, it cannot become something we have a conversation about once and ignore for the rest of the year. We cannot simply encourage people to talk about their mental health and not put in place resources to support them when they do.

    Let me be clear, World Mental Health Day is a good thing. Mental Health Awareness Week is a good thing. But we need to do more, and we will.

    As a Students’ Union, we exist to represent your best interests and support you through your university journey.

    As an Officer team we pledge to:

    1. Go beyond raising awareness of mental health; we will tackle the root causes
    2. Ensure that Hallam has fully funded, accessible and resourced mental health services, with culturally competent counsellors
    3. Lobby for shorter waiting times between students asking for support and receiving it
    4. Work to ensure that existing services are promoted appropriately and accessible to all students
    5. Ensure that all material is more accessible to international students
    6. Make mental health a year long priority campaign
    7. Keep our open door policy. If you ever need a chat, come speak to us!

    What we need from you?

    Join our campaigns! If you would like to get involved, even if you’re not sure how, email me on n.mowlana@shu.ac.uk or @HallamWelfare

  • Wed 14 Nov 2018 16:30

    Suitcase

    By Kirstie Rutter

     

    Trans Awareness Week is about more than just the amazing trans people we’ve been showing off. There’re so many people out there who don’t identify with gender norms, so without further ado here’s 10 Non-Binary (and more) people you might not know about!

    1 - Amandla Stenberg

    Known for their role as Rue in The Hunger Games, Amandla Stenberg is an American actress, writer and singer. Stenberg identifies as non-binary and uses both 'they' and 'she' pronouns.

    Dazed named Stenberg "one of the most incendiary voices of her generation" when it featured her on its Autumn 2015 cover. She was named "Feminist of the Year" in 2015 by the Ms. Foundation for Women. You can catch Amandla in the 2018 adaptation of The Hate U Give!

     

     

     

     

     

    2 - Asia Kate Dillon

    Another actor Asia Kate is known for their roles as Brandy Epps in Orange Is the New Black and Taylor Mason from Billions. In Billions Dillon is said to be the first non-binary actor to play a non-binary character on TV.

    In 2017 Dillion wrote an open letter to the Emmy awards about the gendered categories for best male and best female actor, stating they did not fit into either. This prompted MTV to combine awards in the MTV Film and TV awards, into gender neutral categories. The broadcaster went on to ask Dillion to present the award for best actor.

     

     

    3 - Angel Haze

    Angel Haze is an American rapper and singer, identifying as a pansexual agender person, using the pronoun 'they’. In an interview they said "I'm glad there's an actual woman of colour representing queerness and pansexuality, someone who is like me in the spotlight."

    In 2015, They began working on a body image project titled "The Naked Eye," which publishes nude photographs along-side interviews of people with body dysmorphia. The project is aimed at creating a conversation about conventional and mainstream beauty standards.

     

     

     

    4- Janae Kroc

    Janae Marie Kroczaleski is a professional powerlifter and competitive bodybuilder. In July 2015, Kroc came out as transgender and gender fluid. They served in the United States Marine Corps from 1991 to 1995 and was selected for Presidential Security duty serving under President Bill Clinton.

    They set the male world record in the 220 lb. weight class with 2,551 lbs (composed of 738 pound bench press, 810 pound deadlift and 1003 pound back squat). They were mentioned on the cover of Muscle and Fitness magazine, this was the longest story published to date in the magazine and the first to feature a transgender or Genderfluid athlete. In December, Janae's was the first featured among the top 63 most powerful comings-out of 2015.

     

    5 – Alok Vaid-Menon

    Alok Vaid-Menon is a gender non-conforming performance artist, poet, and LGBT+ activist. They co-created Dark Matter, a trans South Asian performance art duo, with Janani Balasubramanian.

    They have been featured on HBO, MTV, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New Yorker and have presented their work at 350 venues in more than 40 countries. In 2017 they released FEMME IN PUBLIC, a book of poems regarding queer experiences.

    Vaid-Menon is the youngest recipient of the Live Works Performance Act Award

     

     

    6 - Ruby Rose

    The Australian model and actress is best known for achieving global attention for her role in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Rose is genderfluid, preferring to use feminine she/her pronouns. As well as acting she now campaigns for anti-bullying and youth mental health and works as an ambassador for Headspace. 

    During her acting career Rose has won, GLAAD, Glamour, GQ and ASTRA awards. She was also nominated for both British and Australian LGBT Awards. Rose is set to appear as Batwoman in the upcoming ‘Arrowverse’ crossover on the CW channel. Her role is set to be the first openly lesbian lead superhero in television.

     

     

     

     

    7 - Gopi Shankar Madurai

    Founder of Srishti Madurai, Student Volunteer Collective (the first genderqueer & LGBTQIA student volunteer group), Shankar an Indian equal rights, LGBT rights and Indigenous rights activist. They organised Asia's first Genderqueer Pride Parade at Madurai and introduced LGBTQIA courses to schools and universities curriculums. Shankar was the first openly intersex and genderqueer, candidates to contest in Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly election, 2016. They were awarded The Commonwealth Nations Youth Worker Award, and the HCR Queen's Young Leader Award

     

     

     

    8 - Rebecca Sugar

    known for creating the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe, Sugar is an American animator, director, screenwriter, producer, and songwriter. She identifies as a bisexual non-binary woman, using she/her and they/them pronouns. Steven Universe has been critically acclaimed for it’s LGBT+ inclusion, being the first children’s TV show to feature a lesbian proposal and wedding. 

    In 2012, Forbes magazine included her on the "30 Under 30 in Entertainment" list. Variety included Sugar in "Hollywood’s New Leaders 2016: The Creatives", a list celebrating upcoming filmmakers, show-runners and creators in both traditional and digital media.

     

    9 - Parinya Charoenphol (Nong Toom)

    Nong Toom is a Thai boxer, Muay Thai champion, model and actress. She identifies as a kathoey, a type of third gender in Thailand.

    In February 1998, after a victory in Bangkok's Lumpini Boxing Stadium, the Thai media were ‘intrigued by the novelty’ of a make-up wearing 16-year-old kathoey, defeating and then kissing a larger, more muscular opponent. Muay Thai had been in a slump at the time, Nong Toom revitalised both media and public interest in the sport.

    Her story was made into the 2003 film Beautiful Boxer, winning several national and international awards. She also featured as part of the National Geographic documentary Hidden Genders (2003).

     

     

     

     

     

    10 - We'wha

    We'wha was a member of the New Mexico Zuni tribe who interacted heavily with anthropologists, and in 1886 met President Grover Cleveland. They were a Ihamana, or "Two-spirit," a Zuni gender designation separate from the male/female binary. We'wha was an accomplished artist and followed the strict religious protocols that went with making Zuni pottery, their work would later be displayed in the National Museum in Washington DC.

     

     

     

    If you’re interested in learning more about people like those above, come down to the HUBs and see the amazing posters we’ve made profiling Transgender and Non-Binary figures! Or come along to our Gender Identi-tea party on Friday the 16th: www.facebook.com/events/194421431471150/

    Follow me on twitter! @Kirstie Rutter

    And for all things LGBT+ at Shu follow @SHULGBTREP and Like our Facebook page

  • Wed 14 Nov 2018 16:09

    Suitcase

    By Kirstie Rutter

    There’s a common mis-conception that Transgender people are ‘modern’ or ‘trendy’ and didn’t exist until recently. But the truth is trans people have existed throughout history, from a 18th century French spy, to a Roman Emperor, here’s 10 trans and non-binary people from before WWII.

    Chevalier d'Eon

    Born in 1728, the Chevalier d'Eon had an illustrious career as a French spy and diplomat. They began appearing at Queen Elizabeth's court demanding to be recognized as such by the French government.The Chevalier was such a well-known figure that the term "eonism" enjoyed a brief vogue as a descriptor for those displaying transgender or genderfluid characteristics.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Albert Cashier

    Albert Cashier was a transgender man who served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Albert became famous as one of a number of women soldiers who served as men during the Civil War, although the consistent 53-year commitment to the male identity has prompted some to suggest that Cashier was a trans man. During the war, Cashier fought in approximately 40 battles, and once singlehandedly overpowered a prison guard in order to escape back to his division after being captured.

    A musical entitled The Civility of Albert Cashier has been produced based on Cashier's life.

     

     

     

    Elagabalus

    Very little is known about the Roman Emperor Elagabalus, at only 14 years old, became emperor, initiating a reign remembered mainly for sex scandals and controversy.

    Elagabalus was married five times and was reported to have dressed in feminine attire. The Augustan History claims that they also married a man named Zoticus, an athlete from Smyrna, in a public ceremony at Rome. It is generally agreed that Elagabalus had sex with a lot of people from many different genders and did not try to keep this a secret. They demanded everyone call one of their male slaves “the empress’s husband”. They were reported to have offered vast sums of money to any physician who could equip them with female genitalia, leading some scholars to believe they were in fact a trans woman.

     

     

     

     

    We'wha

    We'wha was a member of the New Mexico Zuni tribe who interacted heavily with anthropologists, and in 1886 met President Grover Cleveland. They were a Ihamana, or "Two-spirit," a Zuni gender designation separate from the male/female binary.We'wha was an accomplished artist and followed the strict religious protocols that went with making Zuni pottery, their work would later be displayed in the National Museum in Washington DC.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Harry Allen

    Harry Allen was a public figure of great renown in the early American West, popping up in pioneer newspapers with frequency throughout the Northwestern U.S. Openly declaring his identity as a man who was assigned female at birth, Allen was a bit of a roustabout, and was often arrested for petty crimes such as fist fighting, public drunkenness, "throwing a spittoon at a saloon man," and occasional prostitution.

    The news media was rather unfairly vicious to Allen, reporting with salacious glee on his "shameful" lifestyle, which no doubt contributed to his eventual, tragic suicide at age 40.

     

     

    Lili Elbe

    Born in Denmark in 1882, Elbe was not only trans, but also a lesbian. She met her wife, Gerda, at college, and they moved to Paris to be artists together.In 1930 Eble travelled to Germany and became one of the first recipients of gender reassignment surgery, and the second transgender woman to undergo Gohrbandt's vaginoplasty technique in 1931.In 2000, David Ebershoff wrote The Danish Girl, a fictionalised account of Elbe's life. It was an international bestseller and was translated into a dozen languages. In 2015, it was made into a film of the same name.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    So, there you go! That’s six trans and non-binary people from history! There’s plenty more than that on offer, if you pop down to the HUBS there’s posters with bios on tons more people. 

     

    Follow me on twitter! @Kirstie Rutter

    And for all things LGBT+ at Shu follow @SHULGBTREP and Like our Facebook page

     

  • Wed 14 Nov 2018 15:59

    Suitcase

    By Kirstie Rutter

    Transgender Awareness Week is a week-long celebration of all things Trans, leading up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th. On this day we remember victims of transphobic violence and those who advocate for transgender rights. So why do we celebrate the week before as well? And what’s the purpose?

    The main purpose of Trans Awareness Week (TAW) is education, the truth is we unfortunately don’t talk about trans lives and what being trans means enough. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings and a lack of education within the general public. But sometimes the answers we need questions to are locked behind walls of difficult or uncomfortable questions, so in TAW we bring this information to the forefront and celebrate, to show the world what it means to be trans, and to show fellow trans and non-binary people that they’re not alone.

    But why do Hallam specifically observe this? Well the sad truth is that universities aren’t doing enough to protect trans students. Stonewall’s 2018 university report (which can be found here) found the following:

    • More than a third of trans students faced negative comments or conduct from university staff in the last year because they are LGBT.
    • Three in five trans students have been the target of negative comments or conduct from other students.
    • Seven per cent of trans students were physically attacked by another student or a member of university staff in the last year because of being trans.
    • Two in five trans students wouldn't feel confident reporting any homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying to university staff.
    • One in four non-binary students and one in six trans students don’t feel able to wear clothes representing their gender expression at university.
    • One in six trans students report being unable to use the toilet they feel comfortable with at university.

    It’s for these reasons that we must continue to create a safe environment for Trans and Non-Binary students to study. Whilst we write and pass policies for Trans students (You can these and other Union policies here), and act as a reporting centre for hate crime and discrimination, we also need to be a space that students feel they can come to. So, to help with this we host events and talks, welcoming students from though out the LGBT+ community to join us. These events can be anything from raising awareness, to education, to just celebrations and positivity.  

    This year for TAW we’re focusing on education and celebrating some really brilliant people. I’ll be posting a series of Blogs about Trans subjects, we’ve got lists of amazing trans and non-binary people from before the 1900’s and Non-binary people you might not have heard about, as well as breaking down the LGBT+ gender flags and what they represent.

    I’ll also be making mini bios of Trans and Non-Binary figures and putting them up around the HUBs and the SU area in the Heart of the Campus. If you spot them remember to tweet @KirstieRutter or @SHULGBTRep!

    But the big one to look for for this year is the Gender Identi-tea Party and Karaoke After Party at the HUBs! They both take place of Friday the 16th, the Tea Party from 2pm-4pm and the Karaoke from 7pm onwards! You can find the full info here: www.facebook.com/events/194421431471150/

    Follow me on twitter! @Kirstie Rutter

    And for all things LGBT+ at Shu follow @SHULGBTREP and Like our Facebook page

  • Tue 13 Nov 2018 16:25

    Suitcase

     

    By Lauren O'Donoghue 

    Many Elderly People Struggle With Loneliness

    The UK’s population is ageing. There are now almost 12 million people aged 65 or over in the UK, with that number expected to increase to over 16 million in the next 17 years. There are a number of issues affecting elderly people in Britain, from discrimination - 36.8% of people aged 65 and over have reportedly been discriminated against because of their age - to poverty, a particular problem in winter when fuel costs rise.

     

    But one of the most serious issues affecting the elderly in Britain - and one of the least visible - is loneliness. 1.9 million elderly people in the UK often feel ignored and invisible, and over half of all people aged 75 or over live alone. There are a number of reasons why elderly people may end up socially isolated. The death of a spouse or friends, family moving away, illness and disability are all factors that might contribute to an elderly person becoming isolated and lonely.

     

    Along with the obvious emotional toll of loneliness, studies have shown that it can have a serious impact on physical health too. Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of developing coronary heart disease and strokes, and people with a high degree of loneliness are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Loneliness can even increase a person’s risk of premature death by up to a quarter.

     

    Loneliness and social isolation in elderly people is an easy issue to ignore; not out of malice, but because it almost always occurs behind closed doors. Older people, particularly if they unwell, will often remain in their home a great deal of the time, and many find it difficult to connect with other people or ask for help.

     

    Supporting Elderly People In The Community

    Luckily, there are a number of organisations dedicated to tackling this crucial issue. Some charities offer befriending services to elderly people at risk of social isolation. Volunteers will visit them at home, call them up for a chat, or take them out to a cafe or for a walk.

     

    Sharon Saunders is the Interim Operations Manager at SCCCC, a charity that has been supporting the elderly in Sheffield for over fifty years. She highlighted some of the reasons why this issue is so important in our area. “I think people don’t appreciate the effect on mental health,” she said. “Older people in the community are often isolated, and it’s not just a case of people who haven’t got families. People may have families but their families don’t often live close any more, so the communities are spreading.”

     

    Student volunteers can make a huge impact on elderly people in their community, and don’t need to be discouraged by their university schedules. “More often than not the people who we match up, the older people are really happy just to have that student,” she said. “They’re happy to look forward to September when they come back, and for the summer period and for Christmas they’re quite happy. They know that it’s going to be a fortnight but ‘that’s okay, because when they come back in January I’ll see them again’”.

     

    How To Get Involved

    Befriending services might not be the right fit for everyone, but there are plenty of other ways to get involved with organisations like SCCCC. Many organisations require volunteers to act as a ‘second person’ on an ad hoc basis, accompanying staff members on home visits, and there are always loads of opportunities for people who want to raise funds and awareness.

     

    If you’re interested in supporting elderly people, there are loads of opportunities available through Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union. As well as helping you to find regular volunteering roles or one-off opportunities with local charities, the Volunteering Team can also provide support and guidance if you want to organise a fundraiser or arrange an event.

     

    Here are just a few of the many brilliant local charities you could get involved with to help tackle social isolation among the elderly...

     

    SCCCC (Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care)

    SCCCC has been supporting older people in Sheffield since 1965. They run a ‘Good Neighbour’ scheme in local communities, and offer services such as hospital aftercare and key safe loans to those who need them. There are a number of ways you can volunteer with the organisation, from fundraising to home visits with elderly people, and they are happy to take on students on an ad-hoc basis that fits around their studies.

     

    Website: https://scccc.co.uk

     

    Age Better in Sheffield

    Age Better in Sheffield is a charitable organisation dedicated to reducing isolation in people aged 50 or over. They offer a number of volunteering opportunities around the city, including skill swap sessions and community journalism. Their website also hosts toolkits and resources for self-education about how to better support socially isolated older people in your community.

     

    Website: http://www.agebettersheff.co.uk/

     

    Darnall Dementia Group

    Part of the Darnall Dementia Trust, Darnall Dementia Group runs a day centre three days a week. These sessions provide activities and companionship for people with dementia, and support, advice and information to their carers. They aim to offer one-to-one support at every session, so new volunteers are welcome. Some of the activities they have recently carried out include dancing, sharing stories and trips to the seaside.


    Website: http://www.darnalldementiagroup.co.uk

  • Wed 07 Nov 2018 10:32

     

    Suitcase

    By Jess Brown

    In the wise words of Super Hans from Peep Show “sit in the bath and have a magnum.”

    Keeping in line with the day, I’m trying not to stress myself out thinking too much on how to start this so thought I’d try something different, loosen up and just write what comes to mind. Writing isn’t stressful to me but it can get all tangled like a ball of rubber bands when you sit and think too much about what words you’re going to mess around with.. It’s like a flowing spilt bottle of fanta.

    See that doesn’t make any discernible sense but I’m trying not to stress today. Earlier, I had my favourite sweets, played a bit of PS4 and watched some of The Office US just to keep me chilled before doing course work. Just trying to chill and let myself relax. Ooh a good song to relax to is Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root. That’s playing now and it’s chilling me right out, giving me Matilda vibes.

    It’s a balance really and a tricky one to get right and give advice on because everyone is different. Being aware of your stress and wanting to calm yourself isn’t always a viable option either because sometimes we have commitments that mean we have to stress. That’s okay too. What I try to do in those situations is schedule something for the end of my work load so that I know I have something to wind down to. The theme of the day this year is “Does Hi-Tech cause Hi-Stress?” which is relevant to a lot of our generation. It’s probably a good idea to take note of what may be making you stressed and if that is your phone, laptop or computer then give yourself a break from it. I myself have to come off of social media every now and then to stop myself being sucked into the pit of self-deprecation and despair it can generate. The point of the day is to be mindful of what’s potentially causing you harm. You may not feel up to tackling it and that’s okay, but being aware of it is the first step to getting there.

    In the meantime have some chocolate if you want. Or watch your favourite TV show, don’t text her/him/them back, or do, play a video game, eat a biscuit, go for a walk, look at a bird, go look at the stars tonight, have a hot chocolate, stay in bed, whatever it is that helps you relax. Take a breather, it’s National Stress Awareness Day 2018. I mean, of course stress more than usual if that's your prerogative but in a way isn’t that just doing what you want, so you’re actually adhering to the message of National Stress Awareness Day? Think that’s a paradox.

    It’s important to look after your mental health and take time for yourself every now and then. National Stress Awareness Day shouldn’t just be for one day of the year, there should be multiple days throughout a week where you take the time you need to breathe. Too much stress can lead to a litany of health problems (that’s not just me chatting nonsense, it’s been proven by scientists) and can lead to you losing track of your studies, which just leads to more stress... it’s a vicious cycle. Sometimes a day, night or even hour of self-reflection and care can give you time to process and get more motivated to tackle the mountain of work you may have in life. For example I took an hour break from writing this because I couldn’t come up with an ending, which ironically gave me a perfect example to end on.

     

     

     

  • Fri 02 Nov 2018 16:39

     

    Suitcase

    By Abbie Dodson

    With October comes many things; the autumnal descent into winter, shops selling Christmas Decorations prematurely, and the Autumn Budget, which isn’t quite as complex and ominous as it may sound.

    The Autumn Budget is the annual economic statement made by the government, and was published on Monday 29th October. The Autumn Budget details government’s spending and taxation plans, which are ‘forecasted’ by the Office for Budget Responsibility. The statement focuses on estimates for Britain’s economic growth over the next year.

    Phillip Hammond has served as Chancellor of the Exchequer since 2016, and has promised that October’s Budget will “put an end to austerity.”Whilst the budget details nothing which specifically affects university students, there are many changes which affect aspects of student life.

    Alcohol, Tobacco and Fuel

    Many students  enjoy alcohol, for example, and whilst duty on beer, cider, and spirits will be frozen, there’s bad news for wine drinkers, as the price of wine is set to inflate by 8p from February. Prices of cigarettes and tobacco products are also rising, with a packet of 20 cigarettes due to rise 33p. On a more positive note, for the students who drive, fuel duty will remain frozen for the ninth consecutive year. There is also a confirmed £30 billion dedicated to fixing Britain’s potholes and repairing motorways.

    Pay and Benefits

    Once you graduate and start paying tax, you get a 'tax-free allowance' which is the amount of your wage that you don't pay tax on. The Budget announced that there would be  an increase in this tax-free allowance to £12,500 as of April 2019.

    The National Living Wage and National Minimal Wage are also increasing, the new hourly rates can be found below:

     

    . For Employees aged 25+, rates are increasing from £7.83 to £8.21

    . For 21-24 year olds, rates are increasing from £7.38 to £7.70

    . For 18-20 year olds rates are increasing from £5.90 to £6.15

    . For 16-17 year olds, rates are increasing from £4.20 to £4.35

    . Apprentice wages are also changing from £3.70 to £3.90.

     

    With wage growth at its highest in ten years, Hammond has also provided £630 to benefit working families with children, and insists that the new ‘controversial’ welfare and benefits system is “here to stay". This disputed system provides an extra billion pounds to help welfare claimants transfer to a new, stronger benefit.

     

    Brexit

    Regarding Brexit, the Autumn Budget has set aside an extra £500 million to prepare for leaving the European Union. There will also be a commemorative 50p coin to mark the event.

    Security

    An extra £160 million has been set aside for counter-terrorism policing, alongside an extra £1 billion for armed forces and improving cyber-capabilities. There is also consideration for better mental health care for veterans to mark the centenary anniversary of the end of World War One.

    Healthcare

    The NHS has been granted an extra £20.5 billion over the next five years, with a minimum of £2 billion a year being provided to mental health services. These services include a new mental health crisis centre which offers support in every accident and emergency nationally.

    There will also be a new 24-hour mental health hotline, along with an increase in the amount of mental health ambulances.

    An extra £700 million has been provided to councils to better care for those with disabilities and the elderly.

    Education

    A single “bonus” of £400 million has been set up to help schools buy the ‘little extras they need” in the coming year. There has also been funding granted for 10 University Enterprise Zones.

    Environment

    A new tax has been announced for plastic packaging which does not contain 30% recyclabale material however there will not be a tax on takeaway coffee cups or the so-called 'Latte levy' but the government has stated this would be reconsidered if the industry does not progress enough. A further £60m has been set aside for planting trees in England and £10 to deal with abandoned waste sites.For full details of the Budget 2018, head to the government's website here https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2018

  • Wed 31 Oct 2018 15:48

     

    Suitcase

    By Jess Brown

    Before I start I just want to clarify that I’m half Indian, half English. So although I don’t have the same experience as a black person I have similar experiences with racism and social divides. I also have a few black friends who I’ve experienced racism alongside and have spoken to them a lot about this subject. I also want to say this isn’t an attack on white people at all. It’s just a truth of society that is still relevant and involves the strange divides we have between “races”. At the end of the day we are all human and should be treated equal. Colour doesn’t matter. But that doesn’t change what has happened in the past and what is happening today, and the construct of race that very much does still exist.

    I was on the bus yesterday and I heard a couple of white school students saying the n-word as they walked past me to get off. The n-word. White kids saying the n-word casually. It was just to one another, not to a black person, as one would call a friend, friend. It’s sort of semi-normalized in parts of society now, not obviously by actual black people but by white people who probably don’t have any black friends. Those kids probably have no idea why it’s wrong to say that word. They probably don’t know the meaning behind the word or the pain it has caused. They don’t understand its weight or its significance in history. Might have even just been repeating it from a song. In my life (mostly in school) I’ve heard a lot of white people argue that they have a right to use it because “they themselves weren’t responsible for slavery” or “black people use it so why shouldn’t we?”

    I’ll deconstruct both of these here. We as a country were involved heavily in slavery. We traded people for over 300 years. That’s multiple generations and that’s also just us. America were way worse. The horrors that slaves suffered were beyond a sane person’s imagination and so it’s our responsibility as an evolving species and a culture to make sure that never happens again. Especially if people we are descended from were responsible for that suffering... We can help do that by remaining culturally sensitive to actual historical fact and societal change. This word wasn’t just used in slave times it was used during the civil rights movement and still gets used as a racist slur to this day. To oppress. My point is it still holds weight.

    The reclaiming of the word was significant in giving black people a sense of their power back. White people in this generation may not have been directly responsible for slavery but there’s a strong chance their ancestors were. That includes me since I’m half English. Its an insult to use it and not take in the consequences of our ancestors’ actions. You may not be responsible for what happened but you are responsible for what happens now. Today. You have to be sensitive and aware about the power that word has and the power that we have as people to stop terrible acts like that happening again. To remove racial barriers too. Also it’s not about banning free speech for white people. Bearing in mind for hundreds of years white people have used it to oppress. If your people were to blame for that suffering why would you use it? It’s also just cringe and ignorant hearing mostly privileged white people use a word that represents monumental struggle and fight for survival for an ethnic group in society, when they know nothing of that struggle and fight for survival.

    You don’t have to be black to take offence at that word being used by people who aren’t black. Just as you don’t have to be brown to take offence to me being called a “paki” randomly on the street (which still happens). That’s a word I’ve never understood because I would be proud to be Pakistani just as I am proud to be Indian. But racism isn’t about making sense is it. Hatred doesn’t make sense it’s just quick and ugly and stupid. 

    I’ve found a lot with my personal experience and that of my ethnic friends that a thing people of any ethnicity do is often to make jokes about their race or enable white friends to say certain slurs. We often do this as a defence tactic so white people don’t get there first because 9 times out of 10 that’s what’s happened before. We’ve gone up to meet someone new and we’ve just had race hate thrown at us. Or eventually close friends have just got to those jokes and slurs on their own. It’s good to keep this in mind if you have friends of different ethnicities too. They’re most of the time making a lot of race jokes about themselves to stop others from doing it first.

    One last thing I want to talk about is my experience in school of being forced to spend time with people who I knew were racist. More often than not, I knew that because they had been racist to me in the past. I’d have to spend time with them because my white friends asked me to and said they were really nice people. Even if I explained they had been racist they said it was probably a joke or a misunderstanding and peer pressure would cave me. I knew though. You learn to spot hatred when you get it thrown at you a few times. It sits behind the eyes. I knew whilst I was talking to them, pretending to be comfortable that they were most likely judging me or looking down on me. I have never felt anything more stomach churning than that. I’ve asked my other ethnic friends on this and they’ve agreed with me. It’s the privilege of white people to ask their ethnic friends to shake the hands of other white people who they know hold racist views. I think it's something we don't talk about enough and it's good to keep in mind.

  • Tue 30 Oct 2018 14:57

     

    Suitcase

    Written by Jess Mell - final year Nutrition and Public Health student

    We all know the feeling, but whether I agree with it as a term that is thrown around so often is another matter. To me, ‘academic stress’ feels as though it is something everyone must experience, otherwise you are not trying hard enough- but it is not the case.

    Lectures about assignments, endless talks about the value of extracurricular activities and the pile of washing accumulating in the corner of your bedroom- university is one big juggling act. It is a far reach from the fun and games most people think that they are signing up to, although, I do appreciate that this varies between different people and their motivations for being here. Personally, over the two years that I have been at university I have tried, sometimes failed, but mostly triumphed in creating a good balance of work and life. I will admit that my non-drinking lifestyle helps by creating more time in a morning and freeing up an entire Sunday, but that doesn’t mean that I spend all of that time doing academic work. It is all about using that time to look after yourself, do something you enjoy and relax with those around you. University is a fantastic experience, and it is also 3 whole years of your life- don’t forget that.

    I am fortunate that I have amazing friends and family, who are incredibly supportive and great listeners. Having previously suffered with a severe eating disorder leading to hospitalisation just 3 years ago, it was important for me to have a sort of action plan to prevent relapse and maintain good mental health whilst returning to university. This was a challenge at first, but I knew all of the steps I needed to take in order to achieve this goal, the first being to talk.

    I am incredibly open about my past experiences, but I am also incredibly open about how I feel right now. Whether it is to my best friends, my parents, the nurse or my boyfriend, I have people around me that I can talk to. However, there are also plenty of people within the Students’ Union that I know I could speak to if I was struggling, as well as academic staff. They are prepared to listen; you just have to be prepared to talk.

    I know that extracurricular activities are sold as being the key addition to your CV, but they provide so much more than that. This was my second step- walking up to Michael’s desk in the volunteering hub and signing up to a project, literally on the day I arrived at university. I knew that this project would be a regular activity that I could look forward to throughout the week. It encouraged me to get out of my flat and meet new people. It also helped to boost my confidence and give me a break from the routine of lectures, seminars and assessments. I often joke that I forget I am studying for a degree because I spend so much time getting involved with other projects, but this is what makes me happy and without it I think I would really struggle.

    The last thing that I want to mention is exercise. This is a new thing that I have started this year and I absolutely love it. My housemate and I attend a Clubbercise class just a few doors down from our house, and every Wednesday we arm ourselves with our glow sticks and head to the class. It is so much fun and for that one hour I forget about everything and enjoy myself. Check out Hallam’s Social Sports timetable, or look at Pop-Pilates or Zumba that is on offer at the HUBS, you don’t have to commit yourself to an expensive gym membership, just have a go at something new and have fun!

    At the end of the day, there are so many challenges that university throws at you and there is not one thing that works for everyone in order to tackle that. It’s a case of trial and error, but I would encourage everyone to reach out and talk to people rather than suffering in silence. Just remind yourself that everyone is going through the same thing, but everyone has a unique way of dealing with it. Speak to people, find out what works for them, you might learn a new breathing technique, or a time management strategy. However you get through the ‘academic stress’, just remind yourself that you are not alone and support is out there. Don’t let it get too much and don’t overwhelm yourself.

    Remember, it is 3 years of your life that you will never get back- it’s important to look after yourself!

  • Wed 24 Oct 2018 10:46

     

    Suitcase

    By Abbie Dodson

    Black History Month began in 1915, only 50 years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in America. The event was originally named ‘Negro History Week’ by its founder, Carter G Woodson, but has been officially referred to as Black History Month since 1987. The campaign for ethnic equality now spans the whole of October, where it was originally held during the second week of February

    Sheffield Hallam Students' Union President, Abdullah Okud, is leading a campaign across the Students' Union, focusing on barriers within education and the black struggle within academia. Abdullah is keen to promote this month not just as Black History Month, but as an ongoing “Black History Campaign”. Abdullah believes that racial empowerment should be an ever-present movement throughout the entire year.

    Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union intends to celebrate the 31st Black History Month in many different ways. Black History Month inspires discussions about racial topics, and aims to empower people of colour and eradicate racial discrimination. The Students' Union is keen to enforce equality and belonging, and Abdullah intends to use his position within the Union to tackle any racism that may occur within Sheffield Hallam University.

    It seems implausible that we live in the futuristic setting of ‘Back to the Future’, and still battle racial inequality. However, a multitude of evidence suggests that racial discrimination is still prominent in 2018.  This discrimination has been proven to particularly affect black university student, as 2011 NUS report found that one in six black students had experienced racism at their institution.  A mathematics student at the University of Surrey was severely injured in a racially motivated attack, and now finds it difficult to attend lectures through fear of another attack.

    A black student we spoke to who attends Sheffield Hallam University claims that there is a lack of understanding of people’s differences within the University. Abdullah wants to make Hallam’s environment as enjoyable and unbiased as possible for black students, and to encourage more black students to enter academia. Research concludes that black students are 50% more likely to leave university than people of other ethnicities, with 1/10th of black students dropping out of universities across Britain annually. Studies conducted by the Equality Challenge Unit claim that the gap between the number of white students and BME students obtaining firsts and 2:1s is 15.2%.

    In wider society, studies have found that black adult males have the lowest mental health treatment rate of any ethnic group. The statistics for black patients show that they are 7.1% less likely than white British patients to seek help. Whilst cultural values have been proven to influence these statistics, racism is another key contributor. Despite Black History Month initially aiming to raise awareness surrounding racism and discrimination, it also aims to empower black communities, and better enable them to discuss these ‘taboo’ issues, including the relationship between masculinity and mental health. This issue is being confronted directly in a scheduled talk this month; Mental Health and Me: The Unspoken Taboo in the Black Community.

    Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union also aims to support black women in academia throughout this campaign. Deborah Gabriel is a senior lecturer at Bournemouth University, and has experienced this racial and gender discrimination first hand. Gabriel claims that her students circulated racially abusive messages about her via social media during her classes. She states that the messages referred to her “[...] race and gender in animalistic and graphic sexual terms”. The scheduled talk: NUS: Black Women in Academia, aims to support black female students this Black History Month, and reduce discrimination, encouraging more potential black female academics.

    In 2015-2016, shocking figures concluded that universities employed more black staff as cleaners and receptionists opposed to lecturers or professors. Two years later, and the statistics are still disheartening. In the 2016-17 academic year, only 25 black female academics worked as professors out of 19,000. These statistics also showed that only 90 black men worked as professors in English universities opposed to a staggering 14,000 white males.

    The Students’ Union has also launched several smaller campaigns to help fight racism and prejudice. These campaigns include encouraging ethnic pride and eradicating racial bias within the curriculum. The Students’ Union wants students to stay at university, not leave early. These issues are all going to be addressed in the upcoming events scheduled by the Students’ Union through October, culminating with Do It For Your Culture, a celebration evening of food, music and culture with guest speakers, performances and awards. With attendees encouraged to wear their traditional clothing to the event,

    These events range from workshops to a talk with Sheffield’s Mayor, Majid Majid. There are planned cinema nights in the iconic HUBS building, where films such as Black Panther and Selmar will be screened. A football tournament has been organised with the intention of removing differences between competitive and non-competitive black students. Externally, Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union is running an outreach programme where staff visit local schools to inspire black children to attend university, hopefully reducing the attainment gap for prospective black academics.

     

    A full list of the planned events can be found below:

     

    Black History Campaign 2018.

     

    02/10/2018 – Black History Month Launch.

    Time: 12:00 – 2:00

    Venue: Pinball Square.

     

    04/10/2018 – Barriers in Education.

    Time: 18:00 to 20:00

    Venue: Peak Lecture Theatre.

     

    11/10/2018 – Black in Politics: In Conversation with Mayor Majid.

    Time: 18:00 to 20:00

    Venue: Owen 1028.

     

    12/10/2018 – NUS: Black Women in Academia.

    Time: 18:00 to 19:30

    Venue: Awaiting Confirmation.

     

    13/10/2018 – Mental Health and Me: The Unspoken Taboo in the Black Community.

    Time: 09:30 to 16:20

    Venue: Victoria Hall Methodist Church.

     

    18/10/2018 – Selma Film Screening.

    Time: 18:00 to 20:30

    Venue: The Stage (in the HUBS).

     

    22/10/2018 –Black Panther Film Screening.

    Time: 18:00 to 20:30

    Venue: The Stage (in the HUBS).

     

    23/10/2018 – Kick it Out Workshop.

    Time: 11:00 to 13:00

    Venue: The Stage (in the HUBS).

     

    23/10/2018 – Open Mic Night.

    Time: 18:00 to 21:00

    Venue: Coffee Union.

     

    25/10/2018 – Black History Debate Night.

    Time: 17:00 to 20:00.

    Venue: Common Room.

     

    27/10/2018 – One Race Football Tournament.

    Time: 12:00 to 17:00

    Venue: Sports Park.

    Details: 6 a side tournament. Ticket Price: £2.50 each, £15 for a team. Transportation included.

     

    30/10/2018 – Do it For Your Culture.

    Time: 18:00 to 21:00.

    Venue: Stage (in the HUBS).






     

     

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