No Ifs, No Buts, No Education Cuts!

•January 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Birmingham City University students took to the streets of London last week in protest of the government’s latest plans to triple tuition fees.

The protest, which started peacefully at midday on Wednesday 10th November, saw in excess of 2,500 students from the regions universities. Towards the end of the protest, anarchists hijacked the demonstration which brought chaos and violence to the otherwise successful march.

The latest plans by the coalition government suggest that from 2012, students will have to pay up to £9,000 per year for tuition fees, which will result in students having debts of up to £27,000 when they finish a three year degree at university.

Tom Thompson, President of Birmingham City Students’ Union said:
“‘The proposed fee increases are another blow to students already being hit left, right and centre by government cuts. They will let the rich universities and students race ahead, leaving newer institutions and students from ordinary middle and working class backgrounds behind’.

As this is the biggest attack to higher education in decades, members from Birmingham City University have already taken action by signing a pledge committing them to voting against a rise in fees, in hope it will contribute towards receiving parliamentary support for the campaign against tuition fees. The union believe this pledge will go towards supporting many Birmingham City students living across the region.

Kat Higgs, Communications Officer for Birmingham City University Students’ Union added:
“The union believe the proposed funding system will create a market based university environment, which will mean that those that can afford to pay more for their education will then receive in relative terms the better education. Consequently those better funded and resourced universities with a better reputation will then be able to attract not necessarily the most able students but the wealthiest students or those that are able to pay for it.”

The University and College Union (UCU) and the Nation Union of Students (NUS), organised the demonstration that had an estimated turnout of 50,000, which was considerably more than the 10,000 protesters that were expected.

With threats to cut higher education funding by 40%, students marched the streets of Westminster to stand up for their student rights. Many believed the demonstration would show the coalition government that they don’t agree with their wide ranging cuts initiative and the direct attack they are making on further and higher education.

Andy Speed, President of University Camp Suffolk (UCS) said:
“I think the cuts are outrageous, we’re a very small institution and it’s likely to put off the majority of our students going into higher education, and the split between the £7000 and £9000 cut will stop some of the poorer students wanting to go to the perceived better universities.”

Looking towards the future of higher education, upcoming students are going to be most affected by the cuts to education as they will effectively be the ones looking to attend university when these proposals are put into practice.

Speaking with Lucy Long, a prospective student that attended the demonstration, she commented:
“I’m currently still studying at school, but I think the cuts are completely wrong. I wanted to attend today because as a prospective student, I’m going to be really affected by the proposed cuts as I definitely want to attend university next year, but I’m not going to be able to afford £9,000. In addition to this we’re not allowed to pay the money back until we’re earning over £21,000 which means we’ll be in a huge amount of debt because of interest rates, it’s just not fair”.

The protest, which has been described as the biggest demonstration against the coalition government so far, initially started with students marching through Whitehall past Downing Street and Parliament.

The demonstration took a downward turn during the afternoon when anarchists hijacked the protest and took to vandalising Millbank Tower, the headquarters of the Conservative Party. Many workers were evacuated from the building as around 50 protesters got onto the roof where missiles were thrown and placards and banners burnt. The Metropolitan Police have been blamed for not anticipating the seriousness of the demonstration, consequently they were not prepared for the actions that took place.

Kat Higgs, Communications Officer for Birmingham City University Students’ Union further added:
“The protest was a huge success and the turnout was really good, 1000’s more students turned up than initially expected. It’s a shame about the violence that broke out towards the end which got a bit out of hand with windows being smashed and missiles being thrown from buildings. However the majority of people were very peaceful and took the demonstration very seriously”.


Summer Work Placements!

•July 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So it’s been a while since I finished university and I have to admit I have neglected blogging, but that’s mainly due to being on a two week work placement and flying off to sunny Tenerife!

Unfortunately it’s now back to reality and I am working at Next for the summer! Although I can’t complain as I am in desperate need of the money!

Closer magazine – So I started my work placement at Closer on 14th June, I had to commute from Northampton every day, which I can tell you is not fun, especially when you have to sit on the floor as there’s no seats left!
Whilst at the magazine I was located on the fashion sector, this meant I had to arrange the fashion cupboard – signing clothes in and out of the department. I also had to work on the ‘get the look’ section which meant I would look at what certain celebrities have worn and try to locate similar items available on the high street – effectively getting the ‘celeb look’ for cheaper!

In addition to this I was able to work with the web team in the second week of my work placement; this meant I was able to work closely with the web editor to see how the online section of the website is run and make several contributions to the Closer website! My favourite article was about Cheryl Cole: (take a look and let me know what you think). I found it quite difficult to pick up the housestyle of the magazine as it is very informal and chatty, which is a lot different to how I’m used to writing, but I think I picked it up eventually.

Heat magazine – Whilst on placement at Closer magazine, I was asked to help out at Heat magazine which is located next to Closer. I was so grateful for the opportunity and met some lovely people there. I helped think of some ‘silly questions’ to ask Tinchy Stryder’ for the magazine and also carried out some research for possible stories.

You will also be pleased to know, Closer magazine didn’t miss out on watching England in the World Cup – we were able to watch the football in the offices accompanied by lots of food and beverages – check out the magazines online blog: (and there’s a few pictures too).

I also made some really good friends on placement – hopefully we’ll be able to meet up later in the summer for a catch up! And thanks to everyone at Closer and Heat. After my two hectic weeks on placement I jetted of to sunny Tenerife and had a fab holiday! Will keep you updated with all my summer fun on here!

Week 14 – Online Journalism is coming to an end!

•June 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have published the Dipity timeline I created looking at what campaigns, awards and events universities in Birmingham are doing to help the environment and sustainability.
The timeline took a lot longer than expected as there are many stages you have to go through including: uploading event, writing event info (date and description), adding image, connecting a URL and linking any other multimedia features e.g. videos. In total I added about 7 events for each university; I found it quite difficult to find out about future events especially during the summer as students aren’t at university, therefore a lot fewer events take place then.

This week I am working on getting all work completed for the Online Journalism assignment. I am aiming to edit the video Emma Dando and I recorded at the ‘Brum Skeptics’ event with David Gregory. I have tried to edit the video on ‘Windows Movie Maker’ as that’s where I edited my last video, but I’ve had no success. Does anyone know any other video editing programs…? Once the video has been completed I am hoping to add it to the article and audio already posted on the ‘Birmingham Recycled’ website.

It feels really strange that this module is coming to an end! Will definitely be keeping the blog going though, I’m so glad the module gave me the motivation to get a blog, I had been meaning to set one up for ages! I’ve really noticed the importance of being active online, especially working in the media!

How ‘green’ is the new ipad?

•June 2, 2010 • 2 Comments

The new ipad 'how green is it'?

I was hoping to get some feedback on this subject…

I was reading this article on ‘The Guardian’ yesterday and I found myself wondering, how environmentally friendly is the new ipad? Many reports have claimed the ipad is an unnecessary new product that can contribute to a much larger carbon footprint.

Greenpeace have said “”the launch of quintessential cloud computing devices like the Apple ipad, which offer users access to the ‘cloud’ of online services like social networks and video streaming, can contribute to a much larger carbon footprint of the Information Technology sector than previously estimated.”

Yet, on the other hand it has been reported that in many ways the ipad is ‘eco-friendly’. This is due to the products casing using recyclable aluminium, LED-backlit displays which are more energy efficient than LCDs as well as the ipad being free of mercury and arsenic.

And surely if the Ipad can do so much, then that will save users using computers, laptops and TVs etc?

What do you think, is the ipad green? Who wants one?

Week 13 – No Lectures, but still blogging, writing and interacting online!

•May 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This week is feeling like it’s going to be good, even though I have a tonne of work! I have just published last week’s article: Oscott Gardens wins the ‘Student Switch of Campaign’ and had some great feedback from the organisation (Student Switch of Campaign). They have even offered to include a link to the article on their website and on their Facebook page; this will be a great way to bring more people in to the Birmingham Recycled website!

Now for this week! I have decided to do produce a timeline using ‘Dipity’; Dipity is a website that allows you to produce timelines and share them around the world. Since the beginning of studying the ‘Online Journalism’ module I seem to have become the specialist in finding out what’s been going on at universities in Birmingham. Whether it be covering their Fairtrade events or Reporting on the success of EcoCampus awards; so this gave me the idea to put each of the universities eco/green/environment events on a timeline. I have restricted the timeline to 2010, otherwise it would take forever and it is difficult to find the exact dates of previous events. To find out this information I have been communicating with eco correspondents from the universities, using the website and building on events I have attended. I haven’t used this multimedia feature before, so wish me luck! I’ll keep you updated with the progress!

Birmingham City University – Library Opening Hours

•May 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Here is the video that Emma Dando, Jade Rance and I produced during our ‘Online Journalism Lecture’. After editing the video we have since distributed it on other social sites such as ‘You Tube’.

It was our first attempt at producing and editing a video…let us know what you think!

Universities in Birmingham – Recycling Facilities and Environment Features

•May 18, 2010 • 2 Comments

I have finally got around to visiting all of Birmingham’s Universities to take some pictures of their recycling facilities and other elements they are implementing to become greener and help the environment. I will be adding them to my article on Birmingham Recycled soon.

Birmingham Universities

Here are a selection of the pictures I took, if you hover over the image you can see which university the image is from: