Student Union Elections

Like all good universities, Edge Hill University has a Students’ Union, they even have offices upstairs in The Hub. The Students’ Union team is comprised of the president and three Vice-Presidents, one for Activities, one for Welfare, and one for Academic Representation, and are 18k salary positions. There are also six Support Officers: BME Officer, Disabled Officer, International Officer, Post-Grad Officer, Mature and Part-Time Officer, Women’s Officer, LGBQ+ Officer, Trans and Non-Binary Officer. Whilst the President and VPs are full-time jobs, the Support are part-time.

Voting took place online but could be accessed at various polling stations on Edge Hill campus throughout the week. This year, voting took place from Monday 5th to Friday 9th. Students could submit their manifestos for the positions a few weeks prior to the voting and could start campaigning a few days before voting began and throughout the voting week. The voting system uses a single-transferable vote procedure, meaning that you rank the candidates in each category, then if your most preferred candidate doesn’t receive the most number of “first” votes, they are knocked out, and your “second” vote counts to another candidate, etc. Personally, I prefer this system to the first-past-the-post system used to elect MPs to Westminster, as it eliminates fears of a “wasted vote” that arise when there are two ‘main’ parties running. This year, students who voted were also entered into a prize draw to win an Apple Watch – yet another incentive to vote.

This year, I actually ran for one of the support officer positions, the Trans and Non-Binary Officer. The Trans and Non-Binary Officer position is fairly new. In the past, there was just the LGBT Officer position, but now one has become two positions – as seen in the list above: LGBQ+ and Trans and Non-Binary. This allows a lot more focus to be applied to both positions, one focusing primarily on sexuality and the homophobia, biphobia, acephobia, etc. that might affect students; the other focused on gender and the transphobia that might affect either some of those same students or others students entirely.

2nd Annual Pride Week 🌈

If you were at Edge Hill University last week, you might have noticed that it was Pride week. How would you have known, you ask? Why the main building being lit up in true rainbow fashion, of course! A great show of solidarity from the university, and with their continued support of all gender toilets and inclusivity it’s not without merit.

Last year was the first ever Pride week at Edge Hill University, before that, the LGBT+ students had usually headed over to Preston for their annual Pride event, lacking anything closer to home. This year saw the return of the pronoun workshop on Monday, a short educational event on how to ask someone’s pronouns and pronouns outside the binary of him/her. Also on Monday was the Student Union Bar quiz, featuring a bonus pride round.

Tuesday was a day for sports and societies to show their support for the LGBT community, with the Pride in Sport and Societies workshop on in the afternoon just before the BUCS sports teams signed the 2018 Pride Pledge, at the Team Edge Hill Forum. The BUCS teams all wore rainbow laces during their Wednesday games, making a visual statement of support to go alongside their signings the day before. Pride Social also saw a return in 2018 on Wednesday evening at Venue, with confetti cannons and rainbow face paint to boot.

On Thursday evening in the Hub, banners were made alongside the film, Pride, being played upstairs – right by the flags hanging proudly from the bridge to the SU Offices. This was of course in preparation for the Pride March that occurred on Friday at midday. Also on Friday, starting at 7pm, was the SU Drag Race, being presented and judged by Manchester’s own, Miss Blair.

Fear not if you missed the events of Pride Week, for, on March 15th, Venue is hosting “Milk”, the North West’s NEWEST LGBT+ Clubnight that promises drag acts and stilt walkers. Open not just to students but to all members of the LGBT+ community and friends.

My A-Z of Edge Hill University

A – Art’s Centre: The Art’s Centre hosts a wide range of entertainment available for anyone – film, theatre, and music. Currently, students can get a free membership that comes with a few free tickets.
B – Biosciences: Obviously the greatest department around, is the department of biology. The building is filled with great equipment such as the electron microscope as well as having the brand new tech hub lab next door. Of course, the department staff are as well phenomenal – the technicians, administrators and lecturers.
C – Campus: Our wonderful campus is fairly small but incredibly beautiful. With two lakes and plenty of green spaces, you will never be far from nature, yet the modern facilities are equally as stunning.
D – Ducks: If you don’t know already, you should know that the ducks on campus are essentially the mascots of our uni.
E – Edge Link: The Edge Link Bus runs from campus to Ormskirk throughout the day, roughly every 15 minutes.
F – Facilities: Many impressive facilities exist at Edge Hill, the newest of which is the Techhub. It hosts the new biotechnology lab, as well as the CAVE. Other buildings worth mentioning are Creative Edge and Sporting Edge – both being modern facilities for the computery creative and the athletic populations of Edge Hill.
G – Green: Facilities Management became the second university in the UK to gain the Green Flag Award for maintaining an attractive and welcoming campus. Our uni is also green in that it is environmentally conscious, sporting solar panels, ground source heating and thermal heat recovery.
H – History: Edge Hill College, as it was once known, was originally a women-only teaching college, until accepting men in 1959. The history of Edge HIll has links to women’s rights and the Suffragette movement.
I – International: The International office allows students the opportunity to study abroad on the ERASMUS+ program. We have links to Sweden, Cyprus, Belgium, and many more.
J – Joint Honours: Those wishing to study a joint or combined honours degree will find a number of options available to them at Edge Hill, particularly in the Humanities subjects on offer here.
K – Knowledge: Those studying at Edge Hill will gain knowledge into their degree subject that only a lecturer could give. Studying Biology at Edge Hill has presented me with many opportunities to learn that would not have been available to me otherwise.
L – Liverpool: A mere 30 minutes on the train from Liverpool, Ormskirk is nicely situated near the bustling city.
M – Money Advice Team: The Money Advice Team offer advice at drop-in sessions all throughout the term, providing support on money management as well as information regarding scholarships and the hardship fund.
N – Nightlife: There are few clubs and bars in Ormskirk, as well as the SU Bar and Quad, ensuring you will have plenty of choices if you decide on a night in town.
O – Ormskirk: A quaint market town that makes a lovely place to call your home away from home. From the clock tower to coronation park, I know I’ve come to love it.
P – PGCE: Qualifications for teaching are also available at Edge Hill, alongside other undergrad and postgrad degrees.
Q – Queer representation: Our students’ union have both an LGBT+ Officer and also the upcoming position of a Trans Officer.
R – Red Bar: The Red Bar – adjacent the Arts Centre – is the location of the Open Mic nights and serves delicious pizza! The staff are incredibly welcoming too. Also here are many board games for a nice quiet social time.
S – Societies and Sports: So! Many! Societies! Ranging from Sports clubs to liberation or recreational socs.
T – Tutors: I can speak from experience when I say that my personal tutor has been very supportive of me and has provided great support when I’ve needed it. Personal tutors definitely make an important part of the incredible student support system at Edge Hill.
U – University of the Year: Back in 2014-5, Edge Hill won the University of the Year in 10th annual Times Higher Education (THE) Awards – a title it rightfully deserves!
V – Varsity: The annual sporting competition between us and the University of Central Lancashire is a great opportunity to get involved in competitive sport. Bonus V – Vikings: The Edge Hill American football team!
W – Whatuni awards: This year, Edge Hill won top accommodation, third for student support, and placed in the top five for Courses and Lecturers and Uni Facilities.
X – Xenobiotics: One of the areas of study by our biology department is mosquitoes as a vector for human disease. A topic that accompanies this is the use of insecticides – xenobiotics – to kerb the spread of said diseases.
Y – You: Our Student’s Union values you, and is made by you. Our bar and house staff are students, as are the elected officers, president and vice presidents.
Z – Zoo: Chester zoo is not far, and was one of the trips I attended during the first few weeks of my biology degree. It was a great icebreaker and helped form bonds that would only be strengthened in Cyprus, another trip in the first term of my first term of Biology.

Our First Pride Week! 🌈

As you may or may not have known, last week was Edge Hill’s first ever Pride week! I mentioned this last Wednesday on my previous post, but since then, the whole week has been and gone. The LGBT officer of the Edge Hill Student’s Union, Molly Houghton, has done a great job sorting out Pride week, and the SU have backed it up.

The rainbow on the Pride flag has a lot of symbolism behind it – each colour stripe has a different meaning. Each weekday was attributed a different colour, with Friday taking both indigo and violet.

Monday was Red, representing Life. To start off the week, the Bye Bye Bi-Erasure stall was run in the Hub to reduce the stigma surrounding bisexuality – which has long been subject to erasure and myths that bisexual people are “just greedy.” The stall featured a board dealing with what bi-erasure is, and a little game that asked you to guess famous celebrities sexualities, revealing that many who people assume are gay or straight are bisexual! (For example, Freddie Mercury, Drew Barrymore, Billie Joe Armstrong).

Tuesday was Orange, representing Healing. Another stall in the Hub was run, for LGBT+ Mental Health. As well as a Pronoun Workshop, run by the LGBT+ Society itself. The Mental Health Stall had a fun game to test your flag knowledge, to test if you know the most common LGBT+ flags and what gender identity/sexuality they represent (these were also the flags hanging from the stairs by the Student’s Union in the Hub). It also had a fact/myth board full of statements regarding mental health in LGBT+ individuals.  Later that day, in the lecture theatre in the tech hub, the LGBT+ Society ran a pronoun workshop that explained the relationship between gender and pronouns. The most common of which being he, she, and they.

Yellow was attributed to Wednesday, to represent Sunlight. On this day, Molly hosted sunflower planting outside the Hub! Anyone could come along and test out their green-fingers and try out some therapeutic gardening. Of course Wednesday is also the night of Social, which the SU made Pride-themed also.

On Thursday, the theme was Nature – owing itself to the colour Green. On the evening of this day, a sexual health workshop was run by Action For Trans Health. This workshop was run by trans people themselves, and really provided some key knowledge that isn’t taught in standard Sex Ed.

As mentioned earlier, Friday was host to two colours, indigo and violet – meaning it hosted the themes of Harmony and Spirit. This day hosted the first ever Pride March! A sense of solidarity was had by all as we marched with flags and chants around the university campus, finishing at the SU Bar, where some of us stayed for food and drinks. Later on that evening, Free Film Friday also presented a film relevant to the LGBT+ community – Rent. Although I had seen the recorded stage production before, I had never seen the film version, and it is both a heart-wrenching and heart-warming experience. Overall, the week was a successful first time for the university, and I hope to see the week expanding and improving as time goes by.

New Blogger Approaching: Ashley Tuffin

New Challenger Blogger Approaching
This is my face.

I’m new here, so I guess I’d better tell you a bit about myself! This will serve as a good way for current and future readers (as well as my fellow bloggers) to get to know me and hopefully give a sense of the kind of perspective I’ll be writing from.

First things first, I’m a non-binary transgender person (meaning I am not a man or woman, use non-gendered terms, and they/them/their pronouns). Luckily, as I came to realise this, I had a loving and supportive group of friends that not only accepted me but respected me too. Having to go and enter a new environment where I wouldn’t know anyone, and wouldn’t know how they’d react to my identity was a daunting and quite terrifying prospect at times, but it has been largely a non-issue, as I have made some good friends through my course and societies (including the LGBT+ society).

The Sugar Hut

Now, my origins. I was born and raised in the south, specifically in Essex. When I tell people this, it’s sometimes followed by some kind of Q&A which usually results with me saying: No – I haven’t watched The Only Way Is Essex; No – I haven’t been to the Sugar Hut; and Yes – I’m aware I don’t sound like I’m from Essex. It’s nothing personal, I’m just not a huge fan of reality TV (although I’ve watched my fair share of I’m A Celeb, in the past). Which I guess means I should brief you on a few things I am a fan of!

Things I am a fan of watching: Sense8, Planet Earth II, Fresh Meat, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Things I am fan of reading: Young adult, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Romance (preferably in some combination). Things I am a fan of doing: Badminton, Swimming, Historical Reenactment, Volleyball.

Now, back to the past. I studied at the sixth form of my secondary school, so I know how daunting it can seem to go and live and learn in a completely new environment after seven years of your life. This is something I embraced by moving up to Ormskirk, around five hours away, but you may not be as dramatic (or maybe you’ll be more-so)! I studied A-level Biology, Chemistry, and Religious Studies aka Philosophy & Ethics. I chose Edge Hill as my firm choice, and here I am!

Facilities
The Biosciences building

Currently, I’m a second year studying Genetics, but I first enrolled as a general Biologist, an even briefly changed to study Ecology and Conservation. In the end though, the BSc Genetics degree held the most modules that I was interested in. I’m involved mainly in two societies: Historia Normannis (historical reenactment), and the LGBT+ society, where I am the Freshers Rep. At the time of writing, I am also in the middle of applying for a summer work placement under the ERASMUS+ programme and also a year abroad placement for the coming uni year.

Now that that’s over, I can promise that my following blog posts will be less egotistic, and will be considerably more related to university life at Edge Hill. However, I hope you found some enjoyment in getting to know the blogger! See you next time!