Editor's column

A disappointing welcome to first years

The summer is over, the holidays have been and gone, and it is the beginning of the semester! Welcome to those of you who have only just unpacked, and are about to embark on what can only be described as the most intense, exciting, frightening three years that you will ever experience. For the rest of us, returning to UEA is a genuinely incomparable feeling, one which is really the combination of a series of emotions, from adjusting once again to not seeing your family every day, and the excitement of catching up with your flatmates, to grappling with the prospect of life after uni.

First years are getting to know the people in their halls, an element of your student experience which you never forget;  late nights working on your essays, pre-drinking before a night out in the LCR, meals that worked and those that didn’t. Halls are much more than just another ‘facility’ on campus that are advertised in the shiny prospectuses handed out to visitors: they are your homes. Our front page story, which explains the amount of money that the university has made from rent across all of its halls of residence, does sound bleak.

Two and a half million pounds is a serious amount of money. It is disappointing that the uni has previously decided rents should rise by 3.4% on average each year, when there is already a serious funding crisis occurring within higher education; some students are finding that their maintenance loan doesn’t even cover their rent. It’s not all doom and gloom though; this money is being re-invested into campus as the uni management embark upon their new five year plan and, as you can see in Features, there are some fantastic things to do in Norwich, and some unique reasons why spending your time here at UEA is the best decision you’ve ever made.

You could be forgiven for not looking that far ahead with so many serious events taking place over the summer, such as the refugee crisis, which Global covers extensively. This is currently altering so many people’s lives for the worse as Europe slowly becomes a continent divided and each country baulks at the challenge that has been laid at our door. As Europeans, we cannot claim to be global leaders if we do not accept the responsibility of some of the most desperate people in the world who have traveled in unimaginable conditions, risking everything for just an ounce of hope. In Travel you will find an article which explores the luxury of having the opportunities to travel for leisure rather than having to travel in order to escape persecution or war. Our ability to help the situation in the Middle East through humanitarian efforts and mature decision making is something that Britain should be proud of and not shied away from.

Across the pond, national pride is the topic which Donald Trump, currently the front runner in the contest for the Republican party nomination, is most occupied with, as he promises to ‘make America great again’. Trump has been the figure of some outrageous comments, which he seems to have shaken off simply because of who he is. However there are those who are concerned about just how popular his reactionary politics seems to be. Comment includes an article which suggests that Trump’s popularity is simply based on the underdog effect, where those who are disenfranchised feel he is the person who can represent them. Whether this comes true or not we can only wait to see.

Change is a constant thing, occurring throughout society, politics and our planet. Science and Environment cover the news that a robot has been built by a team of Australian scientist to actively seek out Crown-of-Thorn starfish as part of a cull which is hoped will protect the Great Barrier Reef. The reefs are some of our most important marine ecosystems, and work must be done in order to save them. The robot represents the first effort by the team to reduce the numbers of starfish; previously such culls had to be done by divers, in strategic locations. Sport looks at changes within the Championship league, and the news of the latest transfer window, as players move around from club to club in a game of high stakes, fueled by politics and high price tags.

Politics and high price tags brings me back to our front page. UEA is wonderful, sometimes it’s just a little hard to see it. We’re very excited to be back, and we’re really looking forward to meeting loads of you at SocMart, and at our Big Meet on Friday the 25th of September where we want to chat to you in the Media Centre in Union House, about politics, sport, fashion, gaming, travel, and all things Concrete. We hope to see you there!


About Author

joejameson Joe is in his second year studying Politics and International Relations, and not-so-secretly wishes that he'd been around in the 1950s. When not reading the paper, with his shirt sleeves rolled up pretending to be Tintin, Joe spends his time reorganising his stationary, playing video games, drinking copious volumes of tea and immersing himself in as much science fiction as possible.

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September 2021
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The University of East Anglia’s official student newspaper. Concrete is in print and online.

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