Editor's column

A community standing together

This issue is the last of the decade. So I thought we could look back at the first of the decade, Issue 237. It’s 12th January 2010. Labour are in power, and Concrete leads on the government’s budget deficit, which students worry could lead to an increase in fees. In 2010 the fees were £3,225 a year. Try not to cry.

In fact, how about some laughter? Perhaps in a bid to ease students’ concerns, page 2 tells us about the then leader of the Lib Dems Nick Clegg’s promise to ditch tuition fees altogether. That turned out well.

I wonder how the Lib Dems will do in this election. I’m still not sure they’ve shaken off the anchor that was the coalition. Find out what all the Norwich South candidates had to say in our Election Special on page 14.

Now, onto a different subject. On the front page of this issue, News Editor Bryan Mfhaladi and I report how next semester students will be able to opt in to a scheme allowing UEA to tell students’ parents or guardians about their child’s mental health issues. Vice-chancellor Prof David Richardson set up his mental health taskforce after four student deaths in just 10 months at UEA.

I’m glad the taskforce is taking some real action. There were worries when it was announced that it was more for show than anything else. I believe this is one reason why there’s been a real surge in activity to promote mental wellbeing at UEA this year. As well as Concrete’s Mental Health Crisis campaign, Uea(su) are continuing to run their We Will Be Heard campaign, and STIGMA, a new “student led collaborate project”, as welfare officer Amelia Trew calls it, has announced a date for their first event.

It’s moving but also reassuring to see so many in UEA’s community – both students and staff – coming together to help in the fight against this mental health crisis.

The vice-chancellor’s taskforce has announced a total of 16 initiatives. Visit concrete-online.co.uk to see the full list. I’m especially glad that one of our manifesto points, to inform parents or guardians about their child’s mental health issues, has been included by the taskforce. Although this may not benefit everyone, I think it’s a real step up in terms of attitude. This university is faced with a mental health crisis, but now UEA is responding with a raft of considered and informed measures.

I’m delighted with this issue of Concrete. Not only is it the last issue of the decade but it is a fantastic one too. Only a moment ago Deputy Editor Jess Barrett remarked how much the section editors’ design ability has grown in the past few months. Our team is doing a brilliant job, so well done to them!

From Leia Butler’s interview with authors and UEA staff Andrew Cowan and Jake Huntley (page 12) to Will Warnes’ piece on the Hong Kong riots (page 8) this issue is packed with gripping articles.

As Jess mentions in her editorial, we went to the regional SPA conference last weekend, and met a great bunch of student journalists from other universities.

Something that has shocked many in universities around the UK is the Bolton University accommodation fire. is I’d like to extend our thoughts to the students in Bolton affected by the incident. You can find the full story on page 4, alongside a photo kindly provided by Ansh Sachdeva, president of Bolton SU.

So that’s it for this decade at least. Have a good read of this issue, and good luck in all your exams and summatives. I for one know I’ll definitely need some!

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About Author

Chris Matthews

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

If you would like to get in touch, email the Editor on Concrete.Editor@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.