The news that the Pool and Snooker society are suffering from a lack of facilities is frustrating. They are one of UEA’s oldest sports clubs and have seen significant growth in terms of members in recent years. Add in the fact that they were 2014’s Derby Day heroes and that their current president, Nikolas Charalambous, is captain of the England Bucs Pool team, it is disheartening to find that such a simple human error has put the club’s future, as well as Charalambous’s playing career, in jeopardy.
I doubt anyone at UEA would disagree that Union House was in desperate need of redevelopment and that the work done on the building over the summer was necessary and made the building much more beneficial for students. It is therefore a shame that errors such as forgetting to make room for promised society facilities have arisen, as it has put a dampener on the building’s improvement.
The second story our front page focuses on is the announcement that UEA plans to massively expand by 2030. Increasing UEA’s intake of students by 20% will require a large increase in the facilities provided by the university in order to cope with the extra students. UEA should therefore take note of errors that have arisen from the modernisation of Union House and make sure that no student is negatively affected by the expansion of the university.
This issue of Concrete is our last one of 2015 and therefore it only made sense to reflect on some of the biggest events of the year. On page eight, our Global section have drawn up a timeline recapping the events which the last year will be remembered for. From the shocking attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper office in January to Greece rejecting an EU bailout in July to the news in November that Sierra Leone has been confirmed free of Ebola.
In our Features section you and your housemates can look back over the events of the last 12 months in the Concrete Quiz of the Year, with questions on topics including showbiz, politics and UEA itself (so prepare to cast your mind back to BBC Radio One’s Big Weekend!).
Of course, this month also signifies the countdown to Christmas. Every year, to celebrate the festive season and the end of the first semester, plenty of first year students living in halls of residence attempt the task of cooking a flat Christmas meal. Given the facilities available in many of UEA’s halls this is a brave venture, so we at Concrete have tried to make your challenge just a little bit easier by including our guide to a Christmas on a student budget on page 16. Not only does it outline how to make your Christmas meal, it also explains how to decorate your flat with festive cheer and how to give the perfect Secret Santa present. Although, a word of warning… don’t take all of the suggestions made in this article entirely seriously!
To contrast with the slightly more fun articles in features, we also have a double page spread focussing on the homeless in Norwich this Christmas. Homelessness is a serious issue that affects over 500 people living in Norwich. This article includes interviews with two people who have nowhere to go this Christmas and their answers provide a real insight into what life is like on the streets in winter. The spread also includes a comment piece by Joe Jameson highlighting what students can do to help those less fortunate than them.
How to most effectively help those that someone stands in solidarity with is also the topic of Joe Rutter’s article on page 17 in our Comment section. He argues that while acts of solidarity are inspiring, they have very little impact and that there might be better ways of catching the government’s attention.
This week, tucked away inside Venue, Concrete’s culture pull-out, is our Literary Supplement: ‘Frontier’. Carefully edited by our Venue editors, Joe Fitzsimmons and Ana Dukakis, this supplement focuses on literature from around the world, it includes reviews of some of this year’s award winning international bestsellers, interviews with literature translators and creative writing pieces provided by our creative writing team. The 32 page supplement is well worth a read and will make for a nice break between those essays for end of term deadlines.
Today also sees the launch of Concrete’s annual Drugs and Alcohol Survey so be sure to fill it in on our website next time you take a break from writing. The answers students provide are always interesting and we look forward to revealing the survey’s results in our first issue of second semester.
From everyone here at Concrete have a merry Christmas!