Editor's column

Snakebites, socialists, and getting over Freshers flu

So, Freshers Week and its slightly shabbier sibling ‘Welcome Week 2’ are finished. Some people are battling Freshers flu, others are recovering from it, and I’m sure some are using it as an excuse to miss their 9ams. I’m afraid I won’t be revealing which category I fall into…

From the Societies’ Fayre to Big Meets and first socials of the semester, the last few weeks have been chock-a-block with events aimed at guiding students towards new communities. Thankfully, with a new year and a new set of budding writers and journalists, I’m pleased to say this issue is flooded with new faces. We’re all looking forward to what we can achieve in the weeks and months to come!

Yet as Deputy Editor Jess Barrett reminds us in her column though, we must remember to “give ourselves an emotional break”. The first few weeks of any new experience – whether that be coming to university, starting a new job, or learning a new skill – are always stressful. It makes me a lot happier to know many in UEA’s community understand this: the Wellbeing Interest Network, Take Five and Nightline are just a few groups hoping to offer support and discussion around mental health issues at UEA.

I’m glad they’re around. It means a lot to know there’s always someone to talk to, whether you have a big problem or a small one.

I’m also pleased to see the Concrete Mental Health campaign is making fantastic progress, and is still gathering support. The anti-Brexit activist Gina Miller has pledged her name to the cause, calling it “a very important campaign”. 

Stephen Fry has also shown his support by retweeting our announcement of the campaign. Since his retweet I’m delighted to say our tweet has been seen almost 250,000 times, a number close to double the population of Norwich! (See page 5 for the full story.)

However it’s not just mental health at UEA that’s made the news. In this issue of Concrete Jake Goddard has been reporting in the Global section on the invention of a new ‘scorecard’ to assess the extent of mental health crises across the world. As Jake writes: “The Global Countdown Mental Health 2030 Project will seek to provide better data on illnesses such as depression and anxiety, whilst at the same time providing a much-needed comparative indicator of mental health support between different countries.” (See more on page 9.)

But this issue doesn’t only focus on mental health. In a break from all things political, Music Editor Lewis Oxley has interviewed the founder and director of Wild Paths festival Ben Street. Lewis and I met Ben a few weeks ago in Gonzo’s Tea Room to see if we could get some press passes to the festival (and we did, so keep an eye out for our Wild Paths coverage!) In that meeting it became increasingly clear Lewis and Ben had hit it off tremendously, and suddenly we went from organising press passes to setting up a one-on-one with Street. I must admit I originally thought we were meeting a typical press officer. To be greeted by the golden flowing locks of Ben Street was quite a surprise.

Speaking of surprises, why have the prices of snakebites increased? And the cup deposits are a pound now? Thankfully Deputy Editor Jess Barrett has provided us with a full analysis on page number 10.

Ah, Number 10. The place Corbyn wants to be. Personally I’m not sure if he’ll ever make it, and putting private schools in his sights probably isn’t the best place to start. It seems the Corbynista logic is that by bulldozing the very idea of private schools, poorly performing state schools will magically get better. Of course, I’m sure many of us can agree they’ll likely stay the same and the only thing the Corbynator will have achieved is the destruction of many a good and well performing school. (Leia Butler has the full and much less opinionated version on page 4.)

And on that note I’ll let you be. Have a read of this issue. It’s even better than the last one, and I can affirm it’s a cracking read overall.

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About Author

Chris Matthews

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June 2022
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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 L.Hargreaves@uea.ac.uk. Follow us at @ConcreteUEA.