President’s Report – 8th October 2012
Plan: To initiate a series of open town hall style meetings at both subject area level and for the University as a whole, where students are updated with developments and are able to directly input into decision making at these levels.
Progress: The Principal has agreed to hold a University wide forum in January. There will also be subject-area specific ones for the subjects undergoing internal reviews this academic year.
Plan: Create a new ethical investment policy which encourages positive investment, discourages unethical investment, and is overseen by a committee which includes student representation.
Progress: Met with members of the university’s Investment Committee and their fund manager Baillie Gifford. Agreed to a review of the ethical investment policy. Student representation sounds possible but instead of being an elected student it might be someone appointed from the BusinessSchool(!)
Support community spaces and venues
Plan: Defend Edinburgh’s community art and culture scene.
Progress: We successfully argued at University Court for an extension to the Bongo club’s lease. This should give them the time they need to find another space. It is likely, but not definite, that they have now secured a suitable venue.
Cheap green energy
Plan: To make it easier and cheaper for students to transfer their energy provider in private tenancies to a sustainable alternative.
Progress: This was going well for a while. I met up with a property management company who seemed keen, and got in touch with the green energy fund Ecotricity. Due to various difficulties this has fallen a bit by the wayside. I will try to pick it up again asap.
Cheap books with a textbook exchange
Plan: Make it easy for students to buy and sell secondhand books
Progress: A student-run initiative called BookAdopter is currently doing this so instead of reinventing the wheel EUSA is supporting and promoting it.
UniTots (not in manifesto – issue just came up)
Plan: Fight to save the central campus childcare provision.
Progress: The Uni is planning on closing down UniTots to move it to a new development in Kings Buildings. Andrew and I are speaking to the parents there and trying to hash out a plan to protect Central provision while supporting the provision at KB.
Plan: To organise a principled campaign for free education paid for through progressive taxation, and to oppose cuts to education funding.
Progress: Worked withLucy Eskell to launch the National Demo campaign. Written numerous articles on the subject.
A global themed bar
Plan: Create a global bar with a wider variety of international drinks, and themed as such.
Progress: This has been taken to Trading Committee and is likely to happen next semester in Pleasance.
Solidarity with Birzeit
Plan: Support our twinning with Birzeit University Students’ Union.
Progress: Worked with Liam O’Hare to organise a delegation of students from Birzeit to come here in November.
Plan: Open the Potterrow venue on a Wednesday and encourage societies and clubs to use it through fundraising opportunities.
Progress: The EUSA Ents team were already planning on doing this. It’s up and running, called Club Together, you should go.
Fair treatment of international students: fees and census points
Plan: Fight for fixed (and lower) fees for international students, and less intrusive census points
Progress: I have worked with Aurora Adams to launch this campaign. We organised a petition and got over 1000 signed up. We are now planning an event at the Scottish Parliament
Free Bus for Vets
Plan: Lobby for a free bus to Easter Bush
Progress: ThePrincipal agreed a free bus each way once a day but Lothian buses said that they would cancel their regular service if that happened. We are now working on a subsidised bus pass for vet students instead. Max Crema is leading on this.
Plan: Ensure that all students have decent and affordable housing
Progress: The uni promised us that there would be enough beds this year and there has not been. I am keen to launch a campaign on this subject.