So I am sure that you are wondering- what has Annie been up to for the last few weeks? You may be imagining me twiddling my thumbs, singing Taylor Swift gracefully at my desk, or walking around waving at people… THIS IS WRONG.
The Wonder of World Festival
This month has full of events! In particular, we kicked off with World Festival on the 2nd, and what an event it was! Colourful, vibrant, culturally diverse and simply loads of fun. I especially enjoyed all of the acts. We had Bhangra with their stunning outfits and quick feet (I was personally quite tired just watching them, let alone when I attempted to copy their moves at the side of the stage...), Charlie with his trademark distinctive vocals and guitar skills, ACS strong dancing game, Jesus Jam’s divine harmonies and of course the wonderful Imi. With all this, food and around 3000 attendees, it all made for an amazing evening.
The Vice Chancellor Appointment
Now to some serious stuff. Last week all of the officers had a job to do, possibly the most important thing that we will do all year- input into the decision on who the next VC should be. No pressure, right?
An appointment of this size is not just an interview; or a presentation, or even a task. It is a multi-staged process, reflective to the role, varied and expansive across so many areas.
Firstly, we were involved in the informal meeting of all of the candidates where they would chair a discussion on the student experience and what both unions (the SU and the KPA) would like to see from the new VC.
Here are some of the things we proposed and discussed:
“We want to see someone who takes the needs of the Students and their experience at Keele seriously. This is a university, a charity for Education, let's make that the focus.
We want to see someone who will strive to get better facilities across the whole of campus; accommodation, study space, lecture theatres, the sports centre, the library, KPA and the SU. We know this will be a phased and long process, but it is a process that needs to begin moving forward now.”
“Increased funding for the SU and KPA. Both do incredible and important work, but both could do so much more with funding.”
“To improve Postgraduate courses-NSS 1st is great but this is not actually from Post-Graduate students. The courses need improving.”
“Continue to expand our impressive stance in the research field.”
Bhav (VP Education) and I were also involved in discussion groups and Bolu sat on the appointment panel, where there was a presentation and the final decision was made.
Trevor Macmillan (current deputy VC) has now been appointed as the new Vice Chancellor, and I couldn't be more pleased with the result. He is a man who has spoken frequently about the student experience and talked seriously about improvements; he is what Keele needs.
Being so involved in the process is a big win for us. Never before have Keele Student’s Union or the Keele Post Graduate Association been involved with an appointment of that level. I feel that we now will be again will be for the future.
Keeeeeeep Dancing and ArtsFest
When I was but a little undergraduate, where my troubles were how was I going to manage to act in the latest KDS production while meeting all my deadlines, I noticed something really obvious. A lot of societies put on events in March, like loads. But, being the thespian type, I also noticed how an awful lot of these are arts related societies: music, creative writing, theatre, photography, craft, poetry. I had a thought- wouldn’t it be great if all of these came together under one umbrella term, like an Arts Festival?
Fast forward and here we are, in the middle of the first ArtsFest, a month-long campaign containing art-related Give it a Go events, all in collaboration with Arts@Keele! For me, it’s a dream come true, a dream I hope will remain in reality for a few more years to come.
The best thing about ArtsFest is that I get to try and attend as many of them as possible! Two of the bigger events on the calendar, this month are the Dance show ‘Hit the lights’ produced by Dance Society, and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ - an annual classic produced by DanceSport and Salsa. I was fortunate to the latter- mostly to admire the lovely curtains that myself and the president had stressed over for the whole week prior to the event. I was also made a judge, where I channeled my inner Darcey Bussell. What a babe.
Both of these events were a huge success; and raised money for two amazing charities: Donna Louise Foundation and Therapies Unite.
There have also been tons of concerts. From the Around the World Concert from Keele Brass and Concert Band through to Symphonia Orchestra and Big Band, there’s something for everyone. If you haven’t attended one yet, then why not? With other societies continuing their live music activities such as Folk and Acoustic Club, with their weekly chilled KPA sessions AND the coffee house sessions every Monday, there is just so much to attend! No excuses!
Close to my heart, there has also been a great comedy from Keele Drama Society with their play ‘Writer’s Block’. I must say it was hilarious, involving togas, princes, fierce women, a sprinkling of romance, a few smashed stereotypes and more empty cans of red bull than what is on my desk at work. It really was a great play!
Lastly, everybody likes surprises right? Well, we have tried to tick that box too with Brahms and the Gypsy who came to perform downstairs in the SU. I felt pretty pleased that I could immerse myself in some live free classical music while devouring cheesy chips and beans from Munch. Classiest day I have ever had.
And if you missed out, have no fear: we have a few more surprises still to come!