You know when you are revising or writing an essay and you struggle to think of anything useful, so you just bullet point what you do know? OK, good.
Now forget that entirely and read this list of ten things I’d change about Loughborough if I could. Some are serious, some are selfish and none of them are likely to happen.
1. Floor Plugs
For people who take their laptop to the library and work on some of the desks, a few simple plug sockets in the floor would make things so much easier. Let’s all pray to the Library Gods and see if they’ll listen.
2. Flexible meals
If somebody with more time, energy and mathematical skills could work out the cost of the breakfasts I’d slept through during my time in halls I’d probably be outraged. I’ll be honest, I probably slept through a few lunches in my time too, but let’s just start small. If there was an option when booking halls to not have it, and instead a small amount would be available each day for cash payment, I’d have chosen that. Even if it meant risking a first come first serve system.
3. A lake
Granted, this may not be wholly achievable in the short-to-medium term, but adding a lake would be the closest we could get to becoming Hogwarts. (I would also accept an owlery.)
4. A longer summer exam period
Controversial perhaps, but I’d extend the summer exam period. Before you start complaining that I’m stealing your tan time, I wouldn’t drag term on any later but instead chop off a week of Easter and shift everything earlier.
With one more week of exam time there would be fewer exams on consecutive days, the potential for more dedicated revision time after the end of scheduled lectures and the last week would still probably be empty for most people. It seems hard at the moment, but at least four weeks of Christmas holiday is behind us – when sitting down for the first summer exam, Easter seems years ago.
5. Better access to the Executive
Union Council could be important, and despite the good work done this year, there is the worry that we are flogging a dead horse. Does Council seem relevant to most students? Is it accessible? Is it concise? Council is bloated and far away from a direct avenue for students to influence their Union, as often advertised. The intricacies are necessary, but rarely inspiring for a newcomer and the advertising of council in its current form as a chance to have direct control is misleading.
Let’s try something different, or at least something different in addition to council. Separate the Executive Reports by taking it on tour. Engage with halls, departments, clubs and societies and take parts of the mountain to Mohammed.
6. Cheaper sport
A long held ambition of the University, “free” gym memberships seem a long way off and club memberships are still a large outlay. Although incredible value for what you get, the cost at the start of term can be intimidating to the budgeters among us.
7. Contested elections
a. I have a dream. Not as good as MLK’s or the one’s where I ride a dolphin, but it’s still a beautiful one, where every Executive position is contested by passionate, determined candidates. With the rules for this year’s election, I’ve every hope it will become a reality
b. On the condition that they are excellent candidates, wouldn’t it be nice to see a male President and a female AU President? It’s been too long since either of those happened.
c. While we are talking about the President, let’s see one this year with some ideas! Saying you will “lead the Executive Team” is akin to applying for McDonalds with the promise that you will serve customers. Errrr good? Doing the job is the minimal expectation, don’t put that on your poster. Let’s see some pledges and suggestions! Also, no three word wishy-washy buzzwords thanks. Three years ago Lucy Hopkins’ posters featured “Listen – Act – Achieve”, followed by Rebecca Bridger going with “Inspire – Represent – Drive” and most recently Ellie Read pulling out “Believe – Act – Exceed”. If anyone dares pull that trick again I only hope they go with “Chop – Shark – Romance“ as pure satire.
8. Register-to-video link
One of the most consistent student requests is for more lectures to be filmed and put online, and one of the most consistent lecturer responses is that this could mean people stop going to lectures. A simple solution would be to ensure registers are taken at every lecture and access given to the names on the list. Anyone who has missed a lecture for a legitimate reason could contact the tutor, and anyone who just didn’t fancy it would be in exactly the same boat as they are now.
9. No more Spotted’s
Enough already! I take my metaphorical hat off to whoever started the first one, but a good thing has gone a bit far. We are getting a bit too close to Spotted: James France Toilets being started and that is just downright weird.
10. The return of guitar bands
The Student Union Entertainments team is one of the best around and they manage to get some decent acts when all things are considered, but I miss the days Feeder, The Futureheads and, going back a lot further, U2 took to the stage. Maybe I’m just boring, is dubstep enough?
11. A Nando’s
I know I said it would be ten, but this is my list and my rules. Frankly, if I left this one off every comment would be telling me, so I thought I’d add it as a bonus and save you the trouble. Consistently brought up in discussions about Union Building or town centre renovations, a Loughborough branch of Nando’s Chickenland (to give it its Sunday best name) looks as far off as ever.