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Thank You, Alcuin ❤️

After months of planning and preparation, for me Freshers Week is over. 

I first joined Alcuin College Committee because of the wonderful support I had from the wellbeing team in Alcuin College, particularly from my queer mother goose Sophie Jorgensen-Rideout in Freshers Week 2015. The work of STYCs, Head STYCs, College Committees, College Teams, and YUSU goes so far to make a positive stamp for the rest of the year – and certainly did when I was a fresher.

Alcuin in Winter

This year, as part of my Wellbeing duties I spent a lot of time with Visiting students some of whom told me how lovely it was to visit the campus collegiate system because they felt really cared for and this for me is all we could hope for.

For me this year has been hugely stressful – organising events, attending meetings, and dedicating just a huge part of your personal time for the college; but more so than this it has been immensely rewarding and informative to be part of The University of Yorks huge wellbeing support network.

Being Vice President I’ve made a lot of mistakes, some which you could predict some which you couldn’t – what’s important is not that you made these mistakes it’s being able to accept and adapt with them and passing on that knowledge so that following committees can learn.

College Vice Presidents for Wellbeing and former YUSU Wellbeing Officer

Here’s a run through of my Freshers Week:

Constantly popping to and fro Coop and uni of york with huge amounts of water, bread, cheese, and ham. – I’d advise future VPs to do online shopping in advance but it was well amusing either way, plus I could do with the workout.

Bike laiden with water
In CSAC you do so many things you never usually would. check out my awful owl in the bottom right as part of Disabled Officer Rachel’s Crafternoon. 

Events Officer, Laura’s Music Shuffle Bingo Afternoon used such a simple concept very effectively. If you have a talent share it with others – if not you can try and enable other to share theirs.



This year due to good marketing lots of people attended our college presidents brilliant walking tour, every year these tours are run giving a brilliant orientation to the city and some local history too – not to mention gelato.

Being able to use the JCR for cool events such a wine and cheese evenings and board games nights creates a lovely environment for freshers and college memebers to chat and hang out – in a less intimidating environment than club nights or perhaps for some block predrinks 


What also makes freshers week is all of the really lovely and interesting first years you meet. Everyone is so excited and hopeful and you’re all buzzing to start studying and being a student. It’s been a pleasure Wellbeing for you all.

Freshers week went really well due to the hard work of everyone involved. From the committee to the college team and STYC system – those who #GaveAHoot and chipped in to help other have a good time.

And a huge thank you to my amazing wellbeing subcommittee who worked hard all year round to look out for Alcuin College. Roa Tikalali our dynamic BAME Officer, Louise Racke and Zita Hui caring international officers, Rachel McGlone and until graduation Poppie Barnett, who have been excellent help when I’ve been particularly in need, our disabled officers; Mark Quah and Hannah Risser LGBTQ Officers hosting lovely socials, as well as the wonderful Phillipe Lefevre (who will return to alcuin next year) and Sam Linley Men’s Officers and Tara Cahil and Ellie Fenwick our women’s officers who are running really cool events this term!

This is the end of my time on college committee, I’m leaving before the end of my term as of Saturday – while I’ve enjoyed it a lot I needed to avoid the added stress and anxiety on top of my course and think my work is best put into other places for the rest of the year.

Please though, run for college committee next term to learn from my mistakes, to make your own, and to ensure Alcuin’s lovely freshers week and inclusive college environment continues!

I’m off to the pub to enjoy alcohol again🍷🦉

Interrailing 2016: UK to Sweden

Summer 2017, Brexit meant Brexit and after months of long and hard campaigning I had enough of the rolling news feed. I looked for travel opportunities, packed a bag, booked a one way flight out of the UK.

My first destination, Sweden. I was invited as an international delegate to LUF Kongress, the biannual meeting of Liberala ungdomsförbundet, the youth wing of the Swedish Liberal People’s Party.

I got lost almost straight away trying to find the way from Stockholm Arlanda to Uppsala, in a typical Huw-fashion i wandered up and down asking various individuals before caving in and resorting to Google it on my phone with roaming fees.

By Midday I arrived at Uppsala and had booked into my room, now it was time to explore. Uppsala is Sweden’s answer to Oxbridge, the ancient capital of Sweden, it is host to large castles and a huge academic community. I marvelled at the rhunic script, having covered it briefly in Old English classes but in no depth. I was later truly linguistically outdone by most of the Swedish people I met who told me with pride not only had they studied Runic script, but they could also speak Old English, which I most certainly could not.

The Kongress was interesting, it was all conducted in Swedish, a language that I couldn’t speak a word of, however the Norwegian delegates took it as their duty to live translate most of the Kongress to me, with the occasional “nope, this guy’s accident it way too thick, who knows what he could be saying”. The Kongress policy itself was of little interest however the pomp and ceremony of Swedish youth politics was impressive. In Sweden youth political parties get paid a huge amount of money from central government to help encourage democracy – not only was the packed Kongress held in a large high school but there was also a formal dinner with the most exquisite food and old fashioned drinking chants, all expenses paid. Better than the formal dinner, I also had swedish meatballs with gravy, lingonberry sauce, and mashed potato for lunches every day. Living the Ikea dream life.

After Kongress ended I left Uppsala for the astonishingly expensive Stockholm. I was in Old City Stockholm which was so pretty but so expensive i could do so little. I was bored and poor so I used Tinder to find myself a tourguide. he took me around Stockholm and we went on a tram to Skansen, an open air theme park “museum”, designed to preserve the old Sweden that existed before industrialisation.

DZDN0159

I toured it seeing the old houses and some really cute Reindeer, chatting to Ezra, my guide, about Saomi rights for a while. There we watched Allsång, an endearing and wholesome live weekly sing along. It was a really cute mash of songs of praise and eurovision. I had no idea what they were singing but I had a brilliant night and gained so much love for the cheese.

Shut Up & Take My Money

 

Our fatal flaws and weaknesses lead to chaos and failure.I am not naturally organised, and am very clumsy. This is not however an excuse: I must own my weaknesses, and learn how to live with and mitigate my flaws.

Like Jeremy Corbyn, my flaws often embody themselves in financial incompetence. I lose cards, forget passwords, and ignore my troubles creating a snowball effect. However, with something as serious as finances, saying “oh well” isn’t an option. Banks don’t accept “Opps” when I exceed my overdraft by 5 pence. Shops do not accept “Opps I have no access to cash” as a form of monetary transaction. “Opps” doth butter no crumpets  parsnips.

Looking for a solution, I quickly became attracted to “Monzo”, a fintech (financial technology) app, a “new kind of bank” that promises to revolutionise the way we spend money.

Monzo are a banking start up, they lack the funds, features (overdrafts, current accounts, debit and credit cards) and trust to become mainstream quite yet; however they have the potential to obtain these things in the future.

My attraction to Monzo was that it would be an aid to my weaknesses.

Monzo forces the user to engage with smart spending, you set spending targets for the month on a pre-paid card linked to a 3rd party current account, and each time you spend money – online, by contactless, or pin – the transactions appear instantaneously on your phone.

Monzo tells you if you’ve been spending above your monthly target, encourages you to take records of your receipts, and becomes the little financially prudent voice of conscious that you’ve never had.

This level of interactivity and smart data gives users, what Monzo calls ‘monzonauts’, the opportunity to take control of their spending.

Monzo’s security protocols are perfectly suited to people like me, at present they lack the need for endless passwords that i’m bound to forget and have to reset over and over, and they take full advantage of Apple and Android’s fingerprint technology. Not only this, but the dealmaker for me was that if you lose your prepaid card, you can freeze and unfreeze the card in seconds – perfect for those “bugger bugger where did i put it” moments.
img_3051Oh and you can also send and receive money to your friends easily but i’ve not needed to do that yet.

Monzo still has its flaws:

  • the card is not yet universal – it has been rejected quite often when i’ve been using it.
  • the card is not yet a replacement for a current account
  • at present the card is not usable on apple pay.
  • it’s PR team are so ‘london next-big-thing-tech-company’ confident that it provides a bit of vomit at the back of my throat

However it seems like an ideal card for day-to-day spending, and its customer service agent are on the ball and very accessible for the Generation Apple. I like it anyway, that’s why I wrote an blog post about it.

If you’d like to use Monzo, you can do so via ‘Golden Tickets’, it’s currently only in beta mode. Here’s a golden ticket to skip the queue for Monzoimg_3044