What would Lancs students do if they were LUSU president?
A Nando’s on campus, free Sultans vouchers, and new Lancs Uni hoodies
After weeks of campaigning, the new Students’ Union body has been elected. With manifesto pledges for an “Ethnic Minority New Deal” to pressuring the uni to take “Climate Emergency Action”, the incoming year is looking bright for Lancaster. However, with less than 10 per cent of students voting, the question of whether these manifesto pledges reflect what the majority of students want remains unclear.
To get a better understanding of the initiatives students really want, we asked Lancs students what they would do if they were LUSU president. Here is what they said.
“Rename The Sugarhouse”
Recently a debate has been sparked across the student population on whether the LUSU club “Sugarhouse” should be renamed due to its ties with the transatlantic slave trade. It brings into question: Is sugarhouse just a name, or proof of the university’s blatant disregard for the atrocities faced by enslaved people and the emptiness behind any BLM statements released?
One student said: “The uni is doing lots of work to decolonise the curriculum so it makes sense [to change it]”. This belief that the university is already taking strides to make the education they provide richer and more considerate through decolonisation efforts suggests that there is an inevitability to the renaming of The Sugarhouse. If this student was LUSU president that time would be now.
The best way to dismantle an organisation is from the inside. This is the strategy one student seems to have adopted. Although they did not specify their personal critiques of the Students’ Union or their reasoning for wanting to abolish it, student unions tend to come under flak for not being radical, democratic, or grass-roots enough of an organisation, but merely act as a marketing tool for the university.
Whether or not the LUSU president has the power to execute this idea is beside the point, this response exhibits the apathy some students feel towards the organisation, hopefully the incumbent officers can reignite the belief that the Students’ Union is worthwhile and effective.
“Nando’s on campus”
Ali, the OnlyLancs admin, would bring a Nando’s to campus. Rumours of a Nando’s opening in Lancaster have been circulating for the past several years, this has yet to happen.
A LUSU President that can not only bring a Nando’s to the city but have it on campus would be a greater miracle worker than Nanny McPhee. He claims that Nando’s is more than just a restaurant, but an “institution of student lad banter.” It is the perfect reward after a long day at the library and the ideal first date spot. The justification for a Nando’s on campus is undeniable.
“Free shots to students at Sugar”
The student experience this year has been fairly weird, to say the least, but June 21st seems to be the light at the end of the tunnel, the return to normality – we cross our fingers. One student expressed that Sugar should provide free drinks “as a celebratory gesture after such a hard year.” It would likely be hard to find a student that wouldn’t want this to happen.
After over a year of restrictions, for many, there will be no holding back on spending this summer and so any savings that can be made would be a God-send.
“Get better Lancs uni hoodies”
Caitlin, a third-year from County college, proposed adding more hoodie designs to the current collection, with an embroidered logo hoodie being a preferred style. She felt that the current County logo and varsity hoodie was “just a bit boring” and that this helps conjure up an image of Lancaster being a boring university to the public.
The hoodie and legging/tracksuit combo is a go-to comfort outfit for most uni students but why can’t it also be fashionable? The lack of embroidered hoodies deprives Lancs students of representing their uni whilst simultaneously being a fashion icon. If Caitlin was LUSU president, she would change that.
“Free £5 Sultans voucher to everyone”
Ren, a first-year from Furness, wants everyone to “experience the beauty of Sultans.” She likened the experience to seeing “heaven” and believed that the free Sultans voucher was a great way to get students to “appreciate the beautiful food on campus”.
Yet again it’s hard to believe any student would object to this because food always tastes better when it is free. The only negative to this would be the mental anguish that may arise when deciding what to spend your voucher on. Would it be the delicious cookie dough, some cheesy chips, or quite possibly a tango ice-blast?
“Fight for discounting tuition fees”
The shift from in-person to online learning has been a challenge, and some students believe that the service they have received this year is not up to par with the fees they are being charged. The standard of teaching has dropped significantly. There is limited library/facilities access, lack of departmental coordination resulting in multiple deadlines within the same time frame, no change in extension policy despite an ongoing pandemic, and so on. This long list provides reasons as to why tuition fees should be reduced.
One student expressed feeling anxious in constantly messaging their lecturers out of fear of being a burden, one which many students can sympathise with despite paying nine grand a year. Despite lecturers trying their best, they are limited in their capacity of effectiveness with the online learning system, making the current uni fees severely overpriced and a president that would rally to change that is needed.