Now then everyone, I’m Hamish your new Campaigns & Democracy Officer and FORMER Student Manager of Unio Coffee – will I ever stop banging on about that? More to the point, I’m looking forward to having a cracking year with you guys and can’t wait to catch up with all of you on what your Student Officer team is working on so please watch this space!
All of us here understand that the past few months have been a whirlwind for everyone, us included, but as we head into September, I wanted to address some of the exciting new changes that are underway here at uea(su). Despite everything, we still remain committed to enhancing your student experience and have been working hard behind the scenes to make sure that we’re still here for YOU in a safe and friendly fashion.
For starters, whilst there are no LCR nights for the foreseeable future – a Shakespearean tragedy for the 21st Century - our fabulous Venues staff have been working hard to ensure that the bar(su) will be up and running for September! Just wait till you see what they’ve done with the LCR. I’m unsure if they’ll ever unstick the dancefloor but they’ve transformed the venue into a warm and inviting social space for all students to occupy, Kirsty and Phil eat your heart out! And for those that are concerned, fear not, your favourite VK’s will still be on sale. In fact, if you can’t wait, then make sure to head on down to the Waterfront on Friday’s and Saturday’s and check out our safe and secure pub on the riverside. What’s not to love?
Likewise, meal deal lovers will also rejoice to find out that both the Shop and Grab & Go will still be open with relevant safety measures in place. In fact, the Shop team have worked hard to remain open throughout the pandemic and they also remain committed to still providing students with a diverse range of products to suit your individual dietary needs. Just make sure to bring your facemask and you’re good to go!
Much like the other outlets, Unio Coffee will be there to fuel your studies. They might still not get your name quite right from time to time – I should know – but rest assured that student & staff safety remains their number one priority. Expect to see increased regular cleaning as well as a different approach towards the queuing and collection points, but don’t worry we’ll be there to direct you. We understand the importance of a damn good coffee.
On more broader terms, Union House will also still be open as a friendly and inviting hub for you to grab a coffee, complete your studies or just chill with your mates. Whilst its capacity might be reduced as we’ll be separating our social areas to maintain social distancing, Union House will remain as vibrant as ever! Make sure to follow the new layout and come check us out!
As well as these new changes, you might have also heard that in light of COVID-19, the Student Union and UEA have come to an agreement that will restructure the SU financial operations as an organisation. The ethos of UEA has always been to “Do Different” and that’s just what our previous funding model reflected. We were 80% reliant on our commercial activity as our main source of income. However, like many things, the realities of COVID-19 unfortunately exposed the frailty of that one-of-a-kind system and we have now worked together with the University to reduce our commercial dependency to just 40%, a figure that is much more in line with the industry standard. As well as this, UEA has also agreed to provide us with a £470,000 increase in funding, along with a new rent agreement, whilst also agreeing to reduce our financial risk by taking over the provision of some of our services. This means that from September, the University will officially take over the management of uea(su)’s retail and catering outlets, including the Shop, Unio Coffee, Pizza SU and yes, the Fries Van as well! No need to worry though, as mentioned above, you’ll still be able to grab your morning coffee, this support will simply ensure that we can continue to maintain and improve our key student services without the possibility of an interruption to our financial position in what has been a whirlwind of a year. We’ll still be there for you, whatever the weather!
Before I sign off, I just wanted to let you know that we are still in the process of planning a whole load of fun and exciting events for the new term and that whilst we can’t wait to share these with you, student and staff safety remains our greatest priority – we’ll be in touch soon!
In the meantime, you can check out our 2020 Welcome page here for all the latest news and event details -> https://www.uea.su/welcome/.
Until then, take it easy and I’ll see you on campus SOON. Equally, do drop me an email or find my page on Facebook if you have any questions or just fancy a chin wag.