Cambridge City Council Launch a New Pilot Project to Protect & Grow the City’s Tree Population

By Joshua Dowding, Ciéra Cree & Gabs Bennington – On the 13th March, The Ruskin Journal was invited to the Guildhall, Market Square, to conduct an interview with Dr. Matthew Ling of Cambridge City Council…

By Joshua Dowding, Ciéra Cree & Gabs Bennington

On the 13th March, The Ruskin Journal was invited to the Guildhall, Market Square, to conduct an interview with Dr. Matthew Ling of Cambridge City Council regarding the launch of the Cambridge Canopy Project – a local initiative to protect and grow the city’s existing tree canopy cover. As Project Leader, Dr. Ling had been eager to share some of the details of the project with us, and we have transcribed some of the interview that followed for the convenience of our readers.

The Cambridge Canopy Project

This project is part of a larger ‘umbrella’ initiative called Nature-Smart Cities which includes other institutions such as Imperial College London and Southend-On-Sea Borough Council. The initiative will fund a number of pilot studies to ‘deploy green infrastructure solutions in an effort to help fight climate change’ – the Cambridge Canopy Project will be one such pilot. The initiative operates in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as England, with another pilot project based in Southend-on-Sea, in addition to Cambridge.

The Council estimates that there are more than 300,000 trees, whether they’re on public or private land, throughout Cambridge, which equates to about 17% tree canopy cover by land area – whereas the average cover for cities in the UK sits at around 8%. Despite being ‘quite well-treed already’, the aim of this project is to uplift that coverage to 19% by 2050. To achieve this uplift, the Council told us that a total of 16,000 new trees will need to be planted throughout the city. Of these, 2,000 will be planted on Council-owned land and 1,500 will be given away through existing schemes, which leaves 12,500 trees that the Council want to ‘encourage the public’ to plant on their own private land.

‘There’s a real benefit to having areas of shade to help reduce the heat island effect in cities. For instance, having tree-lined streets with permanently shaded pavement, it could be 20 degrees cooler than it would be if it were not shaded […] That’s without thinking of [the] trees themselves physically and how they reduce air temperature just through transpiration.’ – Dr. Ling

The trees that the Council intend to plant will be more robust than those that would be planted in more rural areas, we were told. Standing at around 2 to 3 metres tall (on average) and measuring at around 6 to 8cm in diameter, Dr. Ling explained that these young trees would need to be able to withstand a life that could see them being used as make-shift bike stands, goalposts, sun shelters, targets for vandalism, and other risks to the tree’s well-being.

However, there will be limitations to where the Council can plant their 2,000 trees. Cambridge has a lot of private land that ‘can’t be touched’ by the Council itself, and even in the ‘public realm’, there have been a significant number of areas labelled as ‘unplantable’ such as near roads, pavements, brooks and rivers. Although some locations have been identified as potential candidates, Dr. Ling explained that ‘this will include some planting in the city’s parks and green open spaces’. But, as clarified, the project will focus on planting in areas that will not require lengthy public consultations or complex decisions.

‘We have [the] funding to do [this]. With purchasing a tree, the manpower to plant it, some materials like tree stakes and [tree] ties, and hydration bags, it’s coming out at around £150 per tree […] but we obviously can’t plant 100,000 [trees] just like that’ – Dr. Ling

After the 2,000 trees have been planted, the focus will then shift on to the maintenance of those trees, helping them grow, and protecting the existing tree canopy cover. However, looking beyond the Nature-Smart Cities initiative, Dr. Ling told us that the Cambridge Canopy Project will have ‘its own ambitions’ going forward; he hopes that the project will later become its ‘own entity’ and evolve beyond the lifetime of the initiative itself. Despite being part of a wider European initiative, Dr. Ling stated that the aim of the project will be to ‘deliver things on the ground that influence, impact, and benefit the city itself’, in-keeping with the remit of the City Council.

 ‘At the moment, this is so on-trend. It feels like the right moment for this project.’ – Dr. Ling


Expanding Existing Schemes

For twenty-five years, Cambridge City Council has been running a scheme called ‘Free Trees for Babies’ which gives residents having a child the opportunity to apply online and take home a tree to plant in their own gardens. Over the course of that period, ‘thousands’ of trees have been given out to Cambridge residents’, which, coupled with the ongoing planting in the public realm, has helped the Council grow the city’s urban forest at a modest rate over-time.

With an estimated 44,000 private gardens throughout the city, Dr. Ling notes that if the residents of the city could each plant one tree in their gardens, it would result in more than a ‘10% increase in the overall tree population, straight off’. The Journal noted that the Council had gathered this information with the help of an aerial photographic survey of the city.

‘Everyone’s trees are part of the whole process’ – Dr. Ling

With the introduction of the Cambridge Canopy Project, the Council hopes to up the number of trees they can offer through this existing scheme, with an aim to give away as many as ‘500 trees per-year, over a three-year period’ – totalling 1,500 trees. That’s on top of the 2,000 trees that the Council aims to plant themselves throughout the project by 2022.

The Impact of COVID-19

As is the case for everyone presently, Cambridge City Council has had to re-evaluate how it will approach some aspects of the project going forward, since a significant part of the project would have involved a degree of public outreach and awareness-raising. Many of these processes are now on hold for the time being. Nonetheless, interested members of the public can still get involved with the project in a number of different ways: the Council are currently running a survey to ‘gather insights into residents’ perceptions of trees’, the Council are also asking for help to map the locations of trees on privately-owned land, ‘especially Ash trees, and they would encourage all residents to help water their newly planted trees. These activities can be carried out during your daily exercise time out of the house whilst also observing social distancing guidance, of course.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has also forced the Council to postpone its i-Tree Eco study which would have involved students from the university helping to survey their local areas. However, as Dr. Ling explained to the Journal, in collaboration with Treeconomics Ltd, Forest Research, and Anglia Ruskin University, the Council will now employ a ‘novel approach’ to ‘engage untrained citizens’ from more than 130 households across the city to conduct the field surveys from the safety of their own homes. The Journal has been told that both university students and staff can still get involved in some aspects of this, and there will also be future opportunities to contribute to the project as well. Victoria Tait of the Global Sustainability Institute is coordinating this effort, so please contact her to express your interest in this work.

‘It’ll be a huge challenge, but it’s where we’re hoping to go.’ – Dr. Ling

Final Thoughts

It was a privilege to be able to interview a member of the City Council regarding this interesting environmental project. We hope that, despite the ongoing pandemic, the project will continue to move forward and see success in the long-term. We would like to thank Dr. Matthew Ling for his time – and his patience! – and we look forward to covering the Cambridge Canopy Project again in the near future.

Images: Devin Kleu on Unsplash


Major Upcoming Software Releases

By Joshua Dowding – 2020 will be a hectic year for some of the world’s largest software companies. Each of the three top operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu Linux…

By Joshua Dowding

2020 will be a hectic year for some of the world’s largest software companies. Each of the three top operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu Linux, will see significant new releases either within the next few weeks, or within the next five months in Apple’s case. In this article, I’d like to go over some of the more impactful features and changes for each release and discuss when to expect these new versions to land.

Windows 10 20H1 ‘2004’

Microsoft’s first significant update to their Windows operating system will see the version bump to 20H1 or 2004 – both denoting the same release. It’s expected to land sometime in April as a free update for existing Windows 10 users, and come with a bevvy of changes and improvements across the board.

Preview releases have been made available through the Windows Insider Program, though for those less inclined to experiment with something as fundamental as their operating system, here’s a round-up of some of the changes you can expect to see from the 20H1 update.


Cortana Improvements

Microsoft has improved the Cortana experience on Windows 10 by refactoring it into its own application instead of being tied into the operating system. This means that future improvements to Cortana won’t have to wait for significant releases. Cortana will be updated through the Microsoft Store instead, so updates will come more frequently than before.

What’s more: Microsoft claims to have improved Cortana’s performance “significantly”, they’ve refreshed it’s user interface, it’ll respect the user’s current theme setting now – light or dark, and users can interact with Cortana by typing into a “chat box” instead of just talking to it.

Desktop Improvements

20H1 will tout a variety of smaller improvements and changes. Some of the more noteworthy among these will include: the File Explorer’s new search interface powered by the new “Windows Search” system, improvements to the Windows Ink experience including direct access to the Microsoft Whiteboard and Snip & Sketch applications from the taskbar, the ability to make a device “passwordless” which removes the traditional password prompt from the lockscreen, the second release for the Windows Subsystem for Linux with improvements to I/O performance, and the ability to rename Virtual Desktops after they’ve been created and save them between reboots.

There are many other changes coming to the 20H1 release. Windows Central have an up-to-date list of them on their website which I’d encourage you to checkout if you’re interested.

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS ‘Focal Fossa’

For those after my own heart, you may have heard about, or used, Canonical’s popular Ubuntu operating system. For those who don’t know, Ubuntu is a free and open-source operating system developed by Canonical, a London-based company, for desktops, laptops, servers, and IoT devices. 20.04 has been slated for release on the 23rd of April and will be an important update for Ubuntu ecosystem since it’ll be supported for at least five years after launch. These ‘long-term support releases’ tend to form the basis of third-party platforms, so here’s a round-up of the features coming in its upcoming release.

Default Theme Improvements & Dark Theme

One of the more striking improvements to make it’s way to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be it’s improved default theme. This time, it comes in light, mixed (“standard”), and dark variants, with a handy toggle setting to choose between them from the Settings application.

This brings 20.04 on-par with other operating systems that include a darker theme variant. Ubuntu already has a ‘night light’ feature to help ease the levels of blue light emanating from the screen, but a dark theme variant would go some way further to help those who still experience eye strain.

Moreover, 20.04 ships with a new set of icons and a visual refresh to the ascent colours used throughout the operating system. These include a mixture of subtle, but uniform orange and purple highlights, replacing the cacophony of greens, blues, and oranges seen in previous releases.


Desktop Improvements

Canonical contributes to an upstream project called GNOME which has been serving as Ubuntu’s default desktop environment since it abandoned Unity back in 2017. 20.04 ships with the recently released GNOME 3.36 which, in-tern, comes with a number of improvements that 20.04 will inherit. These include: an improved lock screen that displays a blurred variant of the user’s desktop wallpaper in the background, a ‘do not disturb’ toggle that’ll prevent notifications from being displayed, improvements to ‘app folders’ including the ability to rename them while they’re open, a new ‘Extensions’ application for handling desktop extensions, ‘password peeking’ in password fields, and a mixture of other system-wide changes to help improve its performance and fluidity.


System Improvements

For those of a more technical disposition, Ubuntu 20.04 will ship with support for displaying an OEM, or vendor logo on boot. 20.04 will also feature improvements to multi-monitor support in GDM (which provides both the lock and the login screens amongst other things), as well as improved support for ZFS (though this is labelled as ‘experimental’ in the installer), and Linux Kernel 5.4 to boot. In addition, 20.04 will also feature the usual smorgasbord of package updates available from the distro archive.

macOS 10.16 (‘Catalina + 1’) et al.

Apple is expected to hold their virtual developers conference – WWDC – later in June, and while we never know in advance what Apple might announce at its events, we can still look at the trends from previous years, and the rumours that have been reported on across the web.

Traditionally, Apple unveils it’s latest software releases at WWDC; from macOS to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and even tvOS. These releases tend to drop in the autumn of the same year – either in September or October. With that said, let’s take a look at what we believe will be included with the upcoming macOS 10.16 release.


macOS & iOS – Destinies Entwined?

While Apple has stated that they will not merge macOS and iOS, for fear of diluting the two operating systems, Apple has continued to make strides in recent years with integrating the two systems into one seamless ecosystem. In macOS 10.15, Apple depreciated iTunes in favour of its new TV, Podcasts, Music applications which had been carried over from iOS thanks to another feature of 10.15 – it’s new cross-platform development tools. Likewise, Project Catalyst allows developers to port their iPadOS applications to the Mac with relative ease.

What’s more; Apple has recently built-in support for Universal Purchasing into iOS 13, allowing developers to provide a single licence that grants access to one application on a variety of different Apple platforms, including the Mac.

Additionally, macOS 10.15 introduced the Screen Time feature from iOS 12, as well as a new shared feature for both macOS and iPadOS called Sidecar, which allows users to use their iPad as a second display for their Mac.

And let’s not forget the rumours of an ARM-based Mac making an appearance in the not-too-distant future. Meaning that the Mac could share the same fundamental hardware platform as iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. After all, Apple has been developing their own proprietary processors since the introduction of the first iPad which debuted the Apple A4 system-on-a-chip. Apple continues to develop their own silicon to this day. Could a future Apple processor debut for the Mac?


While AppleInsider reports that both iOS 14 and macOS 10.16 could feature improvements to their respective Messages applications, beyond that the rumour mill isn’t betting high on anything else that’s leaked so far.

Final Thoughts

2020 is already shaping up to be an important year for the software industry. I look forward to taking each of these new releases for a test-drive closer to their respective release dates, and I’d encourage the adventurous to do the same. Fire-up a virtual machine, or load-up a release candidate on an old compute; it’ll be something mildly interesting to do during the lockdown!

Images: Joshua Dowding, Wikipedia, Geekrar, Digital Trends, and Brett Jordan on Unsplash

COVID-19 Pandemic – the Response, the Innovations & the Advice

By Pat Lok – Social distancing, a phrase that people have come to loath, is a public health strategy that helps to limit the spread of infection and protect the vulnerable…

By Pat Lok

Social distancing, a phrase that people have come to loath, is a public health strategy that helps to limit the spread of infection and protect the vulnerable. But as we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks, it’s been difficult for some members of the public at large to incorporate such a draconian measure into their lives. Crowds have been seen gathering in local parks, especially over the past few weeks as a result of the mild weather, leading to Royal Parks recent decision to close some of its parks in parts of London. Additionally, the Prime Minister has recently announced that all non-essential business must close for the duration of the lockdown, and that police have been given new powers in an attempt to clamp down on large gatherings and unnecessary trips.

Health & Wellbeing

Among those who have observed the rules, some creative individuals have come up with innovative ways of embracing the social distancing strategy while still living their lives and carrying on with most of their normal day-to-day routines.

For example, physical fitness can be difficult to maintain when the parks and gyms are closed. But fear not, for some people have reportedly managed to run an entire marathon from within the confines of their inner-city apartments. Others have taken to virtual fitness sessions allowing those in isolation to tune-in from the comfort of their own homes.

As for individuals like you and me however, there are still lots of free resources online that’ll help us keep active and maintain a healthy body whilst still self-isolating. YouTube can be a good platform for finding online tutorials for exercises that we can do from the comfort of our own homes. For example, should you want to lift some weights, but you lack the dumbbells, you could use a couple of 10kg packets of pasta as a suitable substitute. The point is to be creative.

Shopping & Logistics

Photos of empty supermarket shelves have been trending on social media for the past few weeks, creating a somewhat tense atmosphere which led to a degree of scaremongering both online and in the press. This formed a positive feedback loop that encouraged others to do the same.

As a result, you might have seen that the stockpiling of products such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer has been rife. Pleas from their customers led most supermarkets to impose a series of countermeasures in an effort to protect the vulnerable and priorities those most in-need (and those most deserving). Some of these measures include:

Later on, the government introduced a shielding strategy where vulnerable individuals were instructed to stay at home for at least twelve weeks at a time, due to their increased likelihood of serious complications should they contract the virus. As a result, many good-willed neighbours, friends, and individuals have volunteered to assist these shielded people by doing their weekly shopping for them.

Additionally, medical students across the country have formed the National Health Supporters group, a student-led initiative that offers babysitting and grocery shopping services to frontline NHS staff when they have to work long hours or an emergency shift. There’s an app that volunteers can sign-up to and see who is the closest NHS staff member to you that needs help. If you are DBS-cleared, you can go on their website to sign-up to your local group and volunteer your time.

Sanitation & Hygiene

Regular, thorough handwashing has been an integral part of the message to help fight this virus. It is recommended that people wash their hands for at least twenty seconds. Though an IT-savvy teenager has created a website where you can combine the first twenty seconds of a song with the official WHO handwashing poster, to create a personalized poster showing users what handwashing technique they should be practising in-time with the song they’ve selected. I’ve attached my poster below; I do not feel guilty about my choice of song, though.

An aptly titled song for handwashing?

Education & Entertainment

Many online educational platforms have made some of their online resources available for free, incentivizing people to stay at home and use their free time constructively. I’ve picked out some of my favourite resources, which include:

As for entertainment, we have the ever-present Netflix and YouTube – though the recently-released browser extension called Netflix Party makes watching the former with friends that much more intimate. Though if all you’re in need of is a quick laugh, I’d encourage you to seek out some of the freshest memes on Twitter or Reddit that have certainly put a smile on my face in recent times.

The Global Response

With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing worldwide, some countries have encountered shortages of vital equipment such as ventilators and masks. In response, a group of Italian product designers have used their skills in design and 3D printing to make templates that enable people to manufacture their own 3D-printed marks.

South Korea, which was an early epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, embraced the concept of drive-through tests, providing convenient access to testing stations which would text the results of their test a few hours later.

Healthcare professionals are adapting to the increasing demand of patients. Some GP practices are even changing how they operate; dividing doctors into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ teams, downstairs and upstairs respectively. The ‘hot team’ would treat suspected COVID-19 cases, whereas the ‘cold team’ would treat other illnesses. And should a hot team member fall ill themselves, a cold team member would replace them.

Final Thoughts

There have been many innovative countermeasures that have been put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. As a medical student, I look forward to seeing what other innovations will come of this latest health crisis – however unfortunate the impact has been. We are still in the early days of social distancing, as the government have recently announced that there will be at least twelve more weeks of the measure (as of the 19th of March) before life starts to return to normal. In the meantime, however, we should fulfil our civic duty and stay at home.

Stay Home. Save Lives.

 Images: Pat Lok & Lucas Vasques on Unsplash

Cambridge to Host Upcoming Global Health Conference

By Joshua Dowding – On 19th March, Cambridge Global Health Partnerships – known as the CGHP – will be hosting their second Global Health Conference since it’s debut back in 2018. This year’s event…

By Joshua Dowding

On 19th March, Cambridge Global Health Partnerships will be hosting their second Global Health Conference since it’s debut back in 2018. This year’s event has been touted to be larger and more featureful than the previous event, with more guest speakers, panels and exhibitors attending at Hughes Hall, Cambridge University.

In a program sent to us from CGHP, the conference will be split into three distinct sessions: the first focuses on ‘primary care and public health’, the second focuses on ‘global health’, while the third ‘evening session’ focuses on networking. Each session features a variety of keynote speeches from industry veterans and academics, as well as a number of panels, presentations and receptions for guests to mingle with the speakers. All-in-all, the day will go on from 8 AM to 8 PM, with registration starting from 8:30 AM and the first talk scheduled for 9 AM.

The conference aims to connect global health professionals across disciplines, counties and countries. The conference will also consider the future of global health activity across the region” – CGHP press release

According to the press release, the conference will also see the launch of a new ‘database’ that aims to ‘map the global health network across the East of England’ and ‘facilitate cross-country, interdisciplinary collaboration’ between institutions. With this new database, the CGHP and its sponsors hope to ‘enable the East of England to maximise it’s potential to make further contributions to global health causes.’ An apt mission statement given the current circumstances in Wuhan, China and beyond.

This year’s event will be themed around ‘how can Cambridge be a transformative player in global health.’ Again, an apt statement given that we have so many local pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies present in and around the city.

The Journal understands that the event will be sponsored by such entities as NHS Health Education England and the National Institute of Health Research. Several branches of the NHS will also be helping to organise the event alongside Hughes Hall, Public Health at Cambridge, Cambridge Africa and the Global Health Research Group on Neurotrauma.

We’ve been told that such high-profile speakers as Professor Dame Sally Davis, former Chief Medical Officer to the British Government and Special Envoy on Antimicrobial Resistance, will be in attendance. Alongside such other speakers as Professor Amanda Howe of the Royal College of General Practitioners and Norwich Medical School, Professor Nigel Unwin of Research in Global Public Health at the MRC Epidemiology, Doctor Atiya Kamal of the University of Derby, and many other confirmed guests – totalling fifteen so far. Plenty of names to network with!

Opportunities & Competitions

Our students have been invited to submit a poster relating to ‘global health research, education or practice’ to be shown at the conference. Should yours be selected, you will be invited to attend the conference free-of-charge and given the opportunity to present your poster to the guests and attendees. You will also be with a chance to win a £50 book voucher, all for a poster!

The deadline for submissions is the 4th of March. Submissions can be forwarded to CGHP at the following address: It could be something for your CV!

Our PhD students have also been invited to act as ‘Assistant Rapporteurs’ at the event, tasked to report on each of the items taking place at the conference and taking note of the main discussion points at the various keynotes, workshops and panels. You will then have the opportunity to publish a report summarising your findings. This could be something for your portfolio!

For more information regarding the competition and how to enter, follow this link to the flyer provided by the CGHP Press Office. Details of how to attend the event can be found on the Eventbrite listing.


Image: The Climate Reality ProjectUnsplash

Extinction Rebellion Plan to Bring City to a Halt in Latest Protest

By Joshua Dowding – In the last few days, media outlets throughout Cambridge – including The Ruskin Journal – have been made aware of Extinction Rebellion’s plan to ‘bring the city to a halt’ with a ‘week-long roadblock’…

By Joshua Dowding

In the last few days, media outlets throughout Cambridge – including The Ruskin Journal – have been made aware of Extinction Rebellion’s plan to ‘bring the city to a halt’ with a ‘week-long roadblock’ should the ‘institutions of Cambridge’ fail to acquiesce to the group’s demands.

A local sect of the Extinction Rebellion protest movement plan to stage a blockade on the roundabout connecting Trumpington Road to The Fen Causeway. This disruption is likely to affect all adjoining routes including Lensfield Road and Trumpington Street leading into the city.

The protest is slated to begin on the 16th February and will go on until the 23rd uninterrupted, so long as their demands haven’t been met. The group states that the University of Cambridge should ‘cut ties with the fossil fuel industry’, that Cambridge City Council ‘must hold a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate Justice’, and that Cambridgeshire County Council ‘must work with other relevant authorities to provide a plan for a just transition away from an inadequate transport system reliant on fossil fuels’.

It’s unlikely that the institutions in question will circum to the demands being made, as the Cambridge Independent suggests, so the ‘round-the-clock’ protests will almost certainly go-ahead.

The group’s website reiterates the importance of the climate and ecological emergency and that the effects of the crisis ‘are falling more heavily on disadvantaged and marginalised communities around the world’. The article goes on to state that ‘any attempt to address the climate crisis must seek to bring justice to these communities.’ This, presumably, ties into their well-known ‘Climate Justice is Social Justice’ message, as seen throughout the organisation’s marketing materials as of late.

Extinction Rebellion’s Cambridge group have held sporadic, though regular protests throughout the city for a while now. Demonstrations such as the recent event at the Madingley Road Park & Ride on February 3rd, reported by Cambridgeshire Live. Protestors targeted this site due there being ‘a lot of very big names, polluters, in that area’, citing both BP and the Schlumberger research facility by name.

The Cambridge Independent also reports that posts made on XR’s ‘Love Rebellion’ platform suggest that protesters should ‘bring tents’. The post also suggests that the protesters should be ‘prepared to participate in an action which may risk arrest’. Alongside this, the group have put out a call for people with ‘skills, and enthusiasm’ to join in on their staged protest.

A spokesperson for the group told reporters that this location had been chosen to up-the-pressure on the institutions they’ve taken exception to. It’s true that the roundabout in question is a relatively busy junction, and that any disruption to the flow of traffic in that area will have a notable effect on Cambridge as a whole.

More information regarding the protest can be found on XR’s website.

The Ruskin Journal will keep a close eye on this story as it develops.


[1] Extinction Rebellion Cambridge Article
[2] Extinction Rebellion Cambridge Events Calendar
[3] Extinction Rebellion Cambridge – Rebel for Justice
[4] Cambridgeshire Live – ‘Extinction Rebellion plan Madingley Road Park & Ride mystery protest
[5] Cambridge Independent – ‘Extinction Rebellion Cambridge Youth’s week-long action will block Fen Causeway’

Image: Markus SpiskeUnsplash

What’s On: Cambridge – Competitive Escape Room League

By Joshua Dowding – This is the first post in a new series covering some of the interesting events happening in each of the cities hosting an ARU campus – Cambridge, Chelmsford, Peterborough and London…

By Joshua Dowding

This is the first post in a new series covering some of the interesting events happening in each of the cities hosting an ARU campus – Cambridge, Chelmsford, Peterborough and London. Know of any interesting events happening in your area? Get in touch with The Ruskin Journal!

Between January 13th and July 12th, Lockhouse Games are hosting their inaugural Escape Room League. Throughout the second semester, each of the universities of Cambridge will compete against each other to see who can complete Lockhouse’s three escape rooms the quickest. Anglia Ruskin University has been invited to compete alongside Cambridge University, and it’s associated colleges, in a bout that is sure to stir up competition between the two institutions.

According to Lockhouse’s website, each escape room has its own scoreboard and league table. Each team that declares itself to represent a particular university will be automatically inducted into the competition. The top three fastest times will contribute to the university’s overall average time for that given room, and this average will appear on the scoreboard should it be within the top three averages set by each of the universities. The faster you complete the room, the lower the average gets.

Lockhouse offers a ‘beginner-friendly’ experience for those who haven’t tried an escape room before. Their ‘Egyptian Tomb’ room boasts over 400 customer reviews granting it a five-star score on their website. Other rooms include the ‘Armageddon’ room and the ‘Secret Agent’ room, both featuring unique escape scenarios.

Promotional Image

While Lockhouse have yet to formally announce the prizes for the winners of the competition, the company has hinted that they are working with local businesses to facilitate these prizes and that an announcement is forthcoming.

To participate in the league, Lockhouse encourages students to let them know that their team represents a given university when they book one of their escape rooms. This can be done in-person, or through the online booking form. And while there isn’t a minimum number of players for each team, their escape rooms do have a maximum capacity of either 6 or 7 players at a time.

Last bookings are at 9:40 PM on both weekdays and weekends, and Lockhouse also offers a number of student discounts when booking on certain days. Discounts are subject to the validation of a Student ID.

Promotional Image

It sounds like a lot of fun, and we’ll be keeping an eye on the university’s progress over the coming weeks and months. Good luck to all the students who have already participated in the league, and to those who get involved throughout the remaining semester(s).

Thank you to Lockhouse Games for bringing this event to our attention.
This content was not sponsored. Images courtesy of Lockhouse Games’ Press team.

Students, Alumni & Staff Pen Open Letter to University Governors

By Joshua Dowding – Since August, 155 students, staff members, and university alumni have signed an open letter addressed to the Governors of the university, citing concern with the Chair of Governors decision to become a Trustee to…

By Joshua Dowding

Since August, 155 students, staff members, and university alumni have signed an open letter addressed to the Governors of the university, citing concern with the Chair of Governors decision to become a Trustee to The Global Warming Policy Foundation, known as the GWPF. Dr Jerome Booth’s decision to associate himself with the Foundation in this manner has sparked condemnation from research fellows, PhD researchers and lecturers, a significant number of whom have signed the open letter.

In July, the climate science publication DeSmog UK published an article regarding the recent appearance of Dr Booth’s name on the list of trustees, on the GWPF website. DeSmog reported that Dr Booth’s decision was taken because ‘he was interested in energy policy and believes [that] greater scrutiny of climate policies is needed’. He goes on to say that ‘the GWPF has no collective position on climate science, but encourages open and balanced discussion’. DeSmog also reported that Dr Booth had made an undisclosed number of donations to the GWPF, though no details of these gifts were chronicled.

However, as DeSmog also pointed out, Dr Booth’s asset management company – New Sparta, of which he is currently Chairman – does invest in ‘renewable energy strategies’. Highlighting it as one of the company’s current investment themes.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation describes itself as an ‘all-party and non-party think tank and registered educational charity’, and that while they’re ‘open-minded on the contested science of global warming’, the Foundation is ‘deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of the policies currently being advocated’. The Foundation’s website stresses that they are ‘in no sense anti-environmental’, and that their aim is to ‘provide the most robust and reliable economic analysis and advice’.

While the foundation is not a lobby group, it’s ‘wholly-owned subsidiary’ – The Global Warming Policy Forum – states on its website that it has a growing ‘influence’ among ‘both UK and international policy makers’. The Forum describes itself as a ‘think tank which conducts campaigns and activities which do not fall squarely within the [foundation’s] remit as an educational charity’.

The Ruskin Journal is keen to stress that Dr Booth has no documented affiliation with this wholly-owned subsidiary, though the fact that it is ‘wholly-owned’ is public knowledge and is therefore noteworthy in it’s own right.

The open letter, set to be published in December, suggests that Dr Booth should resign as Trustee of the foundation, believing his involvement with the GWPF to be a ‘direct contradiction’ to the university’s commitment to sustainability. The letter also asks the remaining Governors to be ‘active advocates for sustainability’, stating that the university is ‘recognized for it’s world-leading contributing to sustainability through numerous awards’. The letter also recognizes the ‘many valuable ways’ in which Dr Booth – as Chair of Governors – has contributed to the university throughout his tenure.

Sarah Royston – the letter’s author and inaugural signatory – provided this statement to The Ruskin Journal: ‘As a sustainability researcher, I’m proud of ARU’s strong reputation as a green University, and our pioneering research and teaching on environmental issues. So I was really shocked when a colleague at another university told me that ARU’s chairman was publicly supporting this anti-science lobby group. I hope that Jerome Booth will listen to the staff and students, and stop all involvement with the GWPF’ – Sarah is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the university.



Calling All Students: Make Your Voice Heard!

By Joshua Dowding – As I’m sure you know by now, another general election is upon us. Though it seems like an eternity since we last went to the polls, on December 12th the country will be asked once again to decide it’s future…

By Joshua Dowding

As I’m sure you know by now, another general election is upon us. Though it seems like an eternity since we last went to the polls, on December 12th the country will be asked once again to decide it’s future. Some pundits have already branded it as the ‘Brexit Election’, but I feel it’s important to consider some of the wider issues facing the country now, and in the near future. There’s a whole lot more going on in the world right now: climate change, the ongoing refugee crisis, and the rise of the political fringes just to name a few. Of course you should consider Brexit, of course some of these issues bleed into the Brexit debate, but try not to make this election all about one issue. Cast your vote based on a whole range of issues that are important to you, and don’t follow the pack. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard.

What’s at stake?

Every constituency in the country is up for grabs in the upcoming general election. There are 650 constituencies in the United Kingdom, each representing between 56,000 and 72,000 constituency members (depending on where you live), and a single seat in the House of Commons.

How does an election work?

The name of the game is to get a majority, and for any one party to gain a majority, 326 members of that party must first be elected to the House of Commons. Each party tries to field a candidate for each constituency, though sometimes a party may not field a candidate for a particular constituency due to a pact they’ve made with another party, or because they just don’t have enough candidates.

With the first-past-the-post voting system we have in the United Kingdom, the candidate with the most votes wins the constituency, and thus a seat in parliament. However, that candidate may only secure 39% of the total votes cast with the other candidates securing the remaining 61% of votes. What counts is that each of those remaining candidates did not secure more votes than the victor despite amassing more votes than they did in total. For better or worse, the current system favours the person with the 39% mandate, over the people with the 61% lead. To combat this system, you might want to research into ‘tactical voting’. I’ll leave that up to you.

At a national level, the party with the most elected members, or MPs, wins the election. However, since the name of the game is to get a majority, the party with the most elected MPs may still lose out on a commanding position in parliament by failing to gain that majority. This is referred to as a ‘hung parliament’ where no one party has a majority in the House of Commons. At this point, the party with the most elected MPs must try to form a government by either partnering with another party or by forming a ‘minority government’. The former may (I stress ‘may’) prove beneficial if the winning party can find another with similar political views, whereas the latter would mean that the government might find it difficult to pass their legislation due to a lack of a majority in the House.

In advance of the election, each party will release its manifesto outlining what they intend to do should they win the majority – at least in theory. And while it’s easy to dismiss them, they do provide some insight into the party’s priorities and leanings. So they might be worth a skim at least.

It’s important to remember that voters do not elect the Prime Minister themselves. The person that’ll become the PM is either the current leader of the party that wins, or the leaders of the parties that enter into a coalition, or they’re elected by the parties themselves (sometimes after-the-fact).

How do I know if I’m eligible to vote?

It’s not enough to be 18 and over to vote in UK general elections. Voters will also need to be a registered British citizen with a residential address somewhere in the United Kingdom, or – for those living abroad – must have previously registered to vote within the past 15 years. Qualifying citizens of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland (especially if they were born in Northern Ireland), Cyprus, or Malta, may also be eligible to vote as well. However, EU citizens living in the UK on a permit will not be allowed to vote in the upcoming election at all. Again, make of that what you will.

Prospective voters aged between 16 and 17 may also register to vote, though they will not be able to participate in this upcoming election unless parliament decides to extend the franchise to those people. EU citizens are in a similar situation here.

How do I get involved?

You can vote in one of three ways: in-person, by post, or by proxy. Regardless of which you choose, you will first need to register to vote.

  • To register to vote, follow this link. The deadline is midnight on Tuesday, November 26th. It takes a few minutes at most, but don’t leave it until the last minute! It will take some time for your name to be added to the electoral register once you’ve registered.
  • To apply to vote by post, follow this link. The deadline date is the same as registration, but the time is slightly earlier at 5 PM. Voters in Northern Ireland can also apply to vote by post, though you’ll need to provide a reason as to why you cannot vote in person in your case.
  • To apply to vote by proxy, follow this link. The deadline for applications is the same as voting by post.

If you intend to vote by post, or by proxy, you will need to make a separate application in addition to your electoral registration. These applications must be made in-time – any applications received after the deadline will be rejected even if it was the fault of the postal service that it wasn’t received in time.

How does ‘in-person’ voting work?

Voting takes place at designated polling stations. Before the election, voters will receive a polling card telling you which station you are registered to vote at. These stations open at 7 AM on the day (December 12th), and remain open until 10 PM. After that, the station will close to the public.

When you arrive at a polling station, the ballot officer will ask you for your name and address so that they can find you on the electoral register. Be sure to have some form of identification on you just in case you’re asked for it. Then you will be given a ballot paper and shown to a polling booth. You are expected to put a cross in the box next to the name of the candidate you wish to vote for. Putting a tick, a circle, or anything else in that box will spoil your vote. Once you’ve finished, fold the ballot paper in half, exit the polling booth and drop the paper into the ballot box. That’s it, you’re done.

The results are declared through the night as each constituency office counts its votes. The count might spill into the following morning depending on how quickly each constituency declares it’s results, and whether there are any recounts.

How does voting by post or proxy work?

If you intend to vote by post, providing that you’ve registered to do so, you will receive your ballot paper in the mail close to the date of the general election. You must fill in the ballot paper as you would at a polling station, and return it in the envelope provided. If you think your postal vote won’t make it in time, you can take the sealed letter to your local polling station instead.

Voting by proxy means that you’d like someone else to vote on your behalf in your absence. Your proxy would vote as normal, though they would receive two ballot papers instead of one. Your proxy of choice must be trustworthy and registered to vote themselves.

Should I get involved?

Yes, absolutely. Every vote counts, literally. It’s a numbers game after all. One vote could make all the difference – that could be your vote. After all, voting is anonymous, so as long as you don’t tell anyone, no one will find out which way you voted. Nobody needs to know.

Lastly, there’s been a lot of talk about the ‘two-party system’ as of late. According to the BBC, every election since 1922 has been won by either the Labour party or the Conservative party. But in the years since the infamous 2016 EU referendum, a number of alternative parties have sprung up in an attempt to disrupt this system. Together with some of the smaller established parties, a credible force could be brewing here to take on the two-party system for the first time in nearly a century. Could be worth a look? I’ll leave it to you.

Last Word

For more information on how to vote – especially if you’re voting from abroad – follow this link to the official government website. Register to vote; make your voice heard!


‘General election 2019: A really simple guide’ (BBC – 1/11/19)
‘General election 2019: How political parties choose election candidates’ (BBC – 10/11/19)
‘Register to vote’ (
‘How to vote’ (
‘Minority government’ (

Image: Steve Houghton-Burnett on Unsplash

Winchester University Cancels Talk from Mens’ Rights Activists – But Who Really Benefits from this Situation?

By Hannah Cox – When Students of Winchester University discovered that the group Justice for Men and Boys was set to give a talk on the first of March, many were disgusted. What followed was a petition, now victorious with 719 signatures, requesting that this group…

By Hannah Cox

When Students of Winchester University discovered that the group Justice for Men and Boys was set to give a talk on the first of March, many were disgusted. What followed was a petition, now victorious with 719 signatures, requesting that this group be prevented from giving the talk and kept off the campus.

The petition was headed by this statement:

“While feminism welcomes men and discusses men’s issues, this group is not inclusive or concerned with equality for all. Rather, they give ‘awards’ to ‘whiny feminist of the month’ and ‘gormless feminist of the month’, as well as supporting articles such as ’13 reasons why women lie about being raped’. The leader can also be quoted to say ‘many feminists are profoundly stupid, as well as hateful’, ‘feminists are generally less attractive than normal women’, and suggests feminists should be arrested and forced ‘with the threat of denying them chocolate – to undertake IQ tests’. He also states he ‘has a strong suspicion that many feminists (particularly lesbian feminists) have male brains which might help explain why they are so masculine, assertive, and work-centred’.”

Whilst it is perfectly understandable to be upset by these statements made by the leader of the party Mike Buchanan, there is arguably something lost in not allowing them to talk about their party and why it exists.

Students of Winchester University received this notice:


The University’s freedom of speech policy upholds that it will ensure “the protection of the rights of members of the University to hear ideas and controversial or unpopular opinions”. However, this event was deemed unsuitable due to the likelihood of it spreading hateful and damaging ideologies.

A Sky News interview with Mike Buchanan revealed the following:

Mr Buchanan said he was “disappointed” by the university’s decision and said the party had been “very badly misrepresented” by the petition, describing allegations of misogyny as “complete nonsense”. He said: “I was a bit annoyed that they didn’t refer to our Lying Feminist of the Month awards. We call out feminists for lying – including some MPs – for being whiny, for being gormless, for being toxic.”

Responding to allegations his party is not inclusive, he said: “We’re absolutely for equality and opportunity” and said there are “plenty” of women in the men’s rights movement.

Some students at the University do not support the party, but believe it is important to hear their views. Samuel Collis, a student currently studying at Winchester University had this to say:

“It is important to hear views which differ from yours, and even more important to hear and debate these controversial opinions. Denying these groups their right to speak simply reinforces their negative views and does nothing to discredit their arguments. I am disappointed that my university, who claim to support the right to free speech and to hear controversial opinions, would abandon that commitment so easily in the face of a vocal minority who wish to deny others this right.”

Once again, Universities have found themselves at the centre of an interesting debate. Do we silence those whose views we find harmful? Do we empower them by doing so? Universities have no-platform policies and withhold the right to cancel speakers and events, for which there are pros and cons. Marginalised groups do need to be protected, but do we empower harmful views when we do not engage with them openly? Will any University officially commit to hosting a platform dedicated to free speech?



The policies:


Coasts Farewell Tour at Cambridge Junction

After 10 years, the five-piece English rock band have decided to split. An Instagram post was written announcing the split and their tour dates saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to end Coasts. This is one of the…

After 10 years, the five-piece English rock band have decided to split. An Instagram post was written announcing the split and their tour dates saying, “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to end Coasts. This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make but we ultimately feel that it is a positive one.”

The members of Coasts, Chris Caines (Vocals), Liam Willford (Guitar), James Gamage (Bass), David Goulbourn (Keyboards) and Ben Street (Drums), met at University in Bath. Shortly after they moved to Bristol where they formed their band. They achieved two UK  Top 40 albums as well as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record’ in October 2014.

Coasts performed at Cambridge Junction on Wednesday 24th October, alongside Only The Poets as support. I feel as if I have been late to the party with this band, having only discovered them this summer, but their show certainly did not disappoint. They performed singles such as “Stay” and “Oceans” and despite being their smallest audience so far, the atmosphere was incredible.

In their announcement post, the members concluded it by saying, “We started this band as five best friends and we’ll finish it as five best friends. Coasts has been our lives for the past 10 years and we wouldn’t have had it any other way.”.

A Band to Keep Your Eye On – 

only poets

Only the Poets joined the stage to support Coasts on their farewell tour. Although the venue wasn’t necessarily packed out, the crowd filled out the empty space with double the noise which created an exciting atmosphere.

The indie pop band from Reading made this their first major tour and they filled the room with their catchy tunes and had everyone moving. Their set included songs from their EP such as ‘Even Hell’ and ‘CeaseFire’. As someone who has never heard of them before, I’ve found myself listening to their EP on repeat since the gig and they are definitely a band to watch out for. You can find them on Spotify and they have some upcoming tour dates available for sale now. 

Photo Credit: Tyla Brine

Written By: Tyla Brine

The SU Election Results Night (2018)

 By Hanushka Karnani & Kiana Rad

On Friday 9th March, the SU Election Results took place at the Academy on the Cambridge Campus of ARU. There was a vibrant and buzzing atmosphere as soon as entered the venue, it was apparent that there was an ambience of excitement and nerves amongst all the potential candidates. They were all eagerly wishing one another good luck and assuring each other that whatever happens they’ve done their best. The good-sportsmanship alone was one of the many reasons why this year’s elections may have been the best one yet.

The event took off with the candidates getting settled into the party atmosphere, buying drinks and socialising with their competitors and other attendees. Once everyone was ready, the ceremony begun with Daniel Login, the Deputy Returning Officer for The Election, taking to the stage to welcome the audience and begin announcing the long-anticipated results. For those who were unable to attend the eventful evening, the highlights have been recorded and posted on the Anglia Ruskin Student Union Facebook page. You can also visit the Student Union Instagram page or their Twitter feed to catch up on all the details of last Fridays results

Everyone was in high spirits, filling up the Academy which is based in Cambridge.

The first categories announced were Trans Students’ Representative for Cambridge and the LGBT+ Students’ Rep (Cambridge). The winners for these categories were Michael Turner, as the new Trans Students’ Rep and Luca Girardi as the re-elected LGBT+ Students’ Rep with a lead of 49 votes. Both candidates kept their speeches short and sweet, thanking the audience for their support and swiftly leaving the stage to re-join their fellow competitors. This was followed by intervals of dramatic movie soundtracks to enhance the competitive feel of the event.

After the first interval, the next two categories announced was the Disabled Students’ Rep (Cambridge), won by student Juliet Onuoha and the BME (Black & Minority Ethnic) Students’ Rep (Cambridge), won by Blessing Raimi from the campaign team SU 4 YOU. Once again, both candidates delivered short but thankful speeches to the crowd.

The campaign used LEGO figures and bricks, which provided a colourful aesthetic to the whole experience and signified strength from the new team.

The night continued by introducing the Science & Technology Faculty Reps. The first category announced was the FST Faculty Representative for Cambridge, won by Jamie Smith, our current Students’ Union President who after two years of making significant changes for the university has decided to take on a new role within the faculty alongside her studies. We took her aside for a quick interview, asking her about her experience as the President and how she’s felt about this year’s election.

HANUSHKA AND KIANA: “How are you feeling about the elections this year and your new role after stepping down as president?”

JAMIE: It’s nice to have the confirmation from students that you did well, also its really really nice that some of the people who have been elected in I haven’t met before the elections and they’ve obviously gone to so many students and informed them on the changes they wanted to make and made them think “Yeah I believe in this person”. So I’m really excited to see that it’s not just the typical keenos [sic] that are getting the roles, it’s exciting that some candidates have just spoken to other students and got their feedback to improve the university experience.

Candidates who have come in and said “I really want to do a good job for students” have said let’s just ask students what they want and written their manifestos based on what current students want. There have been some candidates who have gone on what I’ve done and what I’ve done is good for this year’s student but not necessarily good for next years students.

It’s a whole new calibre of students this year and I think that everyone cares and mental health has been on the top agenda and it’s really exciting especially for me”

Current President Jamie Smith takes to the stage alongside Daniel Login.

H&K: “Yeah It’s amazing that so much attention is on mental health now!”

J: “Yeah I love that! It’s so good to see the turnaround. Everyone that ran this year should be so proud of themselves.

H&K: “I mean c’mon [sic] that’s also due to you as well giving that impact on others as President.”

J: “I hope so, I think my team this year have done a fantastic job. I think they’re all very different and they’ve all done great things and it’s a testament to the role that three of my officers have run for full-time roles again which I’m super proud of! It’s really nice for them to be like “I’m not done yet, I have so much more to offer”. The only thing I’m upset about is not all three of them are going to get in.”

The next category announced was Vice President for Science and Technology which was won by Matt Hayes of Team SUpreme with a total of 495 votes. As he ran up on stage, he jokingly asked his audience to wait silently for his mother to pick up the phone so that he can tell her to live on stage to say that he won. His team cheered him on throughout his speech and jumped up to give him endless hugs and congratulations. After the overwhelming response to his win, we managed to pull him aside for a brief interview on how he feels to be the new VP of his faculty and discussing the changes he hopes to make in the future.

H&K: So how are you feeling after that overwhelming experience?

MATT: “Uhhh…disorientated”

H&K: We like what you did there with calling your mum on stage

M:I had so many things I wanted to do in my speech but I couldn’t do them all!

H&K: “So what are your next steps as VP?”

M: “So the first things that need to be looked at is reviewing the well-being and counselling services because they are not as good as they could be and the waiting time is six weeks to four months at the moment and even then some people aren’t getting the services they need. We need to collate the information and figure out where we can take it.

The Academy is absolutely popping tonight! We need more events like these, where people are just getting responsibly drunk, having a good time.”

H&K: “As third-year students, we haven’t seen the Academy this live since our first year because of other obligations, so what would you like to say about your work there?”

M: “So I’m the coordinator for the Audio Music Tech society so I run a vast majority if the events that happen at the Academy, and we occasionally get events like this and it’s such a good feeling when you’re doing sound and lights for an event and people are absolutely loving it. That’s one of my other main aims for my term is to create more of an interconnected community for societies to make it easier for societies to be like “let’s make a sick event”.

H&K: “Bringing people together basically, that’s great.”

M: “It’s just about putting people with common aims together”

H&K: “We noticed that you have a very strong support system, and seem to be one of the few candidates that had a large and encouraging team. Tell us a bit about that.”

M: “Obviously I had my absolutely incredible girlfriend, and friends in first year who’s I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I had the support of my slate and my slate’s campaign teams – even if there was a level of competition we’ve been constantly together all day every day. There is such a community atmosphere that I’m so grateful for.”

A new friendship: the newly elected Vice Presidents of FST and FLAIBS Matt and Mary

After the third interval, we re-joined the crowd for the announcement of the Vice President of Health, Social Care, Education and Medical Science. The winning candidate was the bubbly re-elected Eliza Torres who ran up on stage with high energy and graciously thanked all her supporters and fellow competitors. Following this, was the FHSCE Faculty Representative for Cambridge which came to a draw between Tiegan Lawson and Camile Trancoso-Gordon. As a result of this, there was a coin toss to break the tie which resulted in Tiegan Lawson’s win.

The evening continued with the fourth interval, where candidates were bracing themselves for the announcement of the Vice President for Business and the first ever representative for ARU London. The candidate that was nominated as the first representative for ARU London was Oluwadamilare Ojewande who unfortunately was unable to make it to the event.

Following this, Mary Copsey was announced as the new Vice President of Business. The crowd was noticeably elated, especially her campaign team, Team SUpreme. She gave an inspiring speech as she was still in disbelief that she won, as a student who is fairly new to Anglia Ruskin. We addressed this in our interview with her, also asking about her personal experience about her campaign.

H&K: How are you feeling Mary?

MARY:I’m just like, so overwhelmed! Literally, I’m so excited because I really wanted this but not just for myself, it’s so many things like my manifesto just screams it. I just wanna [sic] implement and change things for the students.”

H&K: You seem to have a very supportive team as well?

MARY: “I honestly wasn’t expecting it! I know I’m in Business and I’m quite competitive, however, with this – you can ask my friends – this is just me like on a daily basis, I’m quite loud and chatty and to me, some of the stuff in my manifesto is really close to my heart and I’m already a course representative as well as a student ambassador and I do lots of volunteering, I’m always at the student councils and I know there’s the stuff that needs changing and I want to push that more.”

H&K: “So, what was it that made you want to take this role?”

MARY: “To be honest, I contemplated it for a little while – like I said, I’m quite active with the student rep and I’ve been to student council meetings and I actually got nominated – I got an email saying someone had nominated me and put me forward with a paragraph saying “Mary would be really good as VP, she cares so much for the students’’. That’s what made me go for it, but if I’m honest I’ve only been here since September so I just felt like I wasn’t sure because the people I was going up against have been here for many years, I thought they would be much more popular than me so I just you know what, I’m just going to go for it!

The final Vice President to be announced was for Arts, Law and Social Sciences where Amanda Campbell White won with 516 votes, the third member of Team SUpreme to win. Her team showered her with affection as she gradually approached the stage, shaken and overwhelmed by the landslide win.

Then the ALSS Faculty Representative (Cambridge) winner was announced and Alex Mead won the position. In our brief discussion with him, we asked him how he was feeling and he was visibly overjoyed, saying that “I’m so thankful for people supporting me and spreading the word…loads of emotions there, I’m proud of myself and proud of my team”.

Relaxing after a victory in the faculty rep elections

Last but not least, the President was announced, and winning with 829 votes was no other than current Vice President of Science and Technology, Laura Douds. Whilst the crowd was chanting her name, she got on stage and urged everyone to give a round of applause for the other competitors running for President as well as all other roles. She took her to win with grace and took a moment to embrace her new team for the upcoming year. She gave the Ruskin Journal this quote about her win:

“At the time it was really exciting – and it still is a few days later! I was so tired and so nervous all week, so it was really fantastic to know that all the hard work had paid off and that people believed in me. In terms of next year: first things first, I need to get to know my team and what I think they’re going to need from me. I know Eliza already so that’s good – but there are three officers who I don’t know yet! I want to hit the ground running with my rent campaign once the new officers get settled and hopefully we’ll make some good progress on that. Mostly I want my team to be successful and happy!”

The new Student Union Officer Team of 2018-2019 celebrating together and ready to begin a new chapter at the SU

Overall, the evening was a success and win or lose, all the candidates seemed humbled by the end result. We hope to follow up with the candidates next year in their new roles, and in another article over the next few months, chat with the current officer team about their tenure at the Students’ Union. For now, it’s time to celebrate Global Week, and give all the candidates a well-earned break!

Images: Hanushka Karnani

The Student Union Election – Last Day!

The Anglia Ruskin Student Union’s election is almost over! From 9am, 5th March – 3pm, 9th March, you will be have been able to vote on a number of important positions within the SU. This week is your chance to have your say and nominate the people who you think will best represent the SU, your course and student life. There are still a few hours left before the vote closes!

You will have the power to nominate a President, four Vice Presidents, four faculty reps and six campaign reps. Those voted in will attend essential meetings on what is going on within the University and will ensure that student voices are not just heard, but acted on. Having just gone down to the busy voting station in Helmore corridor, it is clear that a lot of students are invested in who runs their SU.

I spoke to the ALSS Representation Coordinator Caliana Jakes on why she thinks it is so important for students to have their say. “It’s important for students to choose their leaders as they will represent them for the next year, and they could really make a change.”

So make sure to vote! Around campus there are plenty of posters from all of the candidates that give you a quick breakdown of their manifesto’s, or visit to read their full manifesto so you have an idea of what candidate best represents what you think the SU should be doing for the next year. You can vote on the SU website, or by the stalls on campus (where I see they are giving away sweets and stickers for those who have voted!)

Get voting here:

By Hollie Luck

9th January 2018

Meet the Candidates: Coverage of the Student Union Election (2018)

By Elle Haywood & Hanushka Karnani

On Thursday the 1st of March, ‘Meet the Candidates’ was held at The Academy, in the heart of the ARU Cambridge Campus. An enjoyable event where a number of people from all faculties of the University came together to meet the eligible candidates of this year’s Anglia Ruskin University Student Union Election. After some light-hearted conversation with the other attendees including our current President Jaime Smith at the bar, the assembly took off by introducing the prospective candidates running for the position of Vice President of the four different faculties; Arts Law and Social Sciences, Lord Ashcroft International Business School, Science & Technology and Health, Social Care, Education / Medical Science. Then the position of President rounded off the evening. Despite the event starting half an hour late and overrunning, everyone in attendance appeared to be in high spirits talking to and about the other candidates.

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Science and Technology

To kick start the evening, the candidates for the position of Vice President for the Faculty of Science and Technology presented themselves to the crowd, giving a little insight into their manifestos and taking on the spot questions. The VP position for Science and Technology Faculty had the most candidates running for office, and there was a fierce sense of competition between them. We will go briefly through each candidate, summarising their talk and presenting points from their manifesto, which you can read in detail here: 

Leon Staffa began the evening talking about his vision for the department which was highly student-focused and made a point to talk about the importance of accountability with the faculty board. He is part of the #AllStars team in collaboration with other students, and pressed on the issues of mental health and inclusivity. Leon’s thoughts during questioning on mental health, prompted the response from him saying the university needs to be more visible, honest and open about the subject, and wanting to get more FST trained in using faculty equipment when asked about equipment access. Read his manifesto here:

Zinnia Thorpe was next up, and her wealth of experience as a course rep and as a society president meant that she had clearly invested time, passion and effort into her studies and the student experience. She is a second-year Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation student and has teamed up with #SU4U. Her focus was on the biodiversity and sustainability of the university, which if she were to become VP of the faculty, and help to get students involved in these projects. She also mentioned wanting to provide free environmentally friendly menstrual and contraceptive products to students. During questioning, her responses to faculty equipment access included wanting more computer rooms for FST students, out of hour access and more application software, and the ARU words about herself were: Ambitious, Realistic and Unity.. This is her manifesto:

The next candidate to the stage was David Cheeseman, 3rd-year biomedical sciences student, who focused on course-based networking, pushing for Student social spaces and ensuring there are enough resources in the faculty. His previous experience in a society shows his student involvement, clear competence and has education at the forefront of his plans. David spoke about mental health being interested in courses to prevent people from slipping through the net, and described his ARU words as being Agile, Resourceful and Understanding. His manifesto can be found here:

The energetic Alexander Towey took to the stage next with a fresh bout of confidence, speaking about his plans for student engagement / involvement and cooperation in and around the faculty. Alexander is currently in his 3rd year studying Electronic Engineering. His manifesto talks about having fair and equal opportunities for all students. When asked about facility equipment, he agreed about there being more software access for FST students, and when asked to describe himself in the letters ARU, he responded: Articulate, Resourceful and Uncanny. You can read more about his manifesto here:

And finally for the position of Vice President (Science & Technology) was Matt Hayes, who studies Audio and Music Technology, and who was vibrantly passionate about society coordination and integration. His time working with the AMT society meant that he’s worked closely with other students in the faculty providing external skill practice alongside his duties as Course Rep. He spoke consistently about mental health awareness and focus; a very topical current issue, and wanted to push for more faculty forums. During questioning, he said that ARU and the SU must push to decrease weekday service waiting time for appointments, pressing for Compass House to have 24/7 access and have FST related software in the library. He is also part of #TeamSUpreme, and his ARU words were: Amazing (at listening), Really (bad at thinking on the spot) and Unimaginably (proud). Here is his manifesto:

People attending the event chilled at the bar for a few drinks in-between speeches

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Health, Social Care and Education / Medical Science

The next faculty in line for their speeches and question time was the Faculty of Health, Social Care, Education and Medical Science. This was the lowest contested position with only two candidates: current VP Eliza Torres and MA in Education student Fraser Luther-Yarwood. Only Fraser attended the Cambridge MTC evening, but we have some details from Eliza’s questioning in Chelmsford earlier that week.

Fraser spoke about his hopes to campaign to reduce funding and course fees, increase communication in the department and for students to have more access to important resources. He is a Masters Education Studies student and has been at ARU for 4 years, and for the election is part of the #AllStars team. It was mentioned that many students based in Cambridge in the FHSCE Department felt isolated from the university – and his response was that there should be more video conferences, better feedback process and more resources shared across campuses. He also responded that there should be more extended mental health sessions and for the faculty to have a new identity with creative branding and be proud of the faculty. In his manifesto he also speaks about being part of 3/4 SU & sports societies and is an advocate for international student and LGBTQ+ rights. This is his manifesto:

In Eliza’s online manifesto, her key points are: 1) Mature student space, 2) Continued Cultural GIAG and minority group representation. Also, 3) More lobbying against cuts to the NHS and fighting for bursaries for paramedic students; nursing students and 4) Continued FREE cross-campus Monthly De-stress events. She has also successfully carried out 4 campaigns in her current role. During the Chelmsford MTC event, when asked about contact with students on placement, Eliza responded stating that she needs to re-think hours and the definition of 9-5, whilst also doing evening work to fit in with students. She has teamed up with #SU4U. This is her manifesto:

An introduction to the intense and lively evening 

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of the Lord Ashcroft International Business School 

The runners for the LAIBS faculty, were the third group of candidates to present themselves to the audience. Three of the candidates; Mary Corpsey, Michael Graham and Jamie Hall were at the event however the fourth candidate for this position, Tammy Redersdorf- Marquis was unable to attend. Each individual was given the chance to demonstrate their ideas from their manifestos and attempted to give solutions to the problems they felt the need of bringing to the table.

Michael Graham member of the #AllStars team and is a third-year student in Business Management who has not only been his course rep but his entire faculty rep too. His manifesto indicates how student diversity is key to his ambitions as VP as well as describing how he will ‘collaborate with course-based societies’ within the LAIBS faculty to ensure students make the most of their degree. Graham also seemed determined to bring upon issues such as living costs and teaching excellence if he were voted in as a VP. His manifesto and personal profile can be read here:

Human Resource post-grad student Mary Corpsey – also a volunteer and student ambassador- brought upon a number of distinct issues compared to that of Graham. In her manifesto as well as her speech at last Thursday’s ‘Meet the Candidates’, she described how she will introduce new ventures such as more Career Awareness and Internship opportunities for prospective graduates, as well as creating a Support Package as an alternative to Books Plus for international students. She is also on #TeamSUpreme for this election. You can read her manifesto here on the SU website:

Similar to Graham’s collaboration of coursed based societies – Jamie Hall is aiming to increase the number them and have more societies related to the subjects of Business and Management. His manifesto also states on ‘improving employment and networking opportunities’ as well as creating stronger relationships with other local companies to introduce more internship and placement opportunities for students at ARU. Hall has been Course Rep for the last three years and is currently the president of the International Business Society, whilst being on the team #SU4U Jamie’s manifesto can be read here:

Fourth runner for VP LAIBS, Tammy Redersdorf- Marquis a second-year Marketing Student had not made an appearance at the Academy this last Thursday, however after reading through her manifesto, it is clear that she, just like the rest of her opponents have introduced practical matters that need attention and is willing to work on them if she is elected the new VP of her faculty. Here is Tammy’s manifesto:

The campaign design for the SU election is a mixture of fun-loving childhood figures and a bold colour palette, which could suggest the diversity and range of candidates running

Candidacy for the Vice Presidency of Arts, Law and Social Sciences

After a short interval and some refreshments, the participants running for VP for the faculty of ALSS were brought to the stage to inform the crowd on what they can provide to the students at ARU. The prospective candidates for this position are; Amanda Campbell White, Chizoba Isu- Omo, James Morgans, Ryan Price, Demi Smith and Lars Woolnough of which only three were present at the affair and were able to deliver their speeches first hand to the assemblage.

#TeamSUpreme’s Amanda Campbell White, delivers a positive message through her manifestos, describing the many ways she will help in improving the ‘university and student experience’. By doing so she aims to begin the progress for a permanent student bar on the Cambridge Campus in addition to ‘improving social space and this being accessible to all students and societies.’ Campbell also describes how if she were elected she would enforce more ‘managing stress’ workshops and provide more creative outlets for stress relief.’ Campbell was not able to attend the MTC. This is her manifesto:

Chizoba Isu- Omo is a Media Studies student from Nigeria, with a ‘desire to inspire others in a higher cause through being cooperative, considerate and sympathetic.’ Isu-Omo’s focus is to improve the sites of the ALSS department in addition to ‘encourage co-operation and robust leadership amongst students and the department.’  Chizoba was not present at the MTC, and you can read her manifesto here:

The next candidate to make their case as to why they should become the next Vice President for the faculty of ALSS is third-year Politics student James Morgan. The student was delegated course rep in his first year and is currently the representative for the LGBT society at Cambridge Campus. Morgan affirmed during his speech this past Thursday at the Academy that if he were to be elected for this role he would take upon matters relating to Societies, Representation, Student Health on Campus and The Academy. Morgan also stated he would look into issues in relation to the Library and Canteen as well as collaborating with the SU. This is his manifesto:

Demi Smith, a Masters student in English Literature and course representative aims to improve societies and collaboration of all students. Smith’s ‘Think Pink’ manifesto which she discussed throughout her time on stage, also stated she will focus on improving well-fare, sustainability and student representation. She also spoke about reaching out to employers and having a larger graduate job presence for ALSS students. She is clearly devoted to the welfare of students as well as their academic studies. You can read more about Demi’s plans here:

Ryan Price is a 3rd Year BA Drama student, who was not able to attend the MTC either. HE speaks about wanting everyone’s voices to be heard at the university and to encourage democracy in voting. His policies include cutting the costs of printing, moving graduation to summer and encouraging creative/chill-out zones in the university for each campus. His manifesto can be read in detail here:

The final participant to be running for this position for this year’s Students’ Union is second-year Graphic Design Student Lars Woolnough. The student’s manifesto pinpoints the areas he would focus on changing if he were to be voted as the upcoming Vice President for the ALSS Faculty; Societies, Accessibility of Resources, Mental Health and Teamwork. Woolnough’s speech at the ‘Meet the Candidates’ also discussed Unity at the university and the ways in which he will enforce this in the student community that exists in ARU. His manifesto can be read here:

The evening was filled with close discussions between friends, the layout of the room splitting the rivals apart into teams to discuss their strategies for campaigning, and also giving a moral support to each other in this close election

Candidacy for President of the Student Union

Last but not least, it was time for the candidates running for President to take the centre stage and showcase their individuality and share their personal reasons as to why he or she should be nominated as President of Anglia Ruskin’s Student Union. The six candidates have brought upon a diverse range of matters to the public interest. Kaileb Bryant, Laura Douds, Randolph Fields, Wambui Gitau, Johanna Korhonen and Christopher Manson are the six prospective candidates for this position.

Third-year English Literature student Kaileb Bryant, also a course rep for three years demonstrated her aims and ambitions if she were to become the new representative of the Student Body. Throughout her discussion on stage, Bryant focuses on creating more destress events and hopes to build a stronger relationship between the University and the Student’s Union. She recognizes that students have different needs and for the SU to make more of an effort to connect with harder to reach students. She is on #TeamSUpreme and promotes the slogan, Kaileb Cares. One pledge that she would include that she hasn’t is the idea of student blogs and more involvement of students projects. This is her manifesto:

‘I will encourage and foster pride within our community’, says Laura Douds our current VP representing Science & Technology. Douds’ manifesto touches upon interesting issues such as ‘campaigning for affordable rent prices and investigate other housing issues’, as well as managing events during the Winter Break for students who aren’t able to go back to their homes over the holidays. Mental Health was once again brought the table in her talk at the Academy last Thursday evening stating she will help in making ‘improvements on counselling services’ on campus. She hopes to keep up her campaigning, keep an open ear to part-time student queries and support student societies/community. She also works with many societies and faculty boards at the moment which gives her additional experience for the role. She is also running with the #AllStars Team this election. You can read more about Laura’s plans here:

Randolph Fields, 3rd-year Politics student, Course rep, and National Conference Delegate for ARU describes how if he were to be elected as President, his primary focus would be to empower the future students of this ever-growing university. At the event, he also implied how he would like to create more societies to target all everyone’s tastes and encourage a stronger bond between the SU and Anglia Ruskin University. He suggested there should be more cross-faculty cooperation and use his power as President to influence what happens to students. Randolph is also a National Conference Delegate for ARU. This is his manifesto:

The 4th candidate, as listed on the SU website, Wambui Gitau was not present at the event last Thursday, however, her key focuses are well- illustrated on her manifesto. Gitau aims to ‘collaborate with other universities to create more activities as she feels it could enhance the student experience. She also hopes to work with the university to provide more internships and work placements, organise more course trips and incorporate a Reading Week throughout the semester. Her manifesto can be accessed here:

Christopher Mason is next up on the list of potential candidates, he is currently doing a postgraduate in cybersecurity and has been at ARU for 4 years. Mason spoke about keeping up the university and student union relationship by being friendly, polite and helping to push through policies for the benefit of students. He appears keen to keep pushing for events for students, a potential student bar and stop the top-down filtration of management, whilst working closely with reps. He hopes to increase the productivity of students and making even the smallest voices heard within the university. You can read about Christopher’s plans in his manifesto:

Finally, the last candidate for this role is the current ALSS Vice President Johanna Kohornen. Johanna spoke about her ambitions to carry on successful campaigns as she has done in her current role in the SU, and to keep in touch with students on a regular basis. She previously studied Media Studies for 3 years at ARU. She spoke about wanting to negotiate all submissions to being online, a better-renting guide for students and honour rep help and society pledges. One unique idea is having an SU blog and regular drop-in sessions for students, as well as pushing for inclusivity and efficiency. One pledge she would include that she did not would be more mental health awareness and highlighting the student experience. This is her manifesto in detail:

So with a large number of student and post-graduate candidates for roles across all sectors, it looks to be an exciting week of electing to campaign! Voting opened on Monday 5th March and will close on Friday 9th March. You can read more about the candidates, their personal reasons for running and their manifesto pledges here:

Keep up to date with election coverage on the Ruskin Journal and on the ARU SU website!

A snapshot from our Instagram story about the evening

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Cue.5 Theatre Show

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, written by Tom Stoppard, takes a look at the story of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on their misadventures.

This 50-year-old classic tragedy, feature two minor characters taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet get an ending of their own. Join Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on their journey as the events from Hamlet unfold around them.

It is wonderful to be able to hold student-led performances that include creative collaborations and can be put on at the university theatre with affordable ticket prices! This allows almost anyone to come and see the play, get involved in the arts and try something new while at university.

We spoke to one of the actresses involved in the play about her experience so far:  ‘Acting in this play has given me time away from uni work, and has been a rewarding way of spending my free time’ Hannah Miller, 19, English literature student has said.

Directed, produced and performed by Anglia Ruskin’s Drama Society, Cue.5, this student run play is one that can’t be missed. Bring your all friends to enjoy a wonderful evening supporting the students of ARU in their accomplishments. Check out all the hard work and effort Cue.5 have put in to their interpretation of this unique play on the 9th and 10th of March 2018 at the Covent Garden Drama Studio in Cambridge, where we will join these two gentlemen and many familiar characters on their journey.

The proceeds taken from the event will go to keeping the society up and running, giving opportunity to many students to explore their interest in acting. Cue.5 run workshops every two weeks, on a variety of different aspects of drama and performing arts, including stage combat, costume, and singing.

Tickets can be purchased from the Mumford Theatre website, prices are as below:

Full price: £7.00

Students: £5.00

ARTS Soc members: £3.50

For more information visit the Cue.5 Facebook page or click on the link below.

By Beth Clark

6th March 2018 

Image Credit: CUE.5 ARU Drama Society

Sanjeev Bhaskar Announced as Host For Our Awards Ceremony

By Elle Haywood – Actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar joins a host of industry professionals for this year’s Watersprite International Film Festival on the…

By Elle Haywood

Actor and comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar joins a host of industry professionals for this year’s Watersprite International Film Festival on the 23rd – 25th February 2018. The festival returns to Cambridge this month for its ninth consecutive year. Watersprite is an international film competition and festival that is based in Cambridge, UK, but attracts attention from all around the world. The festival continues to discover, showcase, and nurture emerging talent in the film industry, increasing its global reach of submissions and developing deeper and wider connections within the film industry. It has attracted speakers such as Eddie Redmayne, Olivia Colman, and Lenny Henry to talk at the annual festival.

Almost 2000 submissions from 95 countries about been sent since Watersprite’s inception. Nearly 400 submissions were received for this year’s Film Awards, and 50 nominees will be joining us at the Festival from locations as widespread as Brazil, Israel, all over Europe, the Philippines, and South Africa. The 2018 Festival weekend will include a packed schedule of screenings, talks, and workshops, led by leading professionals in the film and TV industry. All of these events are open to the public for free, giving access to the film industry to all.

Hilary Bevan Jones, Festival Chair and Former BAFTA Chairman says: 
“I am extremely proud to be Chair of Watersprite. The Festival has proved to be a beacon for the best of emerging filmmakers from across the globe, some of whom have never travelled before. An incredibly diverse and cultural mix of film students come together and celebrate in the beautiful city of Cambridge for a weekend packed with inspiration. This includes talks from world-class speakers, workshops, screenings and opportunities to forge new creative partnerships. The quality of films submitted over the years is truly outstanding. Through discovering and championing exceptional talent, Watersprite provides a springboard for the filmmakers of the future to excel in their field and move on from strength to strength.”

The festival’s award ceremony will be held at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, with the awards being supported by the likes of Pinewood Studios, Abby Road Studios, Decca Publishing, Cannes Film Festival, James Bond franchise, AWD 1958 and Watch That Man. With Red Arrows Studio support, the official Filmmaker & New Talent partner nominated filmmakers will be flown to the UK to attend the ceremony.

This is a perfect opportunity for students to get involved in a local film festival, a chance to get stuck into workshops and network with other creative individuals.


With thanks to Will Tilbrook

Image Credit: Watersprite Film Festival