Epigram Editorial: New Beginnings

So, this year somebody was crazy enough to put me in charge of the student newspaper, Epigram. It’s certainly going to be a challenge – already it feels like I’m doing a full time job as well as a degree, but I’m really excited now that term’s started to get going properly. Each fortnight, I’ll be writing an editorial, which I’m going to share on here too. Here’s my first! (no pressure then..)

Welcome to the University of Bristol – or welcome back for all you oldies. It’s an exciting place to be a student; this vibrant city provides the perfect backdrop to academic studies.

In fact, for many of us, it’s the city which makes our time here so special – because Bristol is more than just the University, and student life is more than just the Union.

Sometimes as students we have a tendency to focus our lives around the precinct, Whiteladies Road and the Triangle – I know that I did in my first two terms here. It is my hope that in this coming year Epigram draws attention to the variety on offer in the city, and encourages students to step out of their comfort zones.

We’ve made a few changes over the summer to help achieve this aim, one of which is broadening our What’s On section, which is going to be launched online.

It’s the city which makes our time here so special – because Bristol is more than just the University, and student life is more than just the Union

In a similar vein, we’ve redesigned e2 to make it more accessible and less chaotic. Part of this redesign includes the introduction of a new Food section, which builds upon one of our Instagram accounts, Epigram_Eats_Out, to bring you the best deals in Bristol and tips on affordable recipes and shopping. We hope you like it!

But what makes Epigram so exciting to be a part of is not simply the culture or e2 sections, but the way that these aspects of our website and paper sit alongside the more serious sections, to produce a truly unique student focused publication.

We are, after all, the primary provider of University of Bristol student news, and as such we fulfil an important role in scrutinising both the Union and University.

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Join us at our next coffee afternoon – all readers and writers are welcome!

Epigram will be building upon the strong precedent we set ourselves last year, when we had 14 stories picked up by national newspapers, and submitted more Freedom of Information requests to the University and other public bodies than ever before.

We are, after all, the primary provider of University of Bristol student news, and as such we fulfil an important role in scrutinising both the Union and University.

We shone a light on the rape culture in Bristol; supported dismissed lecturer Alison Hayman in her battle against the University; and reported on high levels of student dissatisfaction – resulting in the hugely successful ‘Question Time’-style debate with prominent members of the University, which will happen again this year.

Last year, accommodation was also a significant issue which Epigram kept coming back to – in fact, if you look back through 27 years of our history, it is clear that accommodation is a long term and recurring issue.

It’s interesting, therefore, that we start the year with yet another problem with student accommodation – although this time it’s not really due to the University.

Related: Students face ‘Housing Crisis’

Nonetheless, it is worrying that over a third of students would not recommend Bristol based on their experiences in the private rented sector, and that many rents are increasing whilst standards fall.

It’s an issue that we will undoubtedly be coming back to, and not one that has an easy answer. It is encouraging to see that the Union are planning to help students more in the face of dodgy letting agencies and poor quality landlords.

Another key story in the news this fortnight is our exclusive interview with Professor Hugh Brady, the University’s new Vice Chancellor.

It will be exciting and interesting to see how Professor Brady changes and develops the University, and I hope he fulfills his promise to include and listen to students before he enacts big changes.

Epigram is your student newspaper, and as such we want to hear your views on issues which affect you. Whether that’s writing an article for the paper, or simply tweeting us or commenting on a story online, please get involved! Contrary to popular belief, it’s never been easier to be a part of Epigram.

 

If you are interested in contributing please come along to one of our writers meetings, or simply join a section on Facebook – where most editors will be active this year.

You need no previous experience, just enthusiasm! It’s certainly all I had when I began.

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