Our Editors-in-Chief welcome back students, old and new, and call on the University for more transparency this academic year
The time has finally come for Freshers to flood back onto Gilmorehill, and here at The Glasgow Guardian, we couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of things. For those students arriving in Glasgow (or Paisley…!) for the first time, we encourage you to make the most of your first year, to join different societies and sleep-in-late, to try a new sport, meet new people, and celebrate all the little milestones you will reach this year. Your first year will allow for so much growth and change – and, at the risk of sounding like the Shreddies grannies, do not take it for granted. For returning students, this year is one for making up for lost time, with many of us having lost at least a year of our time at University to the pandemic. As we embrace a new way of living and learning, we should do so with as much enthusiasm as we can muster. Now is the time to take all those opportunities you avoided out of fear in first year: carpe diem!
A lot has changed since classes were last in-person, not least in the realm of learning and teaching. To say that attending University online had its trials would be a huge understatement, but it also allowed for the development of more accessible and inclusive teaching practices we are pleased to see will remain in place this year. For more about the future of blended learning at the University, please read our interview with the Vice Principal for Learning and Teaching.
Perhaps most excitingly, this year will see the return of more traditional Freshers’ Week events, and social activities. Our Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) have expanded the traditional Freshers’ Week under the banner of UofG Welcome. Both the Queen Margaret Union (QMU) and the Glasgow University Union (GUU) will be functioning as near to full capacity as possible, putting aside their historical differences to collaborate on a Freshers’ Week for the ages, an absolute win for cross-campus relations. We are encouraged to see our four unions working closely to foster an inclusive and welcoming environment, and can only hope that the University chooses to do the same.
Here at The Glasgow Guardian, we remain unapologetically on the side of students and are committed to holding the University to account. We are calling on the University of Glasgow for more transparency, accountability, and inclusivity this year, asking that they remain committed to student welfare in all their dealings. After a tumultuous year like the last one – with a lack of financial and welfare support for students isolating in halls; the infamous Murano 12 disaster; the harrowing report on racism at the University of Glasgow; and the start of the University’s #MeToo movement with petitions to improve Kelvin Way’s street lighting, mass testimonial regarding safety on campus, and The Glasgow Guardian‘s investigations into sexual assault – we need to ensure that students feel both safe and supported throughout such a pivotal time.
Whilst Glasgow looks forward to a fresh influx of new faces, and the SRC’s UofG Welcome events are in full swing, we appreciate that it may be hard for students to actually feel welcome when their accommodation for the year is up in the air, maybe being housed further afield due to oversubscription to University halls, or perhaps not yet even having found a flat for the year at all. At the best of times, university is a whirlwind of ups and downs, highs and lows, and for the majority, one of the most life-changing experiences imaginable. But at its worst, university life can see you lost and lonely, helpless and distraught; afraid to speak up about obstacles you face because the system that’s in place to protect you would rather protect itself.
The University of Glasgow welcomes World Changers, but that world changing must commence on campus.