Hey Neighbour

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You’ve had a wild house warming party, one of your housemates has puked out the window and another has surfed down the stairs on the back of a wardrobe. No one was hurt and it was unreal craic. However, the next morning you have a man in a suit knocking on your door telling you that you’ve been reported for a noise complaint and that you have to come in to meet with the Head of Communications and External Affairs the following week. Unbeknownst to you is that next door  is a family with young children who couldn’t sleep because your mate sounded like Godzilla while vomiting. This is an all too familiar tale over Freshers’ – my mate did in fact surf down his stairs on the back of wardrobe a few years ago (a story for another day) but it sets a terrible precedent for the rest of year because your  neighbours will now be hyper-sensitive to any noise you make, even if it’s only having a few of your friends round for a couple of drinks. 

Thus sums up the age-old problem that students and residents alike have faced over the past couple of years, we aren’t aware of our surroundings and who our neighbours are. I have no doubt that if students were aware of who lived next door to them that we’d all be a bit more considerate… we do in fact have souls as well as damaged livers.

I want to change this.

Through the introduction of  my ‘Hey Neighbour’ campaign, I would like to combat the stigma attached to students in South Belfast – we can combat this through positive action and by highlighting all the great work that Queen’s students do. In my role as Student Officer Community,  I attend all Resident Association meetings where I sing your praises and highlight all the fantastic work you do; but I am only one woman and I need your help. After all, you’re all great and we all know it – so let’s shout about it!

As part of the ‘Hey Neighbour’ campaign I’d like to introduce a number of initiatives, one of which will be ‘Student Street Reps’. There will be a number of Street Reps for each key area of South Belfast:

 

  • Holylands
  • Stranmillis
  • Botanic
  • Lisburn Road
  • Malone Road
  • Eglantine

 

The purpose of these Reps  is first and foremost to be an initial point of contact for both students and residents; they will liaise with me to resolve any issues as quickly as possible.

It’s often forgotten that students also face problems whilst living in private accommodation and it is not solely the residents who have issues. These reps are here to listen to you.

As part of the Street Rep scheme we can also implement wider community change, particularly with regards to the environment. Waste management is one of the biggest problems in South Belfast and I believe through students volunteering a bit of their time to help manage key ‘hotspot’ areas where litter is a serious problem, it will send a positive message to the wider community.

Furthermore, through the ‘Hey Neighbour’ scheme, a student equivalent to Resident Association meetings could be set up whereby students could come together across the South Belfast community and discuss issues that they may be facing – it would also enable students to meet peers from different areas and to compare living standards and landlord problems.

This campaign is something that can be expanded and built upon and I want to empower students to organise and lead their own community events – Student Reps will be trained in areas such as mediation and management and their commitment will be recognised by the Union and the wider university area through the Volunteering Excellency Awards and Millenium Volunteers.

Please apply to become a Street Rep for your area by clicking here. Make sure to email it to volunteer@qub.ac.uk by Friday 7 November.  If you have any questions, please get in touch by emailing me on su.vpcommunity@qub.ac.uk.

Looking forward to meeting my new Street Reps!

CHLOE

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