Air Your Dirty Laundry…

Sexy Time

So this week has been our QUB Sexy Time week, just in case you hadn’t noticed! So far we have had workshops on different types of sexuality, pleasure and consent. We have also had our ‘Condom Fairies’ out in force as well as a hilarious Take Me Out hosted by RAG.

To finish off we have a few more events for you, one of which is bound to pique your interest…

1. Our Sexy Quiz  – Bar Sub – 8pm

We’re working with Sexpression to host their annual pub quiz on all things sexy, sexed-up and in general sex related!

Prizes include:

  • 1st Place – A basket of sex toys
  • 2nd Place – A slightly smaller basket of sex toys
  • 3rd Place – You guessed it… more sex toys!

On the night we shall have a ‘guess the number of condoms in the bucket’ competition! So come on down for a night of banter and sexiness!

sex quiz

2. Air Your Dirty Laundry Exhibition – Enterprise SU – 11am – 4pm

You may have seen a massive post box emblazoned with ‘QUB Sexy Time’ about campus in the past week, we asked you to share with us your most embarrassing sex stories and boy did you share…

Come along to our exhibition where we will be displaying these stories on a clothesline with some choice Bridget Jonesesque pants.

You either find out you weren’t the only one for that to happen to or you’ll get a good laugh out of the stories shared.

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3. Sex Magician – The Lounge – 1pm

Yes you did read that correctly, an actual sex Magician.

Come along on your lunch time to see a magic show with a cheeky difference!

Expect some hocus pocus, talk about sex and STI’s, jokes about wands and of course a whole lot of audience participation…

Magician

4. Sex Bomb: Exploding Misconceptions – The Space – 7pm

Christians and sex don’t usually go together… or so you might think.

The QUB Christian Medical Fellowship with the help of their guest speaker, Rev. Trevor Johnston will be looking at sex from a Christian perspective.

They’ll be busting some common myths about how Christians really view sex, as well as challenging our very concept of sex in a 21st century world.

This workshop is open to Christians, atheists and everyone in between, so why not go along and join the discussion?

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5. Netflix and Chill

It’s the end of our campaign and we’re looking to ‘Netflix and Chill’ with you in The Lounge.

Come along and relax on a beanbag and watch some classics to wind down after a hectic week.

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We hope you keep it safe and sexy this week and enjoy yourselves!

Chloe x

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Bogs for All – Gender Neutral Toilets Across Campus

BOGS FOR ALL

Last year Student Council passed a motion to look into the feasibility of introducing Gender Neutral Toilets in the Students’ Union, and when I started in this role in July this was one of my top priorities. I was determined that we’d bring about the necessary changes in our Union to start dismantling gender norms, raising the visibility of Trans* and non-binary students, and begin to create an inclusive environment for everyone.

Last week the Students’ Union put up our first ‘Gender Neutral’ sign on a toilet door. While it just replaced a disability symbol on the door of a single occupancy toilet, after conversations with Trans* students I realised that even small but significant steps like this are appreciated. You see, our ‘male’ and ‘female’ toilets on the Ground Floor just aren’t suitable to be changed overnight. The lack of privacy in these toilets creates issues around safety, and would only cause further anxiety for vulnerable students. But I am committed to changing this.

Many of you might be wondering what the benefits of gender neutral toilets are? For Trans* people they breakdown the gender normative ‘male’ and ‘female’, recognising that gender is fluid and that there is a diverse spectrum of gender identity. Gender norms have reinforced what a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ are supposed to look like, act like, how they dress, walk, speak, and even what roles they play in society. Trans* people often face barriers as the result of these norms. They just don’t fit into such perceptions. But it is not their identities that don’t fit in. Gender norms do not fit into our common humanity, nor do they embrace the diversity of our student population. So we need to do something about it.

Gender neutral toilets are just the beginning. Currently our Ground Floor toilets are painted two bright colours. Can you guess which colours? Believe it or not, the male toilets are blue, and the female toilets are pink. A perfect example of gender normativity. I was assigned the sex of ‘male’ at birth, and I identify as a man. Therefore I am cisgender. But I like pink too, so screw gender normativity.

Designated toilets for men and women create a dilemma for Trans* people. Imagine having to think about which toilet to walk into? Take into account that you may not be safe, you may get funny looks, or even comments. “You shouldn’t be in here.” Often Trans* people will choose not to go to the toilet, instead ‘holding it in’. This causes often severe health problems. By creating toilets that are welcoming to all people, we remove that initial barrier that causes so much anxiety and deliberation.

Gender neutral facilities can also be very positive for everyone, including cisgender men and women. Gay men, viewed as ‘effeminate’, often face bullying, harassment, and physical violence in toilets, while lesbians can also face similar violence and abuse in the women’s bathrooms. By removing designated toilets in communal areas we can begin to foster a greater respect for different identities.

Gender neutral toilets should be the norm, but gender-designated bathrooms are fine too. Some women may not want to share toilet facilities with men, and vice versa. And that’s absolutely fine. Having spoken to many people about their experiences’ on other university campuses, I quickly realised that gender neutral provision in communal and busy areas should be the accepted norm, but that gender designated toilets should be signposted on other floors. I’d like to see this happen in the Union.

But, it shouldn’t just be the Union.

If a Trans* person needs the bathroom, they aren’t going to walk from the MBC or the Ashby just to use the Students’ Union’s facilities. They may choose to do that in order to avoid entering a toilet that they don’t feel comfortable or welcome in, but they shouldn’t have to. This is why I have launched ‘Bogs for All’. Over the next few weeks I aim to talk to Estates, senior management, and to every School about how we go about providing gender neutral toilets in as many of the 220 buildings on our campus as possible.

Queen’s must begin to embrace the concept of gender neutral toilets and recognise in all aspects of our work that gender is a wonderful spectrum. I believe that we can achieve a lot in the coming months, and we will never look back.

That’s where you come in. If you want to get involved with the campaign to bring about gender neutral toilets on campus, or even if you have some suggestions as to where they could be introduced, I want you to get in contact! You’ll find all my contact details here.

I went on a journey of learning and discovery when I started to approach issues of Trans* visibility, healthcare, and rights. I want you all to join me on that journey. We won’t always get it right, and it won’t always be easy to make lasting change. But for the sake of all our staff, students, and for our society, we need to start somewhere. I believe QUB can be a leader. After all, this is a place of leadership, education, and progress.

This campaign means a lot to our non-binary students on campus, who have been a huge support to me in the course of my time in the Union. I hope when I walk out the door at the end of my term that Queen’s will be a more inclusive place for them to study, achieve, learn, and make a difference.

Thanks!
Oisín

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Guest Blog – Vicky Potts from Ivea Labs gives us her top 5 Dragons’ Den Moments

Thinking about entering QUB Dragons’ Den this semester? Vicky Potts one of last year’s finalists gives us her top 5 Dragons’ Den moments.

1)    Pitching in an authentic Dragons’ Den on camera  – a terrifying but exhilarating experience.

DD Den

2)    Learning how to answer the “So What?”question – everyone has an idea that they think is great but taking part in Dragons’ Den taught us how to succinctly answer what sets our idea apart from the rest.

3)    Establishing a network of contacts who we can call upon for advice along the way.

4)    Going on to win €10,000 in the Ireland Funds Business Plan competition down in Dublin just two months later. Enterprise SU advised and supported us through the application process and we used all that we had learnt from the Dragons’ Den programme to restructure how we presented our idea.

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5)    Getting out first customer – ok this didn’t happen JUST because of Dragons’ Den but it definitely gave us the confidence to move forward with our idea.

QUB Dragons’ Den 2016 is now open for applications – find out more and apply herehttp://www.qubsu.org/EnterpriseSU/Opportunities/DragonsDen/

 

 

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Tips to help you survive exams!

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In the next two weeks all of you will be going through the dreaded exam period – it’s never an easy time for any student whether you are a first or final year. So we have put together 6 top tips for minimising stress levels and making revision a little less painful.

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1)    Use your hands – to take notes of course 😉

When you’re revising, don’t just read, make notes as well. Sitting there, passively flicking through pages is a bit like self-hypnosis; after a while, you just tune out. Making notes is a positive act of fact-selection.

 

2)    Rediscover the rainbow

Colour coding is a huge help when it comes to collecting your thoughts when revising or use them during a break from revising to relax your mind and do some colouring in! We will be providing colouring in books at Are Ye Well every night in the Library over the exam period.

Summarizing-before-an-exam…

 

3)    Give yourself a break

At least 10 minutes every hour. And don’t do more than three hours at a time; the brain can’t take it. Take a break and join us at one of our yoga sessions in the Library or get your blood pumping in a self-defence class – find out more here.

 

4)    Go to sleep and eat proper food

Not over the desk you now call home in the Library, but in your actual bed, in your bedroom – you remember that right – it’s the room that isn’t the Library. If your mind is working overtime try drifting off to your favourite soothing music or even a podcast. Make sure you are drinking enough water and not binging on coffee during the exams. Chip Co and Dominos do not count as your 5-a-day.

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5)    Tell them nothing

Your coursemates, that is. Before the exam begins, try to keep your mind focused on the six things you’ve got to remember about that topic rather than chatting to your friends about what you don’t know!!! And after the exam is over, don’t stand around comparing notes about how you all did. It will only depress you to realise that you’ve turned two pages at once and missed an entire question out.

 

6)    Remember to breathe

You’ve spent the last two weeks breathing in the reused air of 22,000 other students all cramming in the Library – it’s time to get some real air into those lungs and ensure your brain receives the maximum level of oxygen to the brain. Sit down and take six deep breaths in in through the nose and out through the mouth. Imagine you’re inhaling knowledge and expelling doubt. Then pick up your pen and show them how it’s done!!

Good luck and remember…

drseussyouhavebrainsinyourhead

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Guest Blog – How it feels to be a GB student at QUB

SWAG

Before getting into the theme of my piece just thought I would introduce myself. My name 11698644_10205802771281195_3928137079234401161_nis Ethan McLaughlin and I am a final year student, studying International Politics and Conflict Studies. I am looking forward to graduating and leaving, before I touch on my experience as a “GB” student at Queens I just thought I wanted to briefly explain the question I continue to get to this day, from students from here. Why Queens? Alas, it’s pretty simple, my dad is from Derry and being here not only sounded good to me, but I loved the place when I visited.  My course is fantastic.

 1)      Adjusting to first semester/ meeting Northern Irish friends

Being a GB student comes with many things it takes some time to get to grips with. The major adjustment was getting to grips with weekends, but being fortune enough I was in elms. But if I did not have people round me at all times that would have been difficult to get by through those times when I had little to do and not knowing where to go. Before I came I don’t think I really appreciated the difference between being a “GB” student and a Northern Ireland student, I really don’t see or associate as being different to Northern Irish students around me.  But there are some.

2)      Getting into the swing of things

Firstly there is a strange realisation of being a student in your own country but not quite feeling at home, thankfully this was never something I had to comprehend. But I know of people and have talked to many potential students on behalf of the university where this issue has been the main factor keeping them of Queens.  Also it was extremely difficult to get to grips with the fact a lot of the NI people you got to know, still hang out with their school friends and for me, it was difficult to break into those circles. As a result many of my closest friends unfortunately are fellow GB students who like me, got involved in societies looking to get to know people.

3)      Going home

One of the biggest adjustments has been how to deal with going home and being around people who aren’t living in the community you are. I still remember my friend’s faces when I mentioned my first Christmas that we had, had five bomb threat and that that was not a big thing. Going home, you also appreciate how far you have come as a person. This was the case especially in my second year where I really had to appreciate the fact that my parents couldn’t just pop over when I had a problem and I had to deal with the problems myself. Whilst I never normally like to think about the distance, there have been many times when home has felt very far away.  Problems ranging from getting dumped to trying to find a new home, there have been many. But I would say that is part of the growing up process and what university is all about.

4)      Why I love this university and why I love being able to promote it

But before I get too doom and gloom, I want to highlight why, despite the difficult time, why I love this university. Firstly the strong community thanks to the support of the Uni, but also because we are all learning together. As I sadly come to the end of my time here, I could not have made a better decision. This university and the people I have met here have given me an amazing experience that I am grateful for.  But for all of my Northern Irish colleagues, in the lower years please remember that your flat mate, your course friend might be feeling really alone at times and to just check up every now and then. We will be grateful.

 

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Guest Blog – The Trouble With Erasmus

 

SWAG

Over the next couple of weeks, members of the Student Welfare Action Group will be writing a number of welfare-related guest blogs, first up is Torrie McAfee a final year languages student who writes about the troubles she first has on her year abroad.

Torrie

In the first two years of my degree leading up to my year abroad, I was constantly told it would be the best year of my life, I wouldn’t want to return and I’d be infected with wanderlust for the rest of my life. Although I can confidently say that it was an unforgettable experience with incredible memories and wonderful travels, I can’t help but feel that the slightly more unpleasant aspects of Erasmus need to be acknowledged. Honestly, I feel like I’m committing some sort of horrific crime admitting this, but there were stages in the first few months of my placement that I really wanted to quit and come home! Erasmus information evenings are filled with anecdotes of days spent on the beach, evenings enjoying the local nightlife and weekends travelling to fantastic cities and exciting countries that are ‘must-sees’ during a Year Abroad. It’s marketed as a year filled with unlimited travel and parties, with the promise of becoming virtually fluent in the target language. However, I feel that this is very much the glorified, brochure view of what it’s really like to spend time living abroad. I’ve described the three main issues that I (and many others) came up against in the initial months: boredom, module problems, and local attitudes.

Although I was lucky enough to only experience minor bouts of homesickness in the first few weeks, nothing could have prepared me for the excruciating boredom I felt. Being an Erasmus student, I chose a selection of modules from a variety of degrees with the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and as a result had gaping three or four hour gaps in my timetable. This meant that I spent a lot of time waiting around, either in my apartment or on campus, for classes. Weekends in Alicante were good, but like in Belfast the majority of students returned home meaning that I was left with an empty flat (not ideal when most of your friends and the city centre were a 25 minute tram journey away). Realistically, you can’t travel around Europe every single weekend, or go out 4 or 5 times a week to Erasmus parties (which admittedly, are as good as they’re made out to be). After getting to know the city better we found a lot more to do, and during the good hot months I really could have spent endless time on the beach, but I won’t lie; boredom is a very real part of Erasmus life.

Probably one of the most frustrating aspects of university life was the inefficient administration and tutors not being overly welcome to international students. We were responsible for choosing our classes and building our own timetable, which is made all the more difficult when you are told to leave a class unless you have a near-native level of Spanish! At times, I found myself wishing for the friendly QUB staff and the comforting familiarity of University Square. Also, classes in Spain are cancelled more than they are on, which sounds fantastic but unfortunately no one feels it’s necessary to let you know in advance. There’s only so many empty classrooms you can turn up to without wanting to explode!

I fully expected a bit of an issue with a language barrier, especially as I only started learning Spanish 2 years before my Erasmus, but I didn’t expect to be met with such hostility when my language skills were less-than-perfect. Of course this quickly disappeared as I got more accustomed to living in Spain, but I’ll never forget being an absolute bag of nerves trying to explain to a shop assistant that I couldn’t find the toilet roll. I’m aware that I probably have a distinctive accent when I speak Spanish, and it’s certainly obvious that I’m a native English speaker, but it’s certainly disheartening to hear locals complain (not realising I could understand) about not being able to speak their language fluently.

My year in Spain was incredible, but I’d be lying if I said that every day was incredible. The bad days quickly became few and far between (and when it came close to leaving they were virtually non-existent), but at the beginning it often seemed like an impossible challenge. After having come out the other end alive, I would happily recommend studying abroad to anyone, just be prepared for a few teething problems along the way!

 

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Hi. My name is Sally Bridge and I am based in Borrower Services in the McClay Library, managing the wonderful team of people who work at the desk on the ground floor.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is my role as Library Services Disability Liaison Officer. Through this I get to work with Disability Services to provide the best possible Library experience for students with disabilities. As I have rheumatoid arthritis myself, I know all too well how important this is. I have been working really hard over the last few years to make this a fabulous place to study whatever your disability. A recent survey showed that 96% of students with disabilities were happy with the Library.

Here are a few things that may help with your studies:
• If you are unsure of how to use the Library, I can give you a short induction session with a brief tour of the library. The tour can be tailored to your disability.
• Staff can fetch books from the shelves
• Depending on your disability, we may be able to get electronic copies of books if we only hold the paper copy.
• You may also be eligible for a short extension on ‘2 night loan’ books so that, when you take these books out, you will get them for 3 nights instead.
• If you need to work regularly with your Disability Support Provider, they can arrange to book a McClay Library Group Study Room for the same time each week for the whole semester.
• There are height adjustable desks on each floor of the McClay Library and a low level self-issue terminal too.
• We have a high-vis keyboard which you can borrow

Finally, each student computer has assistive software to help you study. Click on the red button on the desktop for ZoomText,  MindView and Read & Write Gold. If you would need any help with these please let me know.

Each Library Branch has one member of staff who is responsible for helping students with disabilities. Here are my contact details and those of the others who can help elsewhere:

The McClay Library
Sally Bridge (Disability Co-ordinator)
Tel: 028 9097 6145
Email: s.bridge@qub.ac.uk

Medical Library
Anne Marsh
Tel: 028 9097 8911
Email: a.marsh@qub.ac.uk

Biomedical Library
Brenda Allen
Tel: 028 9097 2717
Email: b.a.allen@qub.ac.uk

Looking forward to seeing you all in the Library soon
Best wishes
Sally

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Disability Awareness Week – Guest Blog


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Hi everyone,

This week we’re launching our Disability Awareness Week.

As your Disabled Students’ Officer, I’m delighted to see campaigns like this taking off. This week aims to raise awareness of the broad spectrum of disabilities, help you learn skills that make society more accessible for everyone and give students an opportunity to voice their opinion on how things in the University could improve for the better.

From Introductory Sign Language Classes, My Guide Training and a Sensory Experience to a Disability Round-Table Discussion, have a look at What’s On.

We are also running a survey, both online and around campus, for all students to take part in to feedback on issues of disability and support on campus.

Although this awareness campaign is for a week it’s my goal to continue this work. If you have any queries, concerns, suggestions or ideas, I would love to have a chat with you. This can be about anything – perhaps you’re struggling, you think that the University can support disabled students better or you have received support that you feel could apply to even more students. Please just drop me a message!

All the best,
Stephen 🙂
su.disabled@qub.ac.uk

DISABLED LARGE

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What does sexual consent meant to you – join us at the QFT for a free screening and discussion of the award winning Hunting Ground

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Next week on Wednesday 2nd December from 2:00pm – 4:30pm the School of Sociology, Social Work and Social Policy and Nexus NI are hosting a viewing of the critically acclaimed documentary, The Hunting Ground in the QFT. The event is entirely free for students and afterwards I will be sitting on a panel alongside representatives from the University and Nexus to discuss sexual violence on QUB and what can be done to address it.

For anyone who doesn’t know what the film is about, The Hunting Ground presents multiple students who allege that they were sexually assaulted at their college campuses, and that college officials either ignored them or required them to navigate a complex academic bureaucracy to have their claims addressed. The film implies that many college officials were more concerned with minimizing rape statistics for their universities than with the welfare of the students.

The screening is part of the wider campaign of the SU to address issues of consent and sexual violence on campus and it is something I made a personal promise to do in my year of office. If I asked the average student on the street what consent meant to them, it would be incredibly interested in what they say often it seems that for students it’s not clear cut and is a grey area for many. This is because of how society depicts our sexual and romantic relations, take the infamous Blurred Lines song which was banned in our SU a number of years ago.With lyrics like ‘You know you want it’ many Unions across the country took the step to ban it. In other songs such as Nick Jonas’ “Jealous”, which is everywhere, the same vile sentiments are expressed:

“I wish you didn’t have to post it out
I wish you’d save a little bit just for me
Protective or possessive, yeah
Call it passive or aggressive”

The sense of ownership and entitlement in these lyrics creates a worrying attitude that people are owned by their partners. And consent isn’t only restricted to bedrooms, it should also apply on the street, public transport and pubs/clubs. When you grab someone in a sexual way on the dance floor because you think it’s going to get you the shift – that’s sexual assaultApproaching someone on the street because you fancy them and being a little too persistent is harassment. 

To my students who have been harassed, physically/verbally assaulted; firstly I want to say that it makes me incredibly angry that something like this has happened to you. It makes me incredibly angry that society continually fails in its duty to teach us that we cannot do things like this to each other. But I want you to know that there are services out there for you, to take care of you and to look after you. We as a Students’ Union hope to make these a lot more visible over the next year.

If you would like to get yourself a ticket to the screening then please click on the eventbrite link – they are going fast so get one soon!

Hope to see lots of you there,

Cx

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Inspiring Leaders

Leaders come in many shapes and sizes, and leadership itself can mean many things to different people. Throughout your time here at University you will see leadership in many forms – whether it’s the Vice-Chancellor leading the University, your lecturer leading your class, or your class mate leading a club or society. We all have our own favourite leaders who we believe display certain characteristics which we feel makes them a leader.

You don’t have to wear a suit or have a loud voice to be a leader though! The best way you can learn, develop, and/or improve your leadership skills is simply through practice and getting involved.

Volunteer SU, the volunteering department of the Students’ Union, have developed a programme called ‘Inspiring Leaders’ which is supported by the William J. Clinton Leadership Institute and Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen’s.

Are you a volunteer in a position of leadership, like a Club or Society Committee Member, School or Course Rep, Student Councillor, Youth Leader, or Sports Coach?

Inspiring Leaders can help you to:

  • Increase understanding of yourself as a leader
  • Enhance your personal development
  • Strengthen your leadership skills
  • Value the benefit derived from your volunteering
  • Translate your leadership and volunteering experiences into employability skills.

Download the application form below and apply by 5pm, Friday 23 October. If you have any queries get in touch with inspiringleaders@qub.ac.uk

Inspiring Leaders Application Pack 2015/16

“If your actions inspire others to do dream more, learn more, do more and become more – you are a leader.”

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PAUL

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