The bathimpact team are often teased for caring too much about what goes into our columns. We get it – it’s a ‘small’ student newspaper and not surprisingly, committees year in and year out tackle low readership and exposure. However, the past issue on the accommodation crisis has re-affirmed our faith in what we do. The response has been immense and it has shown us how much can be achieved when we work together.
When the new editorial team met a few months ago, we set out our vague goals for the paper this year – one big agreement was to increase student-related news in the paper. By covering topics more relevant to you – our student readers. Our last issue included a whole range of articles – from news, stats, comments and editorials on the ‘Accommodation Crisis’ right here in our uni halls.
The readership response was incredible; the articles online smashed previous viewing records and our newspaper bins on campus ran out every day. The open letters by the VC and SU President were shared for weeks and your comments echoed in our tiny office.. BBC Points West got in touch with us for a follow- up on the situation. As many of you have seen, SU President Jordan Kenny was interviewed and was joined by some of the students to recount their accommodation woes. (We know – BBC reads bathimpact, O-M-G!)
At the end of the day we are all students. We gather content, edit, write, and lay up. We enjoy and hate exactly what angers and makes you happy – so we understood that more needed to be done. Last Thursday, we went along to the University Council meeting – the highest governing body in the University – to hand out copies of our issue (just in case the Council Members were the only people on the planet not to read bathimpact) as well as a letter full of quotes that had been collected from seventy- three students to drive this important issue home. Quotes included how students in the accommodation crisis felt de-prioritised by the University and also mentioned other over-capacity issues, such as lack of study space and eating areas – and of course, bus agony comments were included.
What now? The next step is for the University to undertake any measures to tackle the housing situation. From the VC’s Open Letter we can expect some sort of cooperation with Bath Spa and private investors to alleviate the lack of housing for students. As soon as the decision falls, you can be sure bathimpact will be the first to let you know. We have a follow-up issue planned for sometime in January once freshers start applying for second year housing – another known crisis for all Bath students. Watch this space for any University decision, or more likely, a void of one.
We are not the SU; we cannot make promises of any better future. We can however, identify what the pros and cons are from our student experience and put them on loudspeaker. That’s what a newspaper should be after all; a way to voice concerns or praise through a sort of symbolic megaphone. By commenting, sharing, tweeting and for some you even writing! You help our editorial team put our student news out there in black & white on printed paper.