CGCA

» Issue 31: Spring 2002

Revival and renewal

Mustafa Arif (ISE 1999), C&G College Union President, reviews the 2001-2002 academic year

This has been an important year for the Guilds Union. Faced with the challenge of responding to the College's new Faculty structures, as well as the continuing struggle to develop the Union into an organisation meeting the needs and expectations of our members, I think we have made monumental progress.

We started the year with a bang. It was the first time for some years that the Boomalaka had been called at the Start of Session Welcome for freshers in the Great Hall. With the words on a big screen, not only did all the students chant regimentally but the Rector joined in too!

For the second time, the 'Buddies' scheme was run in all C&G departments. Pairing each fresher with a continuing student contact, the scheme built upon the lessons learnt in previous years. Departmental 'buddy lunches' were organised facilitating social cohesion. These were followed up by two inter-departmental continuity events involving team-building activities. The success of the Buddies scheme probably helped to ensure the high attendance at this year's Freshers' Dinner, which was again a sell-out.

CGCU Executive Members

Concentrating on engineering

The Internship Centre has continued to develop and we have now focussed on a new strategy of concentrating on engineering (in its broadest sense). Most of the participants in the scheme are smaller companies, so we are looking to help students log their placement experiences for Chartered Engineer status. The centre is run entirely by unpaid volunteers and I am very grateful to Atul Rana and his team for all their efforts, particularly Richard Tang and Oliver Pell. They need all the help they can get and if you are in a position to offer degree-related summer work to Imperial students, I would encourage you to visit the web site at: http://www.cgcu.net/internships/.

C&G Dep Socs have been active, as ever. Many successfully organised industrial trips and Christmas dinners. Events were held in several departments where CGCA members returned to give a talk on their career experiences. The students attending found these to be extremely beneficial- and more useful than any recruitment officer's sales pitch.

All departments competed in this year's Guilds Football tournament (which this year had to adopt a Champions League style group format to accommodate the large number of teams -over 20 in total). The final was eventually won by Computing 3. Civil Engineering won the interdepartmental sports day at Harlington (the 'Guilds Olympics' organised by an enthusiastic group of first years led by James Arnold). Meanwhile the Mechanicals won the Great Egg Race. Electrical Engineering won our inaugural go-kart motor-racing competition. Guilds Rugby club have been on tour in France, for Europe's largest interuniversity rugby tournament. The summer term will see the Sparkes Cup - which C&G are widely expected to retain.

Return of Morphy Day

There have been no major inter-CCU competitions so far this year, with the exception of RAG Tiddlywinks on Oxford Street -narrowly lost to the Medics! In the Mascotry stakes, the RCSU were so desperate for us to take back Bolt that they raised the ransom money themselves! Spanner remains inviolate. The end of term is also likely to see the return of Morphy Day, which was abolished in the mid- 1980s. Its hoped that a summers' day on the Thames will help draw in a reasonable number of supporters, though it will take some years to build it back up to its glorious past.

This year is, of course, special because of Bo's centenary. Unfortunately Bo' could not take part in the 2001 Lord Mayor's Show but Derrick was present. The 2002 show float will incorporate Bo' as part of its design. In addition to the main celebrations in June, there will be a separate student event centred around a Beit Quad barbecue.

In the following pages, you will read about some of these activities in more detail. You may also keep up-to-date by reading our online publication -Live! Updated almost every day it is the now the most widely read student publication in the University of London. See http://www.live.cgcu.net/.

The solid progress on projects started in previous years was evident during our elections for next year's officers. Turnout, was the highest of any student union election ever held at 28%. This was nearly three times the turnout for the ICU sabbatical elections, and marginally beat the turnout for ICU's recent referendum on NUS affiliation (we voted No, by the way).

The year ahead

As many readers will be aware, the College is adopting a faculty structure. From 1 August 2002, there will be four Faculties for Engineering, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Medicine. The Faculty of Engineering includes all of the C&G engineering departments but also Materials and Earth Resources Engineering, formerly part of the RSM. The Management School will be outside of the faculty structure, but remains loosely linked with the Engineering Faculty (and will remain under the remit of the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering).

With the shift in power structures in the College, it makes no sense for the student union to retain a parallel structure. The Constituent College Unions will be abolished and replaced with four Faculty Student Associations (FSAs). The elections referred to were for the Engineering FSA, that will continue the work of the Guilds Union and incorporate elements of the Royal School of Mines Union (although an RSM social and clubs committee will continue, it will not be a 'union').

CGCA must open its doors

CGCA needs to grasp the reality of the situation, that from I August 2002, the City & Guilds College Union will be no more. In order to ensure future recruitment, the Association must align itself with Imperial's new Faculty of Engineering. The Engineering FSA will not be able to maintain as close relationship with the CGCA as the Guilds Union does at present, unless the CGCA opens its doors to all of the students within the FSA. To delay in this change would merely result in students and alumni drifting away from each other. The CGCA needs to work with the RSMA to resolve this.

And for those of you worried about tradition, you may be interested to learn that as part of our elections we had an 'election' to decide the name of our new Engineering FSA. Out of several proposed names, the students of the Faculty of Engineering voted overwhelmingly for "City & Guilds College Union" - sparing me from the dubious honour of being the last Guilds President.

Given this vote of confidence in C&G from the student body, I sincerely hope that the CGCA can follow our leadership. If we want the Guilds traditions to survive, they must be adapted to meet the reality of Imperial College, and its Faculty of Engineering, in the 21st century.

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