Student news round-up: Nottingham thanks fire service for tackling chemistry building inferno


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Nottingham thanks fire service for tackling chemistry building inferno

The University of Nottingham has presented a special award to the firefighters who tackled the huge blaze when its chemistry building burned down, Impact reports.

The multi-million pound building on the university's Jubilee Campus was under construction when it caught fire in September 2014 as a result of an electrical fault. Around 60 firefighters were needed to contain the flames.

Now, in a special ceremony, the Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service has been presented with the first ever Chancellor's Award, which recognises "outstanding contributions made by individuals and external organisations to the success of the university".

Deputy chief fire officer Wayne Bowcock, who received the award, said: "It’s a great honour to receive this on behalf of the Service... It was a big team effort and it’s great that the University has recognised that."

Dr Paul Greatrix, the university registrar, said: "We would like to show our appreciation to the Fire Service and its employees for their exceptional response to the fire and for helping to prevent the loss of any other buildings and ensuring no loss of life."

UCL union cancels G4S contract over human rights record

The University College London students' union has voted not to renew its contract with G4S because of what they believe are "atrocious human rights abuses", according to The London Tab.

The security company, which currently handles cash for the union, was criticised by UCLU for its involvement in Israeli prisons and at Guantanamo Bay. The union council then unanimously voted not to keep working with the company once its contract ends in July.

Taif Alkhudary, who tabled the motion, said: "G4S is infamous for its involvement in human rights violations across the world... The costs of the change would be minimal."

Student activists learn from Syriza youth wing

Around 20 student sabbatical officers and activists travelled to Greece last month to meet members of Syriza Youth, The Mancunion reports.

Harriet Pugh, the education officer for the Manchester students' union, was part of the group that visited the youth organisation of the far left party that has since won power in the country's elections. She said that she went "to see what [we] could learn about their political success".

She continued: "[One] thing that struck me was how much the party’s campaign was focused around young people; Tsipras, the party leader, gave his election speech at a university in Athens. The stance of Syriza has a clear influence from its young members, with policy for gay marriage, against discrimination in all forms, an end to police brutality, [and] free education."

Cambridge Union to erect "protester barricade"

A £4.5 million refurbishment of the Cambridge Union debating society building will see the addition of an eight-foot security fence, according to The Cambridge Student and The Cambridge Tab.

Funds raised by the leasing of land to Trinity College will see the Union create a "secure car park", featuring high railings and a sliding iron gate, and a VIP entrance away from the main street. The society also intends to spend money on repairs and new bar and cafe areas.

The plans were announced following a number of protests over controversial guest speakers.

Kingston student to run 2015 miles for charity

A second year fine art student at Kingston University is planning to run 2,015 miles this year to raise £2,015 for the homeless charity Shelter, River Online reports.

Chris Else began the challenge, which will work out at five and a half miles every day, on New Year's Day. He said: "I’ve always been a runner, but after doing [the London Marathon] I wanted to do something a bit extra, something that would stand out."

Last year he completed the London Marathon for the same charity. He explained: "I can relate a lot to Shelter because my family have been through issues similar to the problems that they help tackle."

The 2,015-mile challenge is equivalent to 67 marathons.

Mr Else said: "My friends and family think I’m mental, as do most people I tell. It’s a crazy challenge but everyone’s been so supportive and they think it’s a great idea. I just hope I can actually do it."