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I wrote the article for the StudentVoice – hooray. Affectionately titled The Welfare Manifesto, here it be:

The Welfare Department of BHASVIC, you may be surprised to hear, is not merely an excuse to give out free condoms. It is working towards improving your welfare and the welfare of others, be that sexual health, physical or mental health, financial issues, home problems or, indeed, anything that affects your general wellbeing. If you are an avid Student Planner reader, as no doubt we all are, then you may also believe that the Welfare Department is run by Su Adams – more up to date informants will tell you that in fact Lauren Shukru now holds this post, and waits in her office for the call of a student in need of help. Although it’s probably easier to knock upon her door – the Welfare Office is next to the Careers Suite (just turn left at the top of the stairs) and Lauren’s doors are open all college hours – if she’s not there then there’s always someone on hand who’s willing to listen to you.

The Welfare Department have been busy of late – not only with the World Aids Day event, which was covered in the last issue of Student Voice, and the frequent appearances of the Mobile Information Bus, but also with plans for things to come. A Healthy Eating Day is in the works, which, we hope, shall be more interesting than the usual ‘5 fruit and veg a day’, but less full-on than the words of Sue White from Green Wing – ‘You can’t eat that, you’re far too fat!’. As well as this fun filled, food filled day, we’re working on plans for a celebration of Non-Smoking Day, observed nationally on the 12th of March and, in BHASVIC, on the 14th. Clara, the Smoking Cessation Nurse who took up residence in the hall last time she visited, will be returning, and, weather permitting, Gordon is hoping to display a smoking machine outside (as, due to the new smoking ban, even a smoking machine can’t cough out a few clouds beneath the ceilings of BHASVIC’s classrooms). So with machines that smoke, food that tastes good and some good old fashioned clean air about the place, we’re well on our way to a fun few days.

Of course, the Welfare Department do take a break from this tomfoolery to listen to your problems – in the words of Lauren Shukru, Welfare is a ‘signpost and liaison point’. We can tell you where to go, who to talk to and what actions to take to help you through the struggle of student life, especially if you need help with finance, have questions about travel, discounts and subsidies, or want info on smoking, alcohol, drugs, sexual health or being a young carer. The Young Carers Project, a charity funded primarily by Comic Relief in fact, has formed ties with BHASVIC and is ready and willing to help out anyone who is struggling to care for another on their own – Lauren in Welfare, as ever, has the details (She’s lovely, so don’t worry).

And, of course, though the Welfare department is not merely an excuse to give out free condoms, there is a sexual health clinic up and running in College House on Tuesdays, 12 until 3. Irene is the woman to speak to, and she’ll be in room 145 to give out emergency contraception, pregnancy tests, condoms, info on diseases and, most importantly, advice.

So with several great women to talk to, lots of information to gather and absorb, a couple of rooms to find, some events to look forward to and the exciting idea of Gordon with a smoke machine, I leave you with this message: the Welfare Department is not just about free condoms. It’s not just about fundraisers. It’s not even about the college as a whole. It’s about you, and your life as students at BHASVIC. You are the ones that matter, and it is for you, and you alone, that we are here.

 

Suitably cheesy and college paper pretentious-y? Yeah, I reckon so. Although whether they’ll find the image of Mr No-smiles Gordon with a smoke machine as hilarious as I did, who knows…

And as I’m here – have you heard the new Laura Marling album? It’s actually really good =] This is my favorite song, called Ghosts:

He walked down a busy street
Staring solely at his feet
Clutching pictures of past lovers at his side
Stood at the table where she sat
And removed his hat
In respect of her presence
Presents her with the pictures and says
These are just ghosts that broke my heart before I met you.

He opened up his little heart
Unlocked the lock that kept it dark
And read a written warning
Saying Im still mourning
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts
Over ghosts that broke my heart before I met you

Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
Its not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love

So he went crazy at nineteen
Said he’d lost all his self esteem
And couldn’t understand why he was crying…

He would stare at empty chairs
Think of the ghosts who once sat there
The ghosts that broke his heart.
oh the ghosts that broke my heart[…]
The ghosts that broke my heart before I met you

Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
Its not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love

He says I’m so lost,
Not at all well
Do as done there is nothing left to be
Turned out I’d been following him and he’d been following me
Do as done after it was over
We were just two lovers crying on each others shoulders

Lover, please do not
Fall to your knees
Its not
Like I believe in
Everlasting love

And on that note – adieu!

Flickr Photos