Student News Update: June 2018

Here’s what’s been going on in the student community this month, including some inspiring stories that show the power of student activism, and a new idea that could overhaul the university experience.

 
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Taking a stand on political issues is important to today’s students, which means they value the right to vote. Therefore, it was well received when several British universities’ students’ unions paid for Irish students to go home and vote in the abortion referendum last month. Women’s rights, including the issue of abortion, is one of the subjects students are most passionate about. While some unions offered the funding with the prerequisite that recipients intended to vote ‘yes’ to repealing the 8th amendment, which attracted some criticism, other universities such as Oxford and Nottingham focused on helping students exercise their democratic right to vote.

 
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Researchers in the US are proposing a complete overhaul of the academic calendar after they discovered that students perform worse in exams when they are too hot. Final exams in the US take place in late spring/early summer, as is the case in the UK. The study found that as temperatures around exam time increased over a period of 13 years, average exam scores dropped. Meanwhile, British researchers have found that air conditioning has a negative effect on exam performance, another reason to suggest a colder time of year would be more suitable. However, on the plus side, students do get a nice long summer break post-exams to get over the stress and enjoy the sun.

 
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Following a student petition, a Syrian teenager has been awarded a full scholarship to the University of Cambridge. When Abdullah Kattineh was offered a place at the prestigious university, he realised he’d need to pay fees and maintenance costs of almost £50,000 a year if he was to accept. Unwilling to give up his dream of becoming a world-renowned chemist, Abdullah set up a GoFundMe page in the hope of raising the money via kind friends and strangers. The Cambridge Refugee Scholarship Campaign heard of his plight, and soon hundred of students had signed an open letter to the uni’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education. The campaign was a success, and within days Abdullah received a phone call confirming his studying and living costs would be covered.

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