2010 wasn’t a terribly gratifying year for students. Despite their best efforts and the reassurance of various members of Parliament, 2010 will go down in the collective consciousness of our generation as a mile-stone in the alienation of the student populous.
We took to the streets in our thousands, we demonstrated, we were organised, we signed petitions and we gave our well-informed opinion. Regardless, we returned home to find that, through fault of only a few, the media had successfully convinced the nation of our combined malignancy. Overnight, this now demonised generation lost its voice. Students lost faith in the government and our elders and we fast began to resent our mainstream media.
2012 will see the first year students charged the higher rate to enrol for University and already the effects are manifesting themselves as UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) reports a 13% drop in applications. To combat this, the University of Liverpool is looking to enhance its student experience in an effort to entice prospective students to consider UoL as their first choice. Not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all. After all, Liverpool is a city of vast and intricate culture proudly emphasised by its warm and unique citizens. Still, the move isn’t about advocating this city’s celebrated culture. Boasting the most museums outside of the Capital and officially the best nightlife in the country, the city already does that for itself.
Instead, UoL is investing time, money and effort into complementing the appeal of the campus community in an effort to strengthen a thriving student identity on campus. This includes new, versatile and comfortable work spaces – both indoor and outdoor – and a series of expansive on-campus halls developments to centralise the student experience. Over the summer our multi-award-winning Student Guild will be subject to an extensive facelift, while off-campus students are invited to take advantage of free access to Ness Botanic Gardens.
Yes! This is what students need; a place within which to belong. University isn’t meant to be an solitary ‘bubble-world’ conveyer-belt, wrenching teenagers from their families and eventually depositing them with nothing but heavy debt for company. Loneliness is not synonymous of independence. Instead, it should facilitate and encourage an inclusive and collective growing experience. But what use is a community without a voice? With students nationwide swiftly loosing faith in the strength of student politics, it would be up to campus radio to represent Liverpool student issues and nurse our collective identity back to health.
Unbeknownst to many it was Liverpudlian, Oliver Lodge, who in 1894 broadcast the first ever radio-signal from our very own University of Liverpool campus. In 1961, with the slightly eerie call sign ‘G3OUL’, The Liverpool Amateur Radio Society was established at the University focusing on radio communication for students. Today, the University of Liverpool can celebrate one of the oldest student radio stations in the country with over 50 years of experience, history and numerous successful alumni including Radio 1 reporter Tulip Mazumdar and presenter Nick Grimshaw.
Since a £4,000 investment in June 2011, LSRadio (our Liverpool Student Radio) has completely revamped its Guild-based studio, enhancing broadcast quality and encouraging basic media skills development to its one-hundred plus membership. Thanks to this investment and the hard work of all those involved, LSRadio remains one of the most active and interactive societies in the Guild, exclusively broadcasting student talent 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. More recently LSRadio has been encouraging the live debate and discussion of many campus issues leaving the mainstream misinformation of 2010 behind. This was particularly enriching when, in November, Guild Vice President, Ruth Brewer joined students in the studio for a follow-up to a debate stemmed from an LSMedia article questioning the ethics surrounding a political Guild.
In October, using money from the grant, LSRadio fervently launched its highly-anticipated website. Six weeks later the station was boasting listener figures exceeding 10,000 and averaging 500 listeners per show in that time period, almost four times as many as before. The website’s clear and minimalistic design ensures users can easily navigate through unique content created entirely by its membership, while dedicated hosting space allows the sampling of works by sister-platforms, LSFilm and LSMedia. Already there are plans to encourage more interactive digital-media to increase accessibility, while discussions surrounding website advertising draw to a promising culmination.
What better way to advocate your University than through the impact of this live, unified and interactive student voice. In fact, UoL have already indicated an interest in advertising with the station. If LSRadio continues on this trajectory then the class of 2015 will surely be graduating knowing it was £9,000 a year well-spent.