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The Mess of Guilds
Two years of decline, both with no confidence attempts, have left Guilds in a sorry state indeed.
Pretty uncontroversial, apart from "How much of this is due to..."
So back to Tristan bashing.
I agree the VPA could have organised bigger and better events, but she has energy, commitment and spirit and she would have flourished if given proper direction and support.
I have seen this kind of behaviour not just in the Guilds committee; there are too many people around building up their CV?s and in the process destroying Imperial. Tristan is just the latest in a long line of people who sign up for something they cant handle, mess it up and then write about it in their CV.
I fail to see how public school students fail to get things done more so than those who go to comprehensives. I say that as someone who has experienced and equal share of both types of education.
well, you're right.
again, it's the whole stereotype that public schoolers are bad and state schoolers are good. take for example Shiv, last year's president. he went to a public school and i haven't heard many people rant about how ineffective he was.
Public School rahs. People who treat Guilds as an club for the boys. People like a certain Mr. Sherliker.
You are all pathetic
Which school you went to plays no importance in how effective a president you are
Are you not confusing "public school rahs" with "people who went to public school"?
Engineer is right, I was not having a go at all people who went to public school. I was saying that some of the rahs who hang around guilds now are useless.
Are you claiming that your education has no effect on what you become?
It affects you in everyway including how good a president you are.
There is a reason why there are so many public school boys in good universities like oxbridge.
I hope that reverse snobbery don't start happening. I don't want to be counted out of an election simply because of the school I went to.
Also might I take a stab at saying that most of the people who "fail" at a position are not "Public school Rahs". I can only think of Tristan as one from a public school who is a sense "failed". Borja is from a spanish private school, Boon to an asian private school and persky... well I don't know. But none of them are "Public School". Fok was the only one who went to a British public school, member of a gentleman's club, knew how to bow a tie... yet he didn't "fail".
There are loads of public school alumni all over the union doing fantastic jobs. Do you want to know? You'll be surprised who is and who isn't. Public school isn't just about the accent.
Oh yeah, Christian Carter and Mark Mearing Smith are real working class heros, aren't they.
CORRELATION IS NOT EQUAL TO CAUSALITY
Perhaps because more public school types get involved with the Unions (not just Guilds) there is a higher chance of finding useless ones among them. However no-one would dare mention that plenty of the best Officers came from public schools.
'Lionheart', you are just discriminating between people using a largely irrelevant factor. I reckon that more public school types are involved because they are attracted to the history and prestige of the Constituent Unions. They offer to many an old-school presence on an otherwise bland, ultra-modern and soulless campus.
I have been here for 4 years. I have seen the decline and fall of Guilds. It is largely due to changes in the student demographic, and partly due to incompetence and laziness of its elected Officers.
As far as Guilds is concerned, it cannot continue as it is now. The Engineering Dep Socs do a magnificent job of entertaining and representing their students already. No-one wants to go to Guilds events, just think about it: who wants to spend an evening in the company of even more badly-dressed, sexually frustrated males than normal?
RCSU events are popular because they have girls aplenty, something Guilds will never have.
So where next for Guilds?
Contrary to the author, I believe that it will only survive if it gives up the pretence of organising events. It should transform into a purely administrative body, overseeing the dep socs and clubs. The stagnant body of shambling buffons that get elected will have an achievable goal, and still get the CV points. The rahs will still get to hobnob at the CGCA dinners.
And vindictive tossers will have no cause to whinge at Guilds for 'not doing events'. By all means carry on with the traditional stuff - egg race etc.
But don't fool yourself that people will want to come to events or get involved. Engineers are smelly, socially unskilled losers. No-one wants to hang out with them, least of all fellow Engineers. Remember that. Shape your Union accordingly.
Has someone read Freakonomics?
To Ex-RCSU, you had come close to making a good point until you insulted Engineers. Do what you may. If engineers didn't want to hang out with engineers, why are the Engineering dep socs so popular?
I personally would not go down this route. I believe there are still many many things that the guilds can and should do. Traditional event, engineering related event, support the clubs under the CGCU (don't forget that we have clubs and depsoc whereas RSCU only has depsocs. I personally hope that the NCC allows for the creation of some RCS clubs), the welfare, boldness, communication with people.... but I must stop there because campaigning before elections is not allowed, and I'm sure it will not take you long to realise who I am.
People have blown a throw off line from my rapidly written article way out of proportion. If you must, call it ignorance and inexperience on my part. I was not trying to discriminate against public school students in any way. I was suggesting that there is too much of the old boys club stuff going around in Guilds, and it needs to sort its act out now.
lionheart: don't back down dude, it can be seen from the hackish audience here that what u said is true: most of the hacks out there are public school boys (look at posts like number 9). having this kind of crowd around can really alienate the rest of the student body from participating in the running of the union.
Public School Boy?..I think the general population lump private and public school together and don't necessarily care what the difference is historically or otherwise-you pay for both and that is the difference between private/public school and state schoolers. It is often only those that went to Public school who seem to kick up a fuss about the difference-perhaps because of the premium price they paid for their education! I get the impression you might be one of these? in your naming (and highlighting of country of the school) of PAST guilds members-yes, it would appear only Tristan and Fok went to great British Public Schools but Rahs are found at both public and private- I am yet to find a state schooler who could be put into this stereotype!
I am interested though, who CURRENTLY involved in Guilds did not go to a private or public school? I would be pleased to be proved wrong on my theory that very few if any involved went to state school. From the outside Guilds appears to be some sort of 'Old Boys Club' (the lack of females doesn't help) and this is very off putting for Students who are under the Guilds umbrella. Neither does Guilds come across as open or welcoming, they make it appear exclusive (?how many seconders do you need to get in? and what is the dress code? JOKE)
I think it will be the death of Guilds if it does not undergo some sort of update, a modernisation. Currently, perceived snobbery is what is stopping more people getting involved in Guilds and this is what Richard the Lionheart was talking about when he talked of the Rahs and if it continues to be led by someone currently involved, who currently emanates these values then it is most likely good bye Guilds.... maybe a little dose of inverted snobbery is what is needed to re-dress the imbalance, or maybe, you, Public School Boy, could buck the trend from within and bring about a modernisation such that Guilds attracts other people than the traditionalists!
Nobody was doubting the job done by people who are ex-public school. Lionheart, to me, was simply speaking the truth, suggesting that currently it would seem, that Guilds is a little over run with these types and doesn't come across as an open, all encompassing Union and is very much stuck in the 1920s. There is nothing wrong with tradition, carry on the egg race but please, please, please, use your heads and try and come up with something new and interesting! I know innovation and creativity are dirty words in engineering faculties (in fact I know someone who was told there was no room for them in their degree at Imperial by their interviewer) but please try and embrace them!
I think Guilds has some important things it should be doing:
- Engaging cross-faculty activities with the depsocs - the depsocs do most of the things the RCSU does for their faculty. Guilds exec meetings should be used as a conduit for that. The VPA should be channelling ideas between depsocs and providing central support, funding and faculty lobbying.
- Organising the more 'geeky' and prestigious events - Things such as the LMS and Egg Race are quite fun. The problem with Guilds in the last three years has been publicity. There's plenty of money to print posters, but publicising events seems almost like an afterthought.
- Promoting the 'old boys network' - Although running Guilds as an old boys club is not inclusive or acceptable, the wider 'old boys' network is exceptionally useful. For engineers, the professional institutions are vitally important part of the job and career progression. Ex-Guildsmen are everywhere - CGCA events have had current, former and future Presidents and Vice Presidents of the IET and ICE at them. As CGCA officer I've put some ideas to the CGCA and Milli and some depsocs are putting more work in on that front.
On Tuesday we had a pseudo-management committee meeting, to see if we could come up with some fun events - in conjunction with DepSocs - to run during the summer term. Things like end-of-exams BBQs, bar nights and possibly cinema nights.
The RCSU seems - mostly - to organise club nights, which I'm sure engineers also attend. They have a small team which are very good at organising that sort of thing and every couple of weeks I seem to get an invite on Facebook to a club night. Should Guilds be organising things like this? I don't know, but it seems to make sense to run them as joint events if the RCSU agreed. By joint, I mean working together, rather than the RCSU doing the work and sticking a Guilds logo on some posters, as happened with some careers events last term.
I think FUs/CCUs should promote:
- A community within their faculty
- The unique needs and interests of students in their subject areas, not just to College, but to external bodies
- A lasting network (via alumni associations) of use to students in their careers
Then, they should work together to do events of wider interest to students...
"If engineers didn't want to hang out with engineers, why are the Engineering dep socs so popular?"
Because most people have friends within their course and it's a chance to go on a pubcrawl/restaurant/paintballing/industrial vist etc. for cheap as they'll usually be subsidised to some degree or other. Also it's a lot easier to advertise/persuade people to come within a department (6-700 people?) than it is over the whole C&G.
The fact is fewer engineers care about C&G than miners do the RSM or Scientists RCS.
Bravo 18 "@ a public school boy" you have hit the nail on the head with those who are currently involved. There is a very large chunk who are PS. But we must not fall in to the trap of saying that guilds seems exclusive because of a large number of public school students. This is why a really varied range of candidates is needed for the elections.
But to the first point I wasn't running the public/private line but more the rah/non-rah. And that the people I mentioned where not your typical British Rah. In my mind's eye i see no real difference between public and private.
Don't worry a modernisation is exactly what the guilds needs- and what should be the first priority of the incoming team for next year. A look at what is popular for the masses, what would get people taking. Invite students along and ask them questions (have krispy kreams) about what they want, not what the Exec wants. There are so many things that I would love to do.
I just want the elections to happen so that all this can get started.
For the record: I have no space in my life for any one who says innovation and creativity are dirty words. I would ask them to leave the room.
I'll start with your last comment-Go see Prof Amis. I know who you are (you are making it bleeding obvious!) so I know you will know who I mean. I nearly blew a fuse when I heard this had been said.
It does seem exclusive because of those involved and you can't argue otherwise. It is a self-replicating cycle and I would like to hope you can change it, but on the other hand, you represent the image of guilds which is causing a lot of these problems-it will be a tough challenge! Can you deny not being a Rah? You are the very epitome with the addition of a brain!
"A really varied range of candidates is needed for the elections"...what are we going to do, write an A list for Guilds with targets for ethnic minorities and women? Now you are showing your Tory background. There should be no reason for these people not to stand, but currently, I will go back to that word again, it seems exclusive!
I like that you want to find out what others want-this is positive. However, the fact you see the need to get the masses to come in, tell you what they want and then process this information-you sound like an old school politician in the making and this is not what is needed. You should know what they want, you should be in touch with the voters needs! Guilds isn't that big a population, it is a fairly limited demographic to work with, not a constituency! By suggesting that you need to ask them what they want suggests you are out of touch and are in some way different or superior to them-here we go back to the exclusivity thing! Surely, if Guilds came across as approachable there is no need for this? Surely, a president of such a society should be in touch with peoples needs? Is it not this talent, combined with leadership which makes a good leader?
So - are you all claiming that the election process is undemocratic - If a public school rah stands and a comprehensive chav stands - you the voters are there to elect them - If only a public school rah stands (which has been the case in the past) then this shows that they care enough to stand for the position - the state school student has no ambition to stand - this speaks worlds to me.
Either way - you vote for who you want - blame yourselves!
I went to state school, and am friends with the 'rahs' you keep refering to. I'm even a bit of a leftie.
If I were allowed (I'm on a gap year so can't), I'd probably be standing for a Guilds position this year.
Do I break the mould enough for you all to shut up yet?
Milli Begum. Jen Roberts. 'nuff said. Although they may have gone to fee paying schools. and although maybe something could be said about the latter doing an efficient job, in retrospect.
Sorry - post 25? I'm not sure if I understand your last post - seems like you are defending Jen Roberts as doing an efficient job.
If you are not then I apologize
If you are then I will correct you and declare that she is the s**tist chair IMPERIAL (not guilds) but IMPERIAL has ever seen.
"I am yet to find a state schooler who could be put into this stereotype!"
I wish you could see some Grammars out there. Mine wanted to be a public school. I suppose it remains quite hard to become properly Rah as there is enough socio-economic variance to learn that, for example, bragging about your parent's nice ski chalet in Val d'Iser may actually annoy a lot of people.
If the CGCU organise events, they do a damn good job of not bothering to tell anyone else about it. As far as I'm concerned the only invitations to events I've had are from Departmental Reps and the union as a whole. The lack of social skills of engineers, spending all day with them and the soul-crushing knowledge that any event will degenerate into a drinking binge followed by a Radio One chav-fest also discourages me. Never mind organising more bar crawls, do something different!
Granted - there wern't many evens this year.
And granted they were not advertised well.
But emails were sent out to the CGCU mailing list - which all engineers are on - If you automatically delete these emails then thats your own fault - if you take the time to read them then you will find out what is going on. You can't complain about not being told.
Besides, if you really cared, you'd get involved and help out yourself. Then you would definatley know whats on!
I archive my emails actually.
I've received seven CGCU related emails this year. Three of those were in October, two of them relating to the same event, and one was for elections. Compare with 16 from the Union as a whole, spread evenly through the year, and countless from clubs and societies, all advertising one or more events.
On current evidence the CGCU doesn't care about participation. However, I'm not sure I blame them as in my (admittedly limited) experience, organising events at Imperial is a thoroughly depressing experience, with the majority of the student populace simply not caring.
And finally, I do really care, and I am going to be more throughly involved next year, but it won't be as part of CGCU.
Funny, Boon's sitting right next to me here in the library!
When I said state schools I referred to un-selective comprehensives. This is mostly due to my own prejudices in that the Grammar schools (and grant maintained schools-although I think this term is outdated now) in my area all required payment of some sort and therefore in my mind were essentially private schools whether they had the name grammar or otherwise.
If a school requires fees, it isn't public and therefore isn't a Grammar, surely? All the Grammars in my area were free(-at-the-point-of-delivery).
They were also, as everywhere, despised by Labour-ites and had funding repeatedly cut in an attempt to make them s**t enough to abolish. It hasn't worked yet.
Not that I'm disagreeing with you *per se*. We are an odd breed, with strange traditions like compulsory Latin (which remains one of the most useful courses I've ever taken). My school was convinced that it was a public school and was unusually pretentious, with "houses" based on non-existent boarding houses, and robes and mortar boards for masters with coloured trimmings depending on house and rank.
Sorry, that first 'public' should be 'state'. Mea culpa.
Thanks for the responses to my rant in post 13. My assertions about Engineers were in jest (re: post 15), but made to make a point (re: post 20).
The Dep Socs run good events because when/if Engineers go out, they go with their friends - not to meet new people. That is how Engineers seem to work, they only really hang out with others on their course (after 1st year). CGCU has no chance of getting them to come to an Engineers event.
Ashley lays out a good manifesto for how Guilds should be in future.
Re: Grammar Schoolboy - You sound like a normal student with the right idea, getting involved in a club while having a vague affiliation to your Faculty Union.
You are quite right, organising events for Imperial students can be an exhausting, soul-crushing experience.
Hacks judge its success only by numbers of people present. The few that turn up just want to take everything they can for free and give nothing back. Few if any people want to help out, as people without an Official position do not bother (just think how many quality people run for elections - those that don't get the position just fade away, but they have the energy and time to contribute, why don't they?). Selling tickets is like drawing blood from a stone.
The time and effort you put in is not recognised by the average student who simply does not care. The sheer weight of apathy eventually seems to consume people, even the most bright-eyed Union zealot will eventually succumb to it.
I've been there, it's fun for a while but the apathy does get to you.
I think something like this happened this year for Guilds. A poor turnout for the Fresher's Ball (maybe the effects of higher tuition fees kicking in...) probably put a big damper on their plans for a return to big events. Officers got less interested in the cause, and without a strong presence of a President, it was downhill from there.
How things turn around. When I started at Imperial, RCSU was the basket case and Guilds was the well oiled machine, and we scientists were saying the exact same things guildsmen were saying regarding demographics and attitude.
The public school thing is probably a bit of a red herring. It sounds like you have is a dearth of talent in the organisation.
Elections are a means of ensuring democracy and selecting the best talent. But it also breeds exclusivity. You can afford to turn away people saying "we only have this title or that title" when times are good, but not when times are bad.
It speaks volumes that people will only work if they have the elected position... or perhaps it speaks more about how the organisation functions if unelected volunteers don't want to work with those people?
No individual will necesarily reflect the entire bredth of tastes for the college. A small organisation only attracting a small number of people to stand for position isn't going to "know" what everyone wants, "A Public School Boy" is entirely correct in the idea of getting people in and finding out what it is they want to see. Once you provide a service that is liked, then you will get more people involved. The thing is not to be exclusive, cut down on titled positions (ents officer, whatever) and establish it as a team instead, and assign people various projects. Rotate who is the principle organiser of each event within that team. It's the best way to rapidly build experience, let everyone get a shot and organising somethign, and get their CV points too.
Focus on the Freshers. You can't persuade third and fourth years to break the habits of a lifetime, but present the freshers with an organisation that looks, feels and acts like it is embedded in the social scene, and they will use it.
It's also worth remembering that the RCSU was actually abolished by it's own clubs and societies (there used to be RCS clubs, not jsut DepSocs you know) because it became such an obstacle. Serve your base or die.
As for running events, it was some of the greatest fun I had at Imperial.
What a load of tripe all of you... you guys need to get out more. You are all the extreme wings of stereotypes and you are all arrogant enough to think your point is more important than anothers when really they all mean s**t.
Do your degree, have some fun, and stop bitching around on live all day f**king long.
I think this whole Public/State school thing is looking for some facile explanation that really isn't there. I think Ashley pretty much explained everything when he said it is all about advertisement.
If you don't advertise something then cliques will naturally form around the CGCU. I didn't realise this whole mascotry nonsense went on until I came here - it seems to be derived from Public School activity. So if you don't advertise well enough, and people just see things like mascotry then you are attracting people who like that. I am a scientist but as a Comp kid from Nottingham, this all seemed a bit fin de siecle university to me. It was a bit alien but at least it tried to install pride through tradition despite all the buildings looking like they've been transplanted from Slough. I think the wrong emphasis has been put on this traditional curiosities.
I'd like to think upon coming to university your previous education is just history and you are all in the same boat now. It would be good if the CGCU emphasised this - what better way than through positive advertisement.
Mascotry isn't public school. It's just old, old university of London traditional stuff. It used to be very widespread, and like you say, the intention was more to build a new joint identity on the here and now rather than where you came from.
Well, I guess that's what I mean. The impression I got was of a connotation with Eton and Harrow and stealing Jam Dodgers from each other in dormitories behind Matron's back.
Everybody knows that a proper public school boy would never touch a biscuit called a "jam dodger"
Hm.... you think that is what goes on at public schools eh?
Sounds like you are all f**king idiots
In response to post 26 regarding my post #25, yes, I was inferring that Jen Roberts has done a pretty abysmal job of Chairing. I apologise for any unclarity in the matter.
Guilds in a mess? I trace it all back to one Shrenik Patel back in the midst of time, tee hee hee heeeeee.
need i say more?
guilds should be shut down.. perhaps more of an effort should be made in keeping their union togther and not pinching other people's things by breaking and entering .hhmmmmm!?
Typical miner timing - did it take you that long to read the article and reply? Did you even read the comments or would that be too much work?
Run along to your revision notes now.. all 2 pages of them
I think that your personal problems should be left off this page.. Some of us have actual work to do.. and it's more than just welding a bridge!
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