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Dear Fellow Postgrads, Congratulations to those finished with exams, and best of luck to those nearly at the finish

line. I write to provide you with a year-ending report on my work this year as your Postgraduate Officer. It has been a true honour to serve such an intelligent and diverse group of people, and I am grateful to everyone who has helped bring the following events and improvements to fruition. Thanks for taking a minute to look through it, and I hope to see you getting your groove on at the Grad Ball. Best wishes, and now let's enjoy the London summer! Regards, Daniel Kroop LSE Students' Union Postgraduate Officer 1. The LSE Graduate Ball Don black tie or evening dress and party with your fellow graduates at the final celebration of the year! The absolute final ticket deadline for the complete ball experience is Monday 20 June. Tickets for the afterparty only may be bought through the 28th. Buy tickets: http://www.lsesu.com/ents/event/544/ Grad Ball 2011 Grand Connaught Rooms 28 June 7.30pm - 1am Featuring: * Roulette and blackjack casino tables with free chips * Automatic entry to win an overnight trip to Spain for 4 * A professional photographer to capture some lasting LSE memories * A great DJ spinning a varied set of dance music all night * A gourmet three-course meal, including wine (vegetarian option available) This event is open to all graduating students, and friends are welcome. Book your tickets and select your seats online now to avoid disappointment! The full ball experience including dinner (highly recommended by those who've gone before!) is 68; just the afterparty is 20. You only get one chance -- be there! Buy Tickets: http://www.lsesu.com/ents/event/544/ Join the Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=167135843348846 2. Continued Lobbying on International Student Visas As you may know, it has been a difficult year for student visas and UK immigration policy more broadly. The Home Secretary originally proposed draconian cuts that would adversely affect every international student. Thankfully and in no small part due to the lobbying efforts of universities and students' unions working together, the bill was watered down a good deal. On 22 March of this year, the Secretary told MPs her

forthcoming package would cut net migration by 80,000 a year; today, that estimate has been dropped to 46,000. The decrease has come about as a result of more lax provisions on current students and dependents, as well as a wise acceptance of the need for qualified graduates in critical sectors like business. The 'Defending Global Education' campaign we launched here at LSE helped drive many of these results. We created an 'I Am International' wall, bringing to life the faces of nearly a hundred international students; met with the Head of Immigration of the UKBA to outline our criticisms and propose alternatives; and lobbied directly at Westminster with Stephen Gilbert MP. You can find the follow-up letter here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/53970565/Letter-to-Stephen-Gilbert-MP-on-StudentVisas-26-4-11. In addition, I proposed and passed a motion at NUS Postgraduate Conference in May to demand reinstatement of the post-study work visa route after April 2012, at which point it is currently slated to close. This motion allows the National Union of Students to dedicate its resources to lobbying the government well after many of us have graduated. Though the bill under consideration is still unpleasant, and in my opinion grounded in willful ignorance of the value of international migrants, I take heart that our efforts have helped shape a better outcome. Be sure to get in touch with the SU Advice and Support Service with any questions you may have about, most likely, attaining your PSW visa before April 2012. Learn more at: http://www.lsesu.com/support/immigration/poststudywork/. 3. Improvements to IT and Library Services Since I took office in November, improving LSE's information technology and library services has remained at the top of my agenda. I hope you've benefited from some of the small things we've already done: the 15-minute rapid access PCs, three-times-daily printer checks, i-roam laptops, restrictions on outsider access to the Library during exams, quiet-level zoning, and more recorded lectures available via Moodle. I am pleased to announce, particularly to those postgraduates who will be around next year, that IT services and governance are at the end of an extensive external review. As the student representative on the Audit Committee, much of my lobbying has been on the poor quality of data access and integration across departmental, service, and administrative portals. I have confidence that David House, the former Deputy ViceChancellor of the University of Brighton and drafter of the report, will take seriously the student input I have provided. Over the year to come, technology services at LSE should see real reforms that make them more functional, user-friendly, and adaptable to the changing needs of students. 4. Staying On? TIPS Mentors Needed for Next Year TIPS (Third-Years Intermingling with Postgraduate Students) was a pilot co-mentoring scheme that the Postgraduate Assembly and the SU launched early this Lent term. Over 60 students -- half postgrads, half undergrad finalists -- participated and enjoyed training, mixers, and outside meetings and activities with their mentors. The programme is now in its evaluation stage. If you participated but did not receive your survey, please e-mail Dan ASAP at su.postgrad@lse.ac.uk.

Learning from this term, TIPS looks to be re-launched on an even bigger scale in Michaelmas term. If you're interested in mentoring, be sure to inquire with the SU in October. 5. New Postgraduate Common Room For over three years, postgraduates have sought an exclusive common room where they could read, relax, make a cup of tea, and chat with other postgraduates. I am excited to announce that in the 2011-12 school year, this Postgraduate Common Room will finally come to be. Housed in the historic Land Registry Building at 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, the Common Room is the culmination of years of work and the endless search for space on our small, central campus. Alongside the new Student Centre to open in 2013, it has been a year of beginnings on capital developments that will significantly enhance the LSE student experience. 6. Fourth-year PhDs: You may now be eligible to receive a council tax exemption If you're a PhD, you may know that a 2008 High Court ruling set a precedent requiring fourth-year 'writing up' PhD students to pay council tax. But a second High Court case brought by a Cambridge PhD student, arguing for his ongoing student status, has been successful. If you do not currently receive an exemption from LSE, follow up with the SU Advice and Support Service or LSE Student Services. For more information on the case, click here. 7. London-wide Postgraduate Picnic at Regent's Park on 9 July Celebrate summer with your friends and meet postgrads from all around London! A Picnic at Regent's Park 9 July from 2pm onwards Marylebone Green * Enter via Park Square West entrance, near Regent's Park Tube * Families welcome and children's play area nearby * Free - just bring food and drink Flyer: http://i741.photobucket.com/albums/xx56/onlygoodnameleft/ulupgpicnic2.jpg