Study Spaces – an update!
Hello! Samuel Dedman here – your neighbourhood VP Education for 2017/18. Recently the Education Zone (the Union committee which I chair) opened up some consultation about study space provision across the University. Spaces such as these are the cornerstone of academic study while at University, and therefore it is an important element of the Zone’s representation work to ensure that they are as good as they can be. I’m pleased to say that the results are in and we’ve already been hard at work putting some of your suggestions into action. Our consultation work included a couple of different activities, so I’ll separate them out below.
STUDY SPACE SURVEY
Our Study Space Survey received 297 responses from students across our Faculties and sites. We’re working our way through all of the written responses, but all of the numerical responses can be found here. Headline figures include:
- 68% of respondents agreeing that the library resources supported them well (a score of either 4 or 5)
- 72% of respondents agreeing that resources were easy to access when needed (a score of either 4 or 5)
- 60% of respondents felt that the Union could do more to provide suitable study space (a score of 1, 2 or 3)
- Only 43% of respondents believed that there was enough space on campus to complete group work (a score of either 4 or 5)
- A resounding 82% felt that the Union should provide an informal study space
We also hosted a physical consultation board in the Bar 2 space itself for the duration of the survey, allowing anyone passing by to leave their thoughts. Thank you to everyone who left suggestions on the board – we’ve looked over all of them and these were the most popular categories:
- Better seating (comfort, amount etc.)
- Plug sockets (for laptops etc.)
- A return of SUSU the cat
- Environmental (too cold, poor insulation)
- Lighting (too dark)
- Access to water (inc. lack of cups)
I also put out a number of informal Twitter polls during the same time, one looking at the Library and another looking at the Union’s Bar 2 study space. It is really interesting to see that students are still looking for us to get the basics right – plug sockets and working space score well in both of the polls. The full rests from both polls can be found below:
SO, WHAT NOW?
As mentioned above it is going to take us a bit of time to look through all of the written responses, but we’ve already been able to make a few improvements to spaces across the University based on the survey and submissions on You Make Change:
- You asked for the beanbags to be returned to Bar 2, and so I’m pleased to confirm that they’ve made a comeback. We’ll be keeping an eye on how popular they are – there is room for more if they are being used!
- You said that Bar 2 is too cold due to the lack of insulation, and so we’ve asked the University to come and fill in all the gaps in the windows. We’re still awaiting a response from them, but hopefully it should be a little warmer soon.
- You said that hot water access is important to you, and following the Student Forum last year we’re pleased to say that it is free of charge (provided you bring your own cup) in all Union and University outlets. There is also a hot water outlet due to be installed in Hartley Library over this semester – keep an eye on social media to find out when this is done!
- You said that Hartley Library needs more working plug sockets, and so we approached them about this. They were incredibly open to the idea of labeling all plug sockets to make it easier to report broken ones, and are keen to ensure that power access is part of all future Library works.
- You also said that you’d like a phone charger lending scheme at Hartley Library, and we agree! The Library do as well, and are currently in the process of sourcing some chargers for you to use.
We’re also keen to make the Bar 2 area into a flexible study space, while also retaining its ability to be used by a number of our Clubs & Societies. Conversations around this are still ongoing, and if you have any ideas or suggestions let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org!
That is all for now – keep an eye out for the Education Zone’s next piece of consultation work and get in touch if you have any questions!
All the best,
VP Education 2017/18