Hello everyone! Samuel Dedman here, your Vice-President Education for 2017/18. Part of my role concerns itself with study spaces around our campuses, and it is off the back of that that I come to you with an update about The Bridge. This has been an area of some debate over the past year, and so I’m here with what I believe is a solution which benefits everyone.

As VP Education I’m keen to see as much study space as possible made available around our campuses, and indeed within our own Union buildings. First and foremost, The Bridge is our flagship venue, offering great quality food and drink throughout the day. Whilst some students prefer the relaxed environment to study, other students have found it hard to get a table over the lunchtime period to enjoy the creations of our Michelin Trained Head Chef. Attempts to reconcile these two this year have so far been difficult to monitor and enforce, leading to a system which is hard to understand and hard to manage.

The Bridge has formed the centre of many meetings between Sabbatical Officers and the Students’ Union’s Senior Leadership Team, and over the past week I have been working on a revised plan which opens up as much space for free studying as possible while also ensuring that those who wish to purchase from The Bridge have the room to do so, factoring in the results of our Study Space Survey as far as possible. I took these proposals to a meeting of both Sabbatical Officers and the Senior Leadership Team on Monday 21 May 2018 and was agreed upon by the group.

The key changes are as follows:

  • Soft furnishings (e.g. the sofas) are now open for studying at all times. This includes the use of laptops throughout the day.
  • The booth seats are now available to use for laptop and normal study all day as well, and with the soft furnishings represents almost half of the total covers in the Bridge.
  • The rest of the standalone tables (the white and blue, and normal wooden tables), will be set aside from Midday for those making purchases from The Bridge, and studying will not be permitted on these tables.
  • Stickers attached to the base of the table talkers on each table will show if a table is designated for studying or purchases. These zones will be enforced by the Bars Team, but our hope is to make the different categories as easy as possible to identify.
  • These rules apply to all staff (Union and University) as well as students.
  • A relaxing of the categories may take place during the afternoon, but this is at the discretion of the Bars Manager/Bars Team Leader on-duty that afternoon.

The above is being communicated to staff right now, and is going to come into play as of Tuesday 22 May 2018.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of the students who have reached out to us about this issue. From You Make Change to emails, Facebook Messages to visits to the Sabbatical Office, your input has made all of the difference. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to reach out me on vpeducation@susu.org or over Facebook!

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