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I think our campus is pretty fantastic. I remember the day I first visited Lancaster University; it was a beautiful, sunny Wednesday and as I got the bus from the train station I can still recall my feelings of anxiety mixed with excitement. Walking up the steps into Alex Square, I was met with a societies fair in the middle of the large space – rugby players were locked in a scrum, a dance society were halfway through an incredible routine and the sound of Bailrigg FM was blasted out across the square.
Today, two years on from that campus visit, our campus is as vibrant and electric as ever. Buildings are rising out of the ground from the North of campus to South West and our university’s varied and mixed set of students from all walks of life makes it a brilliant place to live and study. It is for this reason, that I was shocked at the university’s decision to strip away all signs of student life through the purging of posters which had previously been placed on pillars along the spine. The purge came ahead of an open day for prospective students on the Wednesday.
Many societies were affected by the removal of posters, particularly the dance society who had all their promotional posters for their show, in the Nuffield Theatre, removed. The dance society is a perfect example of the sort of society our university should be immensely proud of and want to show off to prospective new students – incorporating many different forms of dance and actively seeking to publicise their skills through public demonstrations and dance shows, the society is hugely popular with students. Rather than stripping away any signs of this society, the university should look to societies like this to showcase their talents to people looking around the university.
Our campus is brimming full of talent, that’s a fact. RAG Week’s Societies Showcase, Pendle’s Live Music on a Thursday, Cartmel’s The Next Big Thing, Lonsdale’s Live Acoustic Sets and Cuba’s use of student DJ’s are just a few examples of Lancaster University students being given the opportunity to shine and show people their talent. I think it’s about time the university sits up and take notice of how fantastic and diverse their students are. Somewhere between the development of facilities and the development of research, the people running our university seemed to forget what makes our university so brilliant; and that’s the students.
On Saturday Week 9, the newly named Lancaster Square will play host to the Campus Festival, an exhibition of over 70 high energy societies demonstrating their talent and skills, followed by the best musical talent from our student population in the form of student bands and DJ’s. I hope that the university’s management will be well represented at the event and that they take a long hard look at their students and the societies that they participate in. It is events like this that makes people want to come to this university. It is the collegiate system that makes people want to come to this university. It’s the action-packed and innovative social calendars provided by JCR Executives that makes people want to come to this university. It is the student experience that makes people want to come to this university.
The cost of a university education is inevitably going to rise dramatically over the course of the next few years. With this rise, students are going to shop the market and choose their university with much greater care. If our university forgets about the student experience, we are in grave danger of people simply turning their back on our university. The people at the top of this university need to step away from the building sites of the upcoming developments, leave their offices in university house and take a moment to look at the colleges, societies and at the students. They should begin to appreciate the hard work of the JCR and society executives and they should begin to realise how incredibly talented our student population is.
I think our campus is pretty fantastic. I know that our students are brilliant; the question is whether our university’s management knows it too.