Posts Tagged brunel university
So Freshers Week 2012 has been and gone and now term will hit, order restored and Brunel will once again kick-start itself into full on academia mode. That’ll probably last until Friday when everything goes out of the window with all the booze and Academy nightlife. Any way, I thought it would be fun to do a best & worst summary of what happened this past week at Freshers Week 2012.
Worst – The weather
This probably goes without saying but the weather just ruined a lot of the weeks planned events. Trying to motivate contacts who by 11am are already soaking to their wellies was about as difficult as Charlie Sheen trying to avoid humiliating himself whenever he tries to do basically anything. The way the contacts pulled through though and persevered to move in several hundred students was admirable but I have a feeling most of them did it with such efficiency to keep out of the rain.
Best – Freshers who arrive in style
Campus was a wash of Volvos and people carriers on Sunday but occasionally you’ll see people rock up in hired cars, big enough for a family of 4 to move in. And then, on a blue moon, you’ll see someone rock up with the A Team van and show everyone how to move in with style.
Oh and the van behind him also belonged to the same fresher. Clearly they have a lot of crap to move in. Sorry I meant highly necessary personal belongings.
Best – Free stuff at freshers fayre
You don’t have to be a fresher to appreciate freshers fayre. In fact, with this being my 5th freshers fayre, I reckon returners know better how to work freshers fayre, get the best free stuff and know where to avoid. Case in point, I walked out of the IAC with 19 free pizza boxes which I plan on enjoying, and only signed up to 2 societies rather than going mental and thinking “I’m going to sign up for everything because I’m young and independent so why can’t I join the boxing club whilst also appreciating Sci Fi; shut up mum you’re not the boss of me anymore!”
Worst – Trying to run a stall at freshers fayre
Whilst this was my 5th freshers fayre, it was my 4th at running a stall at it and for the life of me I just cannot figure out how to do it properly. Offering freshers free things and not asking them for money is properly the best way to gain interest so that’s what I did. Sweets, stickers, free newspapers and flyers were all offered to students and most seemed interested. Yet probably 25% of freshers walking by weren’t interested at all. So then I started offering free Dominos vouchers and even then people still weren’t interested at all. So to those who turned their nose at me and rolled their eyes I say this.
I hope you spend all of your student loan on food and I will keep these vouchers as long as possible.
Worst – Whoever didn’t open Subway should be shot
I’ve got to say I was pretty keen on having a subway on campus this year but when I found out it wouldn’t be opened until AFTER freshers week, I had one of my mini 10 minute sulks before moving onto the next thing to moan about. This year is the first year that students are paying £9,000 tuition fees and I reckon there are about 4 freshers on campus who answer the question “Why are you going to Brunel?” with the answer “They’ve got a subway on campus.” There is going to be someone to blame. Probably someone who didn’t sign a contract or some nonsense and this person must be found and shot for taking away one of the best things Freshers Week could have provided.
Best – On the other hand, the burger van was pretty awesome
To make up for it, the Angus burger van that parked itself next to the Lecture Centre was an inspired choice. This was because the people working there were fantastic people but mainly because the food was awesome (and free in my case). When I’m drunk and I leave Academy, my first thought isn’t “I could really use an Italian BMT with some ranch dressing on cheese & herb bread”. It is always “someone fetch me a kebab – I don’t care what’s in it.”
Best – “Freshers say the stupidest things”
I reckon I’ve dealt with about 1,000 freshers this week coming up to me at work asking me really stupid questions that any normal human could figured out. The amount of stupid questions I got means I could probably start my own TV show called “Freshers Say The Stupidest Things”. The opening title sequence will always be the following conversation I had with a fresher:
Fresher: “Hi. I’m interested in doing something.”
Me: “Like what?”
Fresher: “Don’t know”
Welcome to university kid.
So this week began my 5th (yes count it) year at Brunel and unfortunately my last. In a way though there was some sweet irony to the whole thing because, once again, I’ve ended up back in halls where I first started at Brunel way back in ’08. Although it is not the same hall, the whole feeling of being back inside halls feels eerily reminiscent of 4 years ago.
I had no choice but to move back into halls, mainly because all my friends had to go and graduate and become adults, so moving back felt lonely. It was surprising how comforting it felt to have those people around, even if it was just to sit in a room and watch re-runs of The Big Bang Theory, because suddenly things have gotten very quiet. The first 2 days were especially bad so spending as much time as possible out of the room and keeping myself occupied was almost a must. Luckily that was the case and I was at the point of spending just 5 hours a day in the room (which mostly consisted of sleeping).
Yet at the same time, there was this buzzing excitement about this final year and what it may bring. Of course there is the standard 3am library sessions and poor dietary habits but nevertheless there is the feeling I have that this will be the final year where I have the sort of freedom to explore and express myself as I see fit. It is almost as if moving into halls has resulted in this giant yet imaginary countdown clock in my head counting down to the end of the year. Countdown currently says just 247 days left. That is not long at all.
Soon Brunel will be a memory and greener pastures will soon be approaching but for the time being, I am going to enjoy it, have as much fun as I can so that, come May, I won’t look back at Brunel as a debt.
Leaving is hard. Leaving Brunel can be even harder. I’m a prime example of that because I should have left Brunel twice now and yet I’m still here. Try and find Moxey and he’ll tell you even more (8 years and counting?!?). If you head out tonight, or if you were out last night depending on when you read this, you’ll see more drunken tears than drunken fights and that’s all down to what the spirit and community of Brunel that is created by its buzzing and diverse collection of students.
Within the next 12 hours, students will try to cram in as much nonsense as possible as they attempt to have one hell of an “epic” night. Tonight could well be one of the best nights of their student lives but the hangover could be one of the worst as they now attempt to live without Brunel and its community for 3 months before September rocks round all over again. For some it could even worse as tonight could well be the last time they step foot in Isambard’s Kingdom.
The Brunel community is something that should be admired as it squeezes its 16,000 strong into just a few square miles and being in such close quarters has created an amazing atmosphere where everyone knows everyone. Leaving something like this is naturally going to be hard. Brunel is one of a kind and leaving it, whether for a while or permanently, is going to be even harder.
It is not the buildings or the facilities. It is the people within Brunel that make it one hell of a university.
Brunel campus is notorious for being an abandoned concrete desert when the students aren’t around. The Christmas Holidays. Saturdays. 10am. It can often be an eerie place to be and many a time, my friends and I have said that it would be the perfect setting for a post-apocalyptic zombie film.
This Easter holiday was no exception. I was on campus this past Thursday with friends and witnessed first hand how empty the campus was. An odd and mysterious quiet was ever present, all the way from the Isambard Complex to the hugely necessary Eastern Gateway. I could count the number of people I saw on one hand and hear my voice echo throughout the campus.
You always hear stories of how the students are apathetic and unwilling to engage but at the heart of the problem is the university’s unwillingness to allow students to grow. The Easter holidays provide an opportunity for students to grow, along with revision of course, but the students aren’t allowed. The only building open was the library which means the University are saying ‘you must revise. Do not have fun’.
Bar facilities are closed. Shop facilities have limited to no hours. Even the sports facilities are shut. This is not only a slap in the face to the students who choose to stay there but it is an outright insult to the international students who have no choice but to stay here. Especially when they pay far far more than national students.
There is always the option of reaching outside of Brunel but at a time when academic pressures are at an all time high it shouldn’t be an option. Brunel is more than an academic institution. It’s a campus lifestyle that should be doing more than just encouraging people to sit in the library and revise. Whilst it is important, it should not be the only thing in a students life.
Brunel are saying ‘happy Easter. Now sit in your room and do nothing.’
- Would Brunel Benefit From A Political Awareness Week? (thesplodge.wordpress.com)
- Are Brunel Lectures Treating Us Like Children? (thesplodge.wordpress.com)
On 12th March 2012, I went to my very first Brunel Public Lecture as part of Brunel Universities Hidden Truth Lecture Series. It was a fantastic event and incredibly thought-provoking although it did get me thinking about something else. The lecture, which was attended by about 150 Brunel staff members and members of the public, not to mention 4 or 5 actual students that bothered to turn up, seemed to be remarkably different to all other lectures I’ve had over the last 4 years.
What I realised that despite being in “higher education”, I am still a victim of childish learning experiences. I do not believe that this is a challenge on the lecturers in particular but maybe it is a challenge on university education as a whole.
I witnessed an incredibly different lecture to the ones I pay £3,000 a year for. The public lecture, entitled Exploring E-Life: Big Brother or Brave New World, was thought-provoking and a wonderful experience to be a part of. I really felt as though I was learning something from the lecture as the speakers spoke with passion, drive and a real knowledge of the subject. The lectures that I get on a daily basis, in comparison, always seem unprepared, boring and if I’m honest, the lectures just read off handouts or the presentation slides.
I think I figured out why. Despite Brunel being classed as a “university”, the lectures teaching students is not their top priority. The academic members of staff are here year round, working on their own research and improving their own portfolio. The reason why lectures seem so unprepared and uninterested is because they are. Teaching their students is an afterthought to them and they probably see us students as more of an annoyance. Like the title of this peice suggests, our lectures teach us like children and they are too busy leading their adult lives to pay us any attention.
I also believe that it is not entirely the lecturers fault. The audience at the two lectures were remarkably different. At my daily lectures, there is this underlining desire to show off and be the best – to be the number 1 student in the class. It is always a competition even when it shouldn’t be. At the public lecture, everyone was equal. No-one was showing off, except the occasional oddball who asks a question just to hear the sound of his own voice. Everyone who turned up to the lecture was there to listen and to learn something new. The lack of competition and, in turn, pressure made it a much better experience.
So are Brunel lectures treating us like children? Yes and that is because we still are children. Even at the age of 21, I do not consider myself a fully grown adult and still have alot of experiences left in me, as well as a childish side to satisfy. I not expecting a lecturer to turn up at 9am and present a 30 minute presentation because I wouldn’t care or pay attention. I like the fact that my lecturer acknowledges that students go out and get drunk and won’t turn up at 9am.
At the end of the day, as long as lecturers and students are treating each other as equals, then that is the only way that the learning experience will be of benefit to both sides.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you treated like a child by your lecturers or are you a lecturer and do you students act like children in the classroom?
Today Brunel students had the opportunity to meet and discuss politics and much more with Eddie Izzard as he paid a visit to the Brunel campus in support of the Labour Party and mayoral candidate, Ken Livingstone.
Sitting in a packed out lecture theatre (the first time I’ve seen a room so busy in almost 4 years at Brunel), there was a jovial mood amongst the crowd, with the majority engaging and active politics students wanting an opportunity to quiz Eddie on his views. Not only on politics but on other aspects of his career.
The talk was chaired by Labour Society Chair Kerri Prince, with representatives from Labour, Conservates and even the Lib Dems turned up!
I had the priviledge of being front row as a “member of the press” and a camera in tow and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon experience.
Whilst I believed that some were there to heckle and cause a bit of trouble, Eddie focused more on engaging students with the voting experience rather than specifically supporting Ken and slating Boris Johnson. This is certainly a credit to him and many people seemed to warm to that. The talk would have become more of a lecture were he to turn up and just throwing abuse at Ken’s opponents.
Questions and answers between himself and the audience included topics such as:
- Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone
- The £9,000 tuition fees
- LGBT Issues
- His upcoming fundraising projects
- The Monarchy
- His potential ambitions to run for office in 2020.
Footage of the entire event will soon be available via the Labour Society website at www.brunelstudents.com. I would encourage all to watch, even if you just fancy a giggle!
I heard something on the grapevine. I heard that there are plans in place for a Political Awareness Week at Brunel University this February but will this event have the desired effect that people are hoping for? Well, like everything, there are two sides to this argument but first I’ll detail what I have heard so far. I’m not sure about the dates for this week but it will occur at some point in late February. Brunel’s political based societies will put on a series of events such as lectures and debates and give students, who currently have no knowledge or interest in political, a chance to engage. I’ve also been told that, for one week only, students will be allowed to join political societies, despite all applications being closed in October/November time. All in all, seems like it could be a really great week ahead.
If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s student apathy. It is a ridiculous stereotype that all students do is drink and occasionally stumble into the library for about 20 minutes before getting bored and go out drinking again. Times have changed and more and more students are getting involved in extra-curricular activities that could well benefit them, either in a professional or a personal way. Yet there is still a majority that live up to this stereotype of students who don’t care enough to get involved in the world around them and this week long event is exactly what is needed to shake up things a bit. Honestly, I wish these sorts of things happened more often than it does. Maybe there should be a Brunel Science Week where the Science based societies and courses have a “Brainiac” style week with bunsen burners and washing machines. Maybe invite Richard Hammond down. It could be a laugh. I applaud the students who want to try and open up the rather small world of student politics and get students involved because that is what universities do best.
Yet there is something that I can’t shake. A Brunel Political Awareness Week would almost seem redundant. I’m pretty certain that students are aware of politics but choose not to get involved actively. Why would they? The current government almost abandoned them when it comes to the taboo subject of tuition fees and, as far as I’m aware, not many students on campus actually bothered to vote this year. If I was thinking logically, if students who had a vested interest or did a politics based course, I would have joined one of the political societies at the beginning of the year, when there was over a month to have the chance too. I don’t know why now I would want to pick a side and start debating. There’s no logical reason for the date. Maybe it would be better to base the event around a political event such as the 2012 London Mayoral Election.
Now at this point I should state that I do not have much of an interest in politics and don’t really get the difference between the major political parties. Call me uneducated but there are other things on my life to focus on. I do have an interest in the student body and what the student body are up too so when I overheard this all on the grapevine, I definitely had some thoughts about how students may well perceive this.
Quite frankly though, if this event get students involved, gets them talking and gives them a chance to enhance their university experience, then I’m all for it.