Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Our students deserve the very best"...but at what price?

The official re-dedication of Queen's Student's Union took place last week with an academic procession from the University to the newly refurbished Union building. The £9 million facelift was much-needed in order to comfortably accomodate the larger student populus than that which existed when the Union was first opened 40years ago.

According to Vice-Chancellor, Peter Gregson Queen's commitment to the welfare of its students who "deserve the very best" is clearly evident, of which the "magnificent refurbishment is a tangible symbol".

It seems a pity then that there was no refurbishment of the Mandela Hall, the Bunatee Bar or the Speakeasy, some of the parts of the Union which are most frequented by the students. As well as this the Beech Room and Snack Bar have remained dormant and untouched since the refurbishment began last year.

The newly elected executive have vowed to see that these areas are made use of - perhaps an idea may be a resonably priced area to eat. The current eateries (aside from the small selection of food available in the Bunatee Bar) are over-priced to say the least. Clements is attractive to the eye with its multi-coloured lights and modern lay-out but should students really be subjected to £1.50 for a regular cup of coffee - as one student interviewed pointed out that's hot water mixed with dry granules. Cloisters provides a wide range of food but at £2.35 for a coke and pizza SLICE students may find themselves heading across the road to the Parlour where they can enjoy a small pizza and wedges combo meal for £3.50.

Our Union should be student friendly. Those who are limited to one hour for lunch in a 9-5pm day of class should not have to walk to Stranmillis or Botanic to afford a meal. Unions across England pride themselves on cheap food and drink offers while here a hot dog alone will set the average student back £2.50.

The Queen's commitment to welfare clearly doesn't extend to favouring student needs over privatisation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the refurbishment was partially funded by loans secured on the back of the SU's trading activity. i.e. contracts with these big catering corporations who are currently bum-raping skint students for cash.

I would at least like too see the introduction of free water fountains around campus. when i'm thirsty i don't want to have to pay £1.20 for a bottle of water.

Boycott of the CU anyone??

Preston, this is your legacy........
As usual, elected representatives do nothing for us.....

3/26/2007 9:30 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

In fairness this is the legacy of Mary Durkan and Jonny Hill. Mary set the wheels in motion of the current refurbishment and Jonny Hill signed the Union up to a 25 year morgage for this renovation work.

Given that most of the work has simply been a facelift it's debatable whether we're getting good value for our £9 million investment. A lot of it's going to look shabby in less than 10 years never mind 25.

As for the University saying this gives us a Union that can cater for 24,000 students. The Beech Room is unused, the Snack Bar under used & run down and the unit at the front of the building on your left as you come into the Foyer is used for coats.

One wonders what did the 6000-8000 students we had 15 years ago do when all this space was open and used to it's full potential?

3/28/2007 3:46 pm  

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