All 3 entries tagged Union
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April 30, 2006
Yet again our on–campus residential Internet connection, Resnet, is in an abysmal state. This is nothing particularly new though, as it has had bad periods all year. What is annoying me at present is that there doesn't seem to be any official pressure on the University to sort it out.
The infrastructure was set up a few years ago by an external company contracted by the University to provide network access to the residences. While it worked reasonably well for the first few years it apparently began to suffer significant problems last year and finally the university terminated the contract at the beginning of this academic year. ITS immediately had to take over running the network which by this time was in a pretty sorry state.
Another factor comes in to play here. In past years file sharing had been going on inside the campus network by means of an internal only system (I'll leave out the details but I think everyone knows them). A few people downloaded the large files from outside the campus network and then propagated them internally putting little strain on the link to the outside world. At some point before or at the beginning of this academic year the University (not ITS) took the decision to outlaw the use of this particular system and ITS accordingly set about brining down any of these 'hubs' that appeared. The result, rather predictably, is that everyone now uses systems to download from off–campus such as BitTorrent, which puts an absolutely huge strain on the external link and cannot so easily been shut down. The original contractors had set up a network that simply is not capable of withstanding this sort of load but, up until the University's P2P ban, this had not been a problem. Whatever your opinion on the University’s decision politically, they did rather shoot themselves in the foot.
This is what ITS have to deal with and I really don't blame them for failing to begin with because they simply weren't prepared for it. However, it is now 6 months down the line and the situation is no better. ITS clearly don’t have the resources to cope with running both Resnet and the main campus network, including all its associated problems like security incidents and the E–mail system and so the university should have done something to sort it out by now. Simply putting pressure on ITS to deal with it isn't going to help so really they ought to be providing the resources to help them do their job or maybe even recontracting Resnet out to a more competent, established company and not just the cheapest deal this time!
The students union, while happy to campaign on various things that have little or no bearing on students here at Warwick, seem to be completely absent from this issue which definitely is affecting real students right here and now. There was a brief intervention by the Students Union in the form of a motion demanding compensation from Warwick Accommodation for a group of students who were without a connection for some time but I don't feel this was particularly useful for anyone except those directly involved. What I'd like to see is the students union demanding that the university get the situation sorted out as soon as possible. While Resnet is not officially part of our contract with Warwick Accommodation, the university continue to publicise our 'always on high speed internet connection' to prospective students and this is now just an out right lie. I'd like to see the union threaten the university with making it clear to these prospective students that this simply isn't true. Hopefully it won't come to that but something has to be done to make the university take this problem seriously.
Thinking about it, the union should demand that the provision of internet become part of the contracts with Warwick Accomodation so that any signifcant failures next year can be dealt with properly.
October 29, 2005
I was wandering around campus earlier with a south central baguette. I'd gone there having discovered I had absolutely no food at home and south central was where we always used to go last year during lab days.
I was thinking to myself how annoying it is that the price has gone up this year and that the bread never seems to be perfectly cooked anymore then it occured to me that it was infact still good food. It's just that it doesn't seem as great as it was last year.
For £2, those baguettes are fairly large, you have a choice of loads of different fillings all of which are reasonably good, it's not like its really cheap manky ingredients. The bread is baked(mostly) fresh on premisis (I think) and the various mixtures seem freshly prepared aswell. I usually go for the prawn or the makeral as I do like fish and I'm not personally a lover of sticky chicken mixtures. It's quite quick to get served and pay even when there is a massive queue and it was the only decent lunch I could get last year when I lived in leamington and was stuck on campus. So I decided in conclusion South Central is still excellent, even if not quite as superb as last year it's still damn good and is a credit to the Union (especially when you consider what the University has to offer). After thinking all of this, I decided to come and write this entry as an 'anti-rant', as I think I moan about things far too much.
Feeling slightly more positive about life I wandered into the union and got this weekend's signup list which wasn't rediculously full for a change, then wandered to our pigeon whole room and checked the weather for sunday (not great but then it is almost winter so what do you expect??). I also got a cup of tea from 'Cafe Library', always a good boost and wandered to my computing lecture. During all of this I saw several people I know, which is nice because one problem this year has been that most of my friends have graduated and I didn't seem to know many people anymore. So I've decided with all this very out of character positivity that I shall try to always inter-space my rants with anti-rants of some sort, find something positive for every moan I make.
October 08, 2005
I did promise myself I wouldn't use this blog to winge, but I want to see what people think about this brand new shiny warwick sport. I couldn't seem to find any recent discussion of it on the blogs.
I run the gliding club this year and did so last year. We are technically a sports club and so fall under the control of the Sports Federation and now Warwick Sport. Despite this we are not a typical sports club, i.e I don't think we've ever been to score and most of our members come on our trips only once or twice through the year.
The thing about Warwick Sport that most people outside of sports seem to be complaining about is the membership fee which is now £30 rather than the old Sports Federation's £15. The increase is supposedly to pay for the sports centre facilities and to go to the club's budgets which were apparently being underfunded in previous years. It's true, our budget has gone up by 50% on last year and we are using this to subsidise the flying of our members so the saving is passed on.
On the other hand, we don't use the sports centre. We dont need a gym, sports health support or anything like that. We especially don't need the swimming pool for gliding, unless we wanted to attempt a water landing or something I guess. So I not sure why we are paying for this.
Personally I can cope with the student membership fee increase to £30, but I have slightly more problem with the associate membership fee, which has risen from around £45 or something last year to £130. Their argument for this goes along the lines of 'we want all the funding to benefit students only and not pay for people who arn't part of the university'. This is a fair argument in theory, until you look at clubs like us (I'd guess that it applies to quite a few others aswell).
It takes quite a few years to get into gliding. Flying is not like playing football or swimming which most people can do, at least vaguely, when they start uni. So all of our more enthusiastic members are usually in their last year. These are people who run the trips, are on the exec and organise everything. It's not exactly simple running trips to the airfield, its quite a hazerdous place with lots going on and no amount of union risk assesments, impact courses or other assorted paperwork will stand in for a trip leader who knows what they are doing. This year all these sort of people have graduated, leaving me to run the club by myself. Being nice people, they are willing to drive all the way from wherever they are in the country, run trips for the club and help out organising things. So now, we repay their dedication to helping the new student members by trying to charge them £130 for the privelidge of helping run things. Does this seem wrong to anyone else?
To be fair, Zain, the new sports officer has been trying to find a way around this because he agrees I can't run the club by myself and the student members will suffer from the charge. He seems to be taking quite a long time to sort this out though and in theory, he is the head of the Sports Federation. He is a sabatical officer and should have a lot of control over the students union sports organisations. I don't know this for sure, but I just get the feeling that he doesn't actually have the same power now that Warwick Sport is under joint control of the university and the student's union. Have we sold off our sports federation?
Another more minor annoyance is that Lisa, the sports administrator and all the sports clubs admin is now in the sports centre, but yet the union computer systems, club pigeon holes and Zain, the sports officer are still in Union North. I have spent much of the past few weeks walking between the two buildings.
I have heard from a few people that the overall memberships are significantly down from previous years. Our's is a little less than normal but then it always tends to grow steadily throughout the year.
I'd like to hear what other clubs think about the new Warwick Sport to see what the general feeling is, especially if any other clubs have the problem with associate memberships that we do.