February 16, 2005

LITTLE THINGS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE

I think getting the little things right is really important.

The Union spends a lot of time campaigning on the ‘big issues’ that effect our students (tuition fees, library core texts, exam timetables, buses etc…) however it often takes an excruciating amount of time to make progress in these areas… also if we’re honest these aren’t always the issues that really get under people’s skin.

People get pissed off when tiny little things they take for granted don’t work as well as they should. On the other hand a nice smile from someone serving you in a shop, or somebody waiting an extra second just to hold a door open for you can leave you in a good mood for the rest of the day.

I guess a positive or negative experience is really just a combination of lots of tiny little experiences. Cumulatively they can make the difference between a place seeming nice, or looking a mess, and between your day being bareable or being a pain. Of course the other beauty of ‘the little things’ is that they’re relatively easy to put right.

So, People of the Blogs, I want your feedback. Unleash your pent up rage and tell me:

WHAT LITTLE THINGS ON CAMPUS REALLY GET ON YOUR NERVES?

Ask your friends and get them involved too.

Here are my two biggest pet hates (besides the wobbly tables in Cholo – which I swear we’ll fix as soon as we’ve got the money!) to get you started:

1. The Purple Gravel Outside Humanities
What the hell is this about?!? It gets everywhere!! It looks hideous!! Why do it? What’s wrong with grass? Grass is green, soft, and easy on the eye. In fact I’m going out on a limb here and say that grass is pretty much a timeless classic. Purple gravel on the other hand?… not so much.

2. Tocil Desks
The desks in Tocil bedrooms are attached directly onto the wall with no gap down the back of them. This means that all the wires and cables for your computer, or stereo, can’t be hidden away round the back but have to be pilled higeldy pigeldy on top of the desk and even in some cases come over the front of it in order to reach a socket. Aaarrghhh!!!

I’m going to have to stop typing now – I’ve become too angry.


- 21 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. Hey Simon,

    How about RaW playing in the University's outlets such as Cafe Library/Social Studies etc.?

    Or…can we get the library to send out e-mail (NOT PAPER) reminders 24 hours before a book is due back (mainly for 2-week loans). So many people get caught out because they forget books are due back and are being punished a little bit unfairly. Especially considering how willing the library is to e-mail and letter you AFTER the book is due.

    And my pie-in-the-sky idea for 2005 – how about an outdoor plasma screen next to the Piazza, with union events displayed on it. I think it could pay for itself with advertising from companies, and would be far more visible than the acres of posters around campus that blend into a great mush!

    16 Feb 2005, 21:00

  2. I agree with number 2, but the purple gravel's great.

    Somebody should really tell Costcutter to stock more than the same two flavours of Kettle Crisps, but that isn't really the Union's jurisdiction I guess.

    16 Feb 2005, 21:01

  3. David

    Why is there no money to fix the wobbly tables in Cholo? Last time I went in there they were selling cups of Costcutter orange juice for 70p (the entire carton costs 70p retail in Costcutter) and then trying to make out the stuff they sell is 'heavily subsidised'. There's greasy spoons in London (most expensive city in the world, allegedly) that'd be ashamed to rip you off like that. And then the Union claim it's 'heavily subsidised'! I'd hate to see what non-subsidised food is like…oh wait, I remember, Xanana…

    16 Feb 2005, 22:03

  4. In no particular order:

    Automatic doors that don't work properly.
    There's only about four seats in the main foyer in the maths building.
    Squeeky doors in halls of residences.
    The machines in the laundrette not taking £2 coins and generally being evil (eating money).

    Nice one Simon, very happy to get that off my chest.

    16 Feb 2005, 22:37

  5. I agree with Michael about automatic doors, especially the ones at the front of the Arts Centre which are getting beyond a joke. Also the cover sheets you get whenever you print anything in the Universitiy's IT rooms. Also the flimsy plastic plate/bowl things and the disposable cutlery in the inanely named Café Library.

    17 Feb 2005, 00:28

  6. Good point – complete waste of paper every time you print something in the IT rooms.

    17 Feb 2005, 12:02

  7. Union doors being locked on Sundays and having to go through Union North just to get my caffeine fix from Rococo!

    No more kaleidoscope- what is the point of Cafe Library when it is hardly ever open?

    17 Feb 2005, 12:24

  8. anon

    the lack of advertising for the union to be 'pimped'.

    18 Feb 2005, 23:28

  9. The microclimate of the Resources Room… it's always etiher stifling hot or arctic in here… At the moment I feel like I'm in a sauna. It can't be that difficult to keep it at a reasonable temperature…

    Ooh, and as mentioned before, rubbish automatic doors. I'm glad it's not just me they seem to hate. I swear those Arts Centre ones actually closed on purpose last night when they saw me coming…

    19 Feb 2005, 12:35

  10. People that put up 50 identical posters on one noticeboard. Especially when i read 2 or three of them on a monday morning without realising. (NB – despite the joke it is something that seriously annoys me)

    On the occasions when RAW are in Cholo during the day, it being stupidly loud – I'm all for a bit of background music but people go there to have lunch or a cup of coffee and chat to thier friends, and would rather not have to shout. Note this is doubly worse when said radio station is broadcasting not music but a radio play – no-one goes to Cholo to listen to a radio play. Ever. Unless they're like in it. And probably not even then.

    People that arrange to meet you somewhere on campus and then show up half an hour late (okay that's probably out of your juristriction (sp) )

    20 Feb 2005, 02:58

  11. 1. Chris
    (a) I really like the idea of getting RaW and WTV played more widely across campus. In many places like Leeds the student radio station is pretty much the standard sound of campus life. I’ll look into this…
    (b) Hopefully we’ll soon be able to achieve this. The major stumbling block up to now has been that Institute of Education and WBS students have two e-mail accounts and don’t usually use the standard Warwcik account the library sends e-mails to. Should be sortable though…

    (c) This idea is great! We’re currently in discussions about what we’d want out of a redeveloped Union South. I’ll throw this into the pot.

    2. Joe
    (a) No Joe… it’s not great.
    (b) You’re right that I can’t do it myself, but Andrew Webb the Manager of Costcutters is a nice guy so I’ll pass on this request to him.

    3. David
    (a) I don’t really understand what you’re saying. Neither our food or our drinks are subsidised and we’ve never claimed anything of the sort. Instead they serve to fund all our other activates. The Union isn’t a greasy spoon – it’s an oftentimes 20 hour a day four storey entertainments venue which also runs a huge range of societies, sports clubs, and welfare, campaigning and representation functions. The finances of our situation aren’t quite as simple as you seem to assume. Think about it – If we were rolling in money I’d have fixed them already.

    4. Michael
    (a) Any particular automatic doors in mind? I know the ones in Costcutter always used to be a pain but they seem alright now…
    (b) Good point. I’ll look into this. It’s not like there isn’t enough space for a few more after all!!
    (c) I’ve just purchased a can of WD40 (I swear to God). If you tell me which doors you have in mind then I’ll come and spray it myself by the end of the week. That’s a promise.
    (d) You’re 100% right about the University run laundrettes. The absurdity of not having change machines in there just blows my mind. I’ll keep on going on about this until something changes. Plus I’m still uncomfortable with the way in which they’ve been outsourced. It makes it really hard to get a refund when it takes your money. Somebody owes me about £7.

    5. Luke
    (a) Ah ha – The Arts Centre doors. I’ll pass that along. Cheers Luke.
    (b) YES – THIS IS ONE OF MY PET HATES TOO. It was on my manifesto last year. I’ll get into this again.
    (c) Café Library… yeah that’s an issue.

    20 Feb 2005, 19:12

  12. 6. Chris
    (a) Just thinking about all that wasted paper is making my blood boil!!

    7. Eleanor
    (a) Sorry about that. I’ll have a look into it.
    (b) Oh Café Library…

    8. Anon
    (a) Sorry – This is a bit of a Sabb in-joke. X to the Z.

    9. Elizabeth
    (a) Tell me about it!! When Union North was first built it was meant to have air conditioning fitted throughout. In the end the project ran out of money and so it had to be abandoned. The result is that temperature control is a complete nightmare. For the last three weeks my office has been freezing! All I can suggest is that we keep circling around.
    (b) Damn those doors!

    10. Dean

    *a) You make a really legitimate point here. With the literally hundreds of activities vying for the attention of the student body at any given time, blanket postering has become a real favourite to make people notice you. What it also achieves though is to make it even harder for the other people to get their message out. There are a few things our team wants to do here to try and make a difference.
    First of all we’ve started making much better use of the Union website by placing regular articles on there with news and details about upcoming events.
    Secondly we’ve purchased some huge lockable notice boards with the University and will be placing them around campus in the very near future to so that official Union and University publicity will at least be separated out from everything else.
    Thirdly I’m looking with Kat and Gemma to establish a student activities area in Union North where we dedicate some space (possibly a couple of sizable pin boards at the bottom of the stairs) for the use of clubs and socs with events on that week. If we make sure to rip down anything that’s outdated or irrelevant then this should provide a nice easy reference point to find out exactly what’s happening on campus at any particular time.
    With any luck this should make some impact on the problem.
    (b) It’s true. Not everybody likes listening to the more banter-based sections of RaW – but some of their output is of really high quality and it is a huge personal development opportunity for the DJs so there’s not really much we can do about this.
    (c) Dean, if anybody is ever late to meet you again then let me know about it. I’ll sort them out.

    THANKS ALL – THIS HAS BEEN GREAT FEEDBACK

    KEEP IT COMING!!

    20 Feb 2005, 19:12

  13. Damn how did I miss this. Please disregard my other comment about blogging again.

    I'd say a great place to start would be looking through all the manifestos from the sabbatical elections, if you haven't already. I absolutely agree on the wasted paper in IT rooms there must be some more efficient way to signal which sheets are whose. One thing that frustrates me is how there always seems to be a large landscaping budget for campus (See the purple gravel, surely a landscaping budget spiralling out of control) and yet we always hear about funding difficulties for the library, underpaid lecturers and the need for more money comign in in tuition fees. Surely the first thing to go should be the landscaping budget and all those little trees and benches rather than books.

    20 Feb 2005, 20:47

  14. Actually I found one more little thing, the fact that you sir have the tounge of a lizard!

    20 Feb 2005, 23:32

  15. Thanks for the feeback, few more things that occured to me:

    If you do speak to the manager of Costcutter, could you find out what happened to the Walkers Paprika Max crisps? South Central bagguetes just arn't the same if not accompanied by a pack of them! Or maybe even start selling them in South Central if they're not bringing them back. Okay I'm just being greedy now.

    Re – RAW: I didn't in anyway want to criticise the people that make the spoken word sections of the programming – not had chance to listen to it myself but I'm sure its great. But to listening to a radio play needs most of your attention, much more so than listening to music or a few minutes of DJ banter, all I suggest is that when RAW are broadcasting live to Cholo, they perhaps adjust thier programming to fit, or broadcast something different through the PA they set up in Cholo during lengthy scheduled spoken word bits. Hmm….actually maybe it's more something for RAW to look at than you anyways.

    All the talk about air conditioning reminded me of one other thing – why is it always so cold in The Cooler at the sunday comedy nights – obviously it's colder in there than it is at say Score due to the reduced number of bodies and movement, but is there any kind of heating system in there at all that could be used. I'm sure it's worse that in was the last two years.

    21 Feb 2005, 18:27

  16. Are you serious about the squeeky doors?! That'd be legendary! I was thinking of the doors in my flat, Hurst 26, the kitchen door and my flatmates' doors (but not mine, cos it's shy).

    22 Feb 2005, 20:21

  17. For Information:

    I've since been round to Michael's flat and sprayed WD40 on the hinges of all the doors. The squeek is no more.

    24 Feb 2005, 15:42

  18. Yeah, thanks Simon. My flatmates and I can get full nights' sleep without being woken by annoying doors now. I've even made a cartoon about it:

    link

    25 Feb 2005, 10:55

  19. Hey Dean, the trouble with the speech output on RaW is that it's one of the most labour-intensive parts of the schedule and so deserves a high-profile slot. And we define that as being when we're on in Cholo. However, we'd probably admit it doesn't always work in there because of the ambient noise, but there's not much we can do. Now we're off FM, there'll be far less speech-output and presumably more music, especially at lunchtime. We'll probably think about the speech-output scheduling again next year and keep Cholo in mind.

    06 Mar 2005, 10:32

  20. Anon

    Impressed about the squeak solving … but its SQUEAK not squeek… Phew, I had to say that .. :)

    08 Apr 2005, 23:42

  21. s

    Simon for Prime Minister

    18 Apr 2005, 15:50


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