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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Christmas dinner

Thank you to everyone who helped out at Christmas dinner last week.

I was delighted that we could continue our Connaught Hall tradition of having our own residents play live music throughout dinner and for members of my team to serve residents their dinner at the table. And of course, the kitchen staff did a wonderful job of decorating the dining hall and preparing a really super meal for us all. As well as all this planned work, a number of students generously - and without being asked - gave their time to help with organisation on the day. Thank you again to everyone.

Photographs of our Christmas dinner are now online: http://www.flickr.com/photos/connaughthall/sets/72157603501357815/?page=3.

I wish everyone at Connaught Hall a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Christmas address

Technical difficulties have prevented the podcast of my Christmas dinner speech being uploaded. This was the text of my speech:

I said in my speech to the welcome buffet this year that I hoped you would all quickly settle into the Hall and make it your home; and I see evidence every day that you are doing just that: there is a real sense of community at Connaught Hall this year, and I know many of you have made friendships here already that will endure long beyond your time at University.

And I hope events like Christmas dinner and party, the Christmas tree dressing last Thursday, and our night out on Foundation Day, when 20 students from Connaught Hall had a chance to meet Princess Anne, help you to meet people you otherwise would never get to know.

I also said in my welcome speech that I wanted discipline to be a very minor part of my role this year - and I'm happy to say this wish has also come true. So thanks are due to all of you for that.

The Residents' Club Committee has been very active this term. As well as numerous Christmas-themed events in these last two weeks, they've organised three parties and a talent show; they've taken residents on trips to the theatre and the cinema; a group of residents went to Cambridge for a day; and several sports tournaments have either already taken place or are planned in the near future.

The Officers of the Club have also been active in helping to represent your views to Hall staff and to contractors like the catering department. The Club's financial situation is healthy and I hope they will continue to organise activities for you all to get involved in next year.

Now, the Residents' Club Committee are your representatives in Hall; if you think they should be doing things differently, or if you have suggestions for events they could organise or causes to support, I know they will be glad to receive your constructive feedback by email or in person. They are also currently considering ways in which they can engage more residents in the decision-making process in Hall.
If we all work together we can contribute to an even more dynamic and outward-looking, more representative, Residents' Club.

We have had a few problems with the lift and with one or two catering issues; but I hope you will agree that we've all engaged in constructive dialogue about these things and largely resolved them.

There will be some refurbishment work taking place over the Christmas vacation, and those of you who regularly use the bar in particular should notice some improvements when it reopens in January.

Most of you will be leaving Connaught Hall for a few weeks over Christmas.
If you are going away, make sure you have claimed your meal rebate and that you leave your key and swipe card at reception when you sign out.

If you're staying here during the vacation, remember that some of our meals will be provided at International Hall and Hughes Parry Hall but Connaught will otherwise be open as usual; the Senior Members and I will be here throughout if you need any help.
As always, get in touch if you have any suggestions; we can only make things better with your help.

If you are travelling during the holidays, I wish you a safe journey and look forward to seeing you back relaxed and refreshed next year.

And I wish you all a wonderful, happy Christmas, and a successful new year.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Common rooms

We've had a couple of problems with the common rooms in recent weeks, so I want to make sure everyone is clear about the best way to use the common rooms whilst ensuring other residents are not inconvenienced.

There are some rules about using the common rooms, posted on the doors to the common rooms, and you can view this poster by clicking here.

The key things to remember are:

1. There are bedrooms immediately opposite and adjacent to both common rooms. They do have proper concrete walls (rather than the thin plasterboard that separates many bedrooms from one another) so it's ok to talk at normal volume in the common rooms any time. But they are not an appropriate place to hold a party at night: as with any other area of the building, no noise should be audible from outside the common rooms between 11pm and 7am.

2. Please don't "reserve" common rooms. They are for eveyone. If you need a room to study in, talk to someone in the Bursar's Office well in advance and they will see if there is anything they can do to help.

3. Leave the common rooms tidy. If everyone picks up their own rubbish and puts it in the bin, the room will be in a useable state for the next resident who wants to use it. They're only cleaned once every morning!

Christmas tree dressing

Thank you to everyone (all 30 or 40 of you) who helped to decorate the Hall's two Christmas trees on Thursday. The trees look great.

I thought the mince pies and mulled wine were pretty good, and it seemed as though everyone involved enjoyed the chance to dress a Christmas tree - one of those things that you don't realise you will miss at home when you move to University!

On Friday is our Hall Christmas dinner. All residents are invited and you can see the menu and programme of entertainment here. You can also see the photos from past Christmas dinners at Connaught Hall.