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Saturday, 27 September 2014

Register online at your new Connaught Hall address to vote in local (council), national (parliamentary), and European elections

www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

The following is an important message from the Electoral Registration Office:




Registering to vote - Students

In June 2014, the way we register students changed. Where we would previously ask for a list of residents from your hall of residence and then register everyone who qualifies, the onus is now on you, the individual student, to register yourself. 
The registering process can now be done online and is simple and straightforward. You will need to enter your date of birth and your national insurance number. The registering process will take less than three minutes.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO INCLUDE YOUR ROOM NUMBER IN HALL.
The new register will be published on the 1st December 2014, so please don't delay your registration. Failure to register, whether it be online or in paper form, will result in a canvasser coming to your door to help you complete a form.
You could exercise your right to vote as early as the 7th May 2015 (if you qualify to vote for this election) as we will be holding Parliamentary Elections on that day. 
Please click the link below and you will be taken to the online portal where you can register.
www.gov.uk/register-to-vote


Who is eligible to vote?


You can register to vote if you are:

1) at least 16 years old; and 
2) (a) a British citizen or 
    (b) an Irish, qualifying Commonwealth or European Union citizen who is resident in the UK.

If you are 16 or 17, you can only register if you will be 18 within the lifetime of the electoral register. You cannot vote until you are 18.

If you are a citizen of a European Union or Commonwealth country, and resident in the UK, you are eligible to register to vote in UK elections. To qualify, Commonwealth citizens must be resident in the UK and either have leave to enter or remain in the UK or not require such leave. The definition of a 'Commonwealth citizen' includes citizens of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.

Citizens of the European Union (who are not Commonwealth citizens or Citizens of the Republic of Ireland) can vote in European and local elections in the UK, and some referendums (based on the rules for the particular referendum) but are not able to vote in UK Parliamentary general elections.

See more at http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/who_can_register_to_vote.aspx

Monday, 22 September 2014

Welcome speech delivered at dinner on Sunday 21st September

Hello everyone. I’m Adrian, your Warden.

My first task tonight is to extend you all a very warm welcome to Connaught Hall. I am so pleased that you have joined us at Connaught, and I’ve really enjoyed meeting and getting to know so many of you over the last two weekends. And I hope you feel at home here very quickly.

I read something in the newspaper last week that I thought was worth sharing:
The fundamental law of freshers week is that everyone is terrified and insecure, and it's just a game of who can hide it best. Freshers week is probably not the time you'll meet the people who you will become best friends with. To be honest, it's more about surviving and attempting to have fun in this strange and overwhelming new world you've been thrown into. But it can be the time when you sow the seeds for friendships that you'll come to depend on.

So while you’re busy feeling a bit nervous about everything but pretending you’re not, remember all the people sitting around you are thinking and pretending exactly the same thing. And let me assure of this: you will make some amazing friends at Connaught Hall this year – friendships that I hope will last a lifetime. And I really hope you will look back on this year as one of the best of your life.

Now, I want to share something very important with you. Something that I need your help with.

My goal here in Hall is for everyone to feel safe, happy, and a sense of belonging in our Hall community. That’s my mission. And I want you to share it with me. Starting tonight, help me to make Connaught Hall “home” not just for you but also for everyone else around you right now.

How can we do it? Well, it’s actually very simple.

I’m going to suggest four easy rules that you can use to make your life better this term.


Rule number one: 
Get involved in some of the exciting opportunities the next few weeks will offer you. 

Come to our events, use your Hall bar, stand for election to the Residents’ Club Committee. That’s how you can best meet people.


Rule number two:
Be yourself, but be interested in other people.

Then you will make friends with people who like you for who you really are. And you'll make those friends much more quickly by being genuinely interested in the people you meet.


Rule number three: 
Take time to relax.

Some of you will want to go out and get drunk seven nights a week every week this term. You might even feel under pressure to do that. You don't have to. It’s a myth that students spend all their time at parties. Overdoing the partying side of things will exhaust you more quickly than you might think. Take some time out for yourself, relax, go for a jog, go shopping. Not everything has to be about alcohol.

Others of us might choose to study in the library almost every waking hour. Don’t do that either – that’s just as damaging for your health as going to a party every night. Your grades won’t reflect all that extra work and you will not feel good.

So take some time out for yourself.


Rule number four:
Consider your neighbours in Hall.

In particular, try to be quiet when they want to study or sleep. I have seen from too much experience that conflict between two neighbours in Hall makes both of them really unhappy. Don’t be one of those people!

You can go one step further than just not annoying your neighbours: look out for them, too. Talk to them, listen to them, help them if you can.



So those are my four rules for staying happy. But what if you have “down” times? Well, here’s the biggest secret nobody ever told you: 

it’s OK to ask for help.

So who do you ask? There are people all around you who are ready to listen, to advise, and to help if things get tough. Here in Hall, my team of Senior Members and I help the Hall community grow together, look after you when you need a bit of support, and help you resolve conflicts with other residents. This year, my Senior Members are: Becca, Bill, Jing, Jon, and Leah.

I’m a doctor in the emergency department at University College Hospital. The senior members are all students in at least their fourth year of university study. 

You can talk to us about anything. Anything at all.

If you need some practical help with something inside the Hall, we’re really lucky at Connaught to have a fantastic hall management team who look after the building and all the facilities and services you use every day – so that’s things like catering, maintenance, security, cleaning, the laundrette, and all the really useful stuff.

Alice is our Hall Manager, Julie is her assistant, and we also have Dave working with us at the moment. They’re both based in the office behind reception and they’re very happy for you to pop in talk to them during their office hours.

You can also write to us with any ideas, suggestions, or complaints about pretty much anything in Hall at our suggestion box address. It’s well publicised in the Hall Handbook, online, and on posters in reception and in the dining hall. We really do want to hear from you. We will always reply and will always do our best to take action on your suggestions wherever possible.

Now, if you really want to get involved in the Hall, stand for election to the Residents’ Club Committee in the second week of October. All Connaught Hall residents are eligible to stand for election. The five residents who get voted in will be in charge of the bar, and will organise all this year’s parties and social, entertainment, and sporting events. They get a budget to spend and meet regularly with me and my team.

Being on the committee is a great way to get to know everyone in Hall, to influence how things run, and it’s a very good point to have on your CV. So think about getting involved and talk to me or one of the outgoing committee members about it.

Or you might want to join the Facilities Committee or the Multicultural Students’ Forum. Again, you are all eligible to join these committees and they are a very good way to get more involved in the life of the Hall.

We will post information about the Residents’ Club elections, the Facilities Committee, and the Multicultural Students’ Forum over the next week or so. So make sure you are following us on Facebook, or Twitter, or Tumblr, or whatever is your preferred social platform we're on pretty much everything.

OK, well, thank you for listening tonight. Please get in contact if you need any help, or want to make any suggestions. Remember the bar is staying open until late. I hope to see lots of you there later.

And now, in our usual Connaught tradition, let’s raise a toast:

To a very happy and successful year for all of us!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

First-floor balconies - important safety message

The following message was sent by email to residents in first-floor rooms with a balcony. It's posted here for everyone else's attention, in case you're visiting someone in one of those rooms.

Rooms 101 to 128 do afford a lovely view of Tavistock Square, and their balconies are a very nice feature. But regrettably, it is not allowed to go out onto the balcony.

The balconies (and their railings) on the first floor are not structurally certified to be able to support your weight. It is unsafe to stand or sit on the balcony.

Your Hall Handbook says this in section 14.1:

It is strictly forbidden – and extremely dangerous – for residents or their guests to gain access to, or attempt to gain access to, the roof of the main building, the roof of the dining hall, or any ledges or parapets on the Hall exterior, including first-floor balconies.





Friday, 19 September 2014

FAQ: Getting to Connaught Hall from Heathrow or Gatwick airports

Getting from Heathrow to the Hall

Your options are taxi (convenient but expensive), Heathrow Express train (fast but expensive), Heathrow Connect train, or the Underground (easy and cheap, but slow and can be very crowded).

Taxi / minicab

Black cabs stop at the taxi ranks outside all five terminals at Heathrow. You can also book a taxi or minicab in advance online here: heathrowairport.com/transport-and-directions/taxis-and-minicabs

You should expect to pay anything up to £90 for a taxi to Connaught Hall from Heathrow.

Heathrow Express to Paddington

Tickets

Book tickets for the Heathrow Express train, direct from the airport non-stop to London Paddington station, online at www.heathrowexpress.com. Tickets cost around £20.

Finding the train in the arrivals terminal

If you’re arriving at Terminal 1 or Terminal 3, follow signs for Trains to reach Heathrow Central station.
In Terminal 5, the station is at basement level and reached by lift or escalator.
In Terminal 4, take the inter-terminal shuttle to Heathrow Central.

Onward journey: Paddington to Euston Square

The Heathrow Express will take you to London Paddington. The journey time is about 15 minutes.

When you get off the train at Paddington, follow the signs for the co-located Underground station and take an eastbound train on either the Circle Line or Hammersmith & City Line to Euston Square. 

Connaught Hall is a 7-minute walk from Euston Square.

Heathrow Connect to Paddington

The Heathrow Connect train departs from the same place as the Heathrow Express, and also takes you to Paddington Station. However, this train stops at other stations along the route. The journey time is about 25 minutes and the ticket price around £10. More information and online ticket booking here: www.heathrowconnect.com.

Underground (Picadilly Line) to Russell Square

Follow the signs for the Underground at any of the terminal buildings. You can buy a ticket at the Underground stations, costing around £5.

Heathrow is on the Picadilly Line. Take the train to Russell Square (journey time around 1 hour).

Connaught Hall is about a 7-minute walk from Russell Square.



Getting from Gatwick to the Hall

It’s best to travel by train from Gatwick Airport to central London. There are three different train services: Gatwick Express, Southern Trains, and First Capital Connect. The railway station at Gatwick Airport is located at the South Terminal, but is just a few minutes from the North Terminal by a free shuttle.

Gatwick Express to London Victoria

This non-stop train service to London Victoria runs every 15 minutes with a journey time of 30 minutes. Ticket prices are around £16 to £20. Information & tickets: www.gatwickexpress.com.

When you arrive at London Victoria, follow the signs for the co-located Underground station and take a northbound train on the Victoria Line to Euston Station. 

Connaught Hall is about a 5-minute walk from Euston.

Southern Trains to London Victoria

Southern trains services to London Victoria run four times an hour with a journey time of around 35 minutes. Ticket prices are around £12 to £18. Information & tickets: www.southernrailway.com.

First Capital Connect to St Pancras

Services to St Pancras International run four times an hour with a journey time of between 30 and 45 minutes. Ticket prices are around £15 to £20. Information & tickets: www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk.

Connaught Hall is about 12 minutes’ walk from St Pancras, or you can take a black cab for around £5.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Warden's speech at welcome dinner on Sunday 14th September




Hello everyone. I’m Adrian Clark, your Warden.

Let’s say a big thank you to the kitchen staff for preparing tonight's meal for us.

Tonight, you get the short version of my speech. I thought it simply wasn’t really fair to put you through the same speech three times over the next three weekends, just because you’re the first people to arrive!
Well, my first job tonight is to extend you all a very warm welcome to Connaught Hall. Wherever you’ve come from, whatever you’re studying, I look forward to meeting you – if we haven’t met already – and I hope you settle in and feel at home here very quickly.
You might have seen this logo on a poster at the front door. It symbolises how we respect, enjoy, and celebrate diversity in our Hall community – and I hope you will join us in making everyone sitting around you now feel welcome and at home here.
Connaught Hall has a reputation for being the friendliest and most social hall in London – this year, keeping up that reputation is down to you. So I hope this year will be one that you look back on as one of the best of your life.


And we’re all here to help make sure you do. This is my team. Becca, Bill, Jing, Jon, and Leah. I’m a doctor in the emergency department at University College Hospital. The senior members are all students in at least their fourth year of university study. We’re here to help the Hall community grow together, look after you when you need a bit of support, and help you resolve conflicts with other residents. Talk to me or a Senior Member if you’re feeling lost, sad, or anxious about something. We’re here to listen to you. We all have down times. And it’s OK to ask for help.
  


We’re really lucky at Connaught Hall to have a fantastic hall management team who look after the building and all the facilities and services you use every day. Alice is our Hall Manager, Julie is her assistant, and we also have Dave, our admin. assistant, with us for a little while longer. They’re based in the office behind reception and they’re very happy for you to pop in talk to them during their office hours.

 

You can also write to us with any ideas, suggestions, or complaints about pretty much anything in Hall at this suggestion box address. It’s well publicised in the Hall Handbook, online, and on posters in reception and in the dining hall. We really do want to hear from you. We will always reply and will always do our best to take action on your suggestions wherever possible.
Another way you can shape what happens in Hall this year is by standing for election to, or voting for, the Residents’ Club Committee, who organise most of the social, sports, and entertainment events in Hall. I’ll talk more about that next week.
Now, the last bit of advice I have for you tonight is that the bar is staying open until 10:30, so maybe it’s time for another drink? But before you run off to the bar, let’s make a toast with the last drops of whatever drink you got earlier… 
To a very happy and successful year for all of us!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

FAQ: How does the health service work in England?

Most healthcare in England is free of charge on the National Health Service if you’re a student planning to stay for longer than six months.

To make best use of the health service, you must be registered with a general practitioner (GP). We very strongly urge you to register with a GP within your first few weeks in London.

If you need urgent healthcare advice or treatment, check out this guidance: http://goo.gl/4JIujo.

Some colleges operate their own health service:

  • UCL: University Health Centre – telephone 020 7387 6306. 
  • LSE: Health Service – telephone 020 7955 7016. 
Other colleges are affiliated to 20 Gower Street Practice – telephone 020 7636 7628:
  • ALL OTHERS (excluding UCL and LSE). 
  • KCL: Register at 20 Gower Street or at one of the three KCL Health Centres. Contact KCL for further details


FAQ: I’m an international student. Do I have to register with the local police?

Students from some countries do need to register with the Metropolitan Police. If you need to register, it will say so on your visa in your passport or biometric residence permit.

If your visa does not say that you have to register with the police, then you do not need to register.

FAQ: Can I have a guest to stay overnight?

You’re allowed to have someone stay with you in your room up to ten nights per calendar month. That could be a single stay of ten nights, or ten separate one-night stays, or anything in-between.

All you have to do is tell the security officer when your guest arrives how long you want them to stay for. You will complete a one-line sign-in sheet, and the security officer will issue a temporary pass for your guest.

If you want a guest for more than ten nights in one month, or if you want to have two or more overnight guests at the same time, you must seek the Warden’s permission in writing. Email the Warden at least seven days in advance at warden@connaught-hall.org.uk.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Meet our staff and senior members for 2014-15:

Photos of our Hall Manager, Assistant Manager, Warden, and five Senior Members for this academic year, on our Connaught Hall Tumblr:

http://connaughthall.tumblr.com/post/96604455816/connaught-hall-staff-senior-members-for-the

Diversity at Connaught Hall

We heard from an external speaker yesterday that 40% of people who are bullied at school think that it will be the same at University.

Not here. We don't tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind. So we are excited to share our new diversity message:


Welcome to Connaught Hall

This is a safe space for everyone. Please join us in respecting and celebrating all our residents, staff, and guests, of every age, race, religion, sexuality, nationality, disability, and gender identity.

Contact the Warden if you have any questions or concerns about equality and diversity in our Hall.