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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Christmas dinner speech by the Warden, Friday 11 December 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, good evening! I hope you have enjoyed our Christmas dinner so far.

It couldn't happen without a lot of hard work from our catering team, so let's say thank you to them... And let's show our appreciation for Dorothy, our pianist; Laura, our photographer; and everyone who helped set up the dining hall and the bar today...And a final big thank you to the Residents' Club Committee: Isaiah, Kiyomi, Janós, Rory, Sonny, and Benjy who have put in weeks of organising for tonight.

But the real stars of this term have been you, ladies and gentlemen. Every one of you. In just a few months, your lives have completely changed from how they were at the beginning of 2015. So you can justifiably be proud that you're here tonight, in the company of your new friends, in a warm, supportive community that you have built together. 

So far, I've enjoyed this year more than any I can remember. So please accept my personal thanks for the part you have played in shaping this year in hall. 

Now, it's time for me close. Coming up, we have some after-dinner entertainment headed up by Rory. Then I hope you will join in singing some Christmas songs with us. The words are on your table. 

If you're travelling for the holidays, I wish you safe journeys.

And wherever you will be, I wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy, prosperous new year. 

So now please raise your glass for a toast... To a merry Christmas!

Friday, 4 December 2015

Noise complaints on the increase

We've been dealing with an increased number of noise complaints recently. So this would be a good time for everyone to review our rules & expectations about noise, and our top tips for preventing noise from souring the relationship between you and your neighbours:


Expectations & rules about noise
• We should all be able to study or rest without unreasonable disturbance from others at any time.
Residents — or their guests — who are unable to adhere to these guidelines will face disciplinary
action and possible removal from the Hall.
• You must make no noise audible from outside your room between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am.
• Excessively loud music and other noise are not allowed at any time of day. The Warden or his nominated Deputy (normally the Duty Senior Member) shall be the arbiter of whether noise is excessive, and his/her decision shall be final.
• If your neighbour asks you to be quieter, you must respond politely and cooperatively. 


Five top tips for reducing accidental noise
1. Talk to one another
• Respect others’ needs for quiet time: they may want to sleep or study at different times from you. Being unable to sleep or work when you need to can make you annoyed and stressed, and can seriously impact on your quality of life.
• So agree on quiet times with your neighbours, and other times when it might be ok to make a bit more noise. You can only do this by asking them: “Am I too noisy sometimes? How can I make it better for you?”
• Be polite and try to help if your neighbour knocks on your door and asks you to quieten down; next time it might be you asking for quiet!
2. Think carefully about how sound travels
• Most of us have at least eight immediate neighbours: one either side, three above, and three below. But when you’re thinking about noise, you should consider everyone on your section of corridor to be a neighbour, too.
• Our walls, floors, and ceilings are quite thin and transmit sound readily. You don’t have to be having a huge party to be making too much noise.
• It’s easy to cause noise for your neighbours without realising it, especially for anyone who lives underneath you: something dropping on the floor can make a really loud bang downstairs!
• Please, whenever you are up after 11pm, think very carefully if what you are doing might be keeping your neighbour awake, especially if you have visitors in your room.
3. Take your friends to a common room at night
• If you have more than one visitor after 11pm, it’s best to go to one of the common rooms, so as to avoid disturbing anyone.
4. Be extra quiet when you’re in the corridors after 11pm
• Noise travels further than you think, so talk quietly in corridors; and don’t run or shout in hallways or stairwells. One loud shriek or giggle could wake up everyone on the corridor.
• Pull doors closed quietly and push the handle down so the lock doesn’t click, especially at night. Slamming doors (especially when you have several friends in your room, maybe going to and from the bathroom) are one of the commonest noise complaints.
5. Be quiet when you’re outside the building, too
• In the garden, keep noise down at all times: even a little noise here echoes around the courtyard and can disturb people in rear-facing bedrooms.
• Outside the front of the building, don’t shout late at night: you can wake up almost half the Hall whose bedrooms face onto the square.


If you're suffering because of noise, we have a whole page of guidance that will help us to help you deal with the problem efficiently and effectively: noise.connaught-hall.org.uk

We can make the most effective types of intervention only if you call reception while the noise is still happening.

Stay happy and healthy this winter

This winter, we're running a social media campaign about #WinterWellbeing. The campaign includes stuff about physical and mental health, as well as practical tips for surviving the cold and dark winter months.


We'd love to hear your best tips for staying happy and healthy in the winter. Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr using #WinterWellbeing and tagging us @connaughthall. We'll repost / retweet our favourite tip from the Hall's official social media accounts.


Here' our collection so far on Tumblr: http://connaughthall.tumblr.com/tagged/WinterWellbeing

Thursday, 3 December 2015

November survey - Quick fixes

These are some quick answers to points raised in our November 2015 mini feedback survey. Other, more complex, matters, will get their own posts as we work through your feedback in the next few weeks.


HOW TO REPORT FACILITIES PROBLEMS



"One thing which is difficult is communicating an immediate issue with the facilities. For example the women's bathrooms on the 3rd floor: [...] . These are small issues but the problem is I don't know if anyone has already reported it and they are soon to be fixed. Also I am not positive who to go to about these small issues."


Thank you for letting us know about these problems. There are two simple ways you can report this kind of thing: (1) write it in the blue maintenance folder which is always left open on the desk at main reception; or (2) send an email to suggestions@connaught-hall.org.uk. Our housekeeping and maintenance teams can often fix this kind of thing within one or two working days.


NEWSLETTERS ARE HARD TO READ


"The necessary information is supplied although the email newsletters are usually quite overwhelming and not that easy to read - it would be possible to miss information this way. [...] Emails could be clearer if they were shorter (less to scroll down) or had a highlights section at the top."

Sorry about this! To send mass emails, we use custom-built software called Kinetics (it also contains all your payment details, contract, emergency numbers, and so on). But it's rubbish for emails: only plain text, no html, and it mixes some characters up.

We will send future newsletters either as a pdf attachment, or as a link to an html post on this blog.


LONDON LIVING WAGE


"With a job for my university, I am paid the London Living Wage and wonder if the staff at Connaught Hall are paid the same."

Yes, all University of London staff and contract staff (e.g. security, catering, housekeeping) are paid at least the London Living Wage.


CULTURAL EVENTS, NOT JUST DRINKING PARTIES


"I feel lucky to have the opportunity on carving a pumpkin on Halloween. There should be more meaningful events like this besides just drinking parties."

It's great that you enjoyed pumpkin carving! Since that event, we've hosted a Diwali celebration, a German night, and American Thanksgiving (with the chance to make hand turkeys!). Coming up, we've got Christmas decorating, Christmas dinner, Lunar New Year, Burns' night, and Valentine's day - all cultural celebrations where the focus doesn't have to be on drinking. We hope you enjoy them!


PEST CONTROL


"apparently many of my friends report having seen a few mouses on the lower basement, in the cafeteria or in the bar... "

Our pest control team are currently dealing with this situation. They have excluded the possibility that rodents are living inside the Hall - it seems they are coming in when doors are propped open on the lower ground floor.

Please, please report any rodent sightings to suggestions@connaught-hall.org.uk so we can pass this information to our pest control team.


OVERNIGHT GUEST RESTRICTIONS


"increase the number of guests a month"

Although the basic allowance is 10 overnight guest stays per calendar month, I will almost always grant exceptions to this rule. You only have to ask me. See the green text at the bottom of this poster: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8aHo3-r-MQLdG9qWXE5aGg0dDQ/view


OPEN THE DINING HALL DURING THE DAY


"It would be great if dining halls are opened in the mid-day. So that when we order lunch together, we can eat there together. Or, sometimes we want to study together in the environment that is opened for discussion and Lang Room is often not the best place to do that. If dining hall is opened to us for studying, it would be wonderful."

We do allow you to use the dining hall for study during the daytime (between about 10am and 5pm, depending on how much cleaning the staff need to do after breakfast and before dinner).

You are welcome to use the toaster in the dining hall at lunch time. But we can't provide the bread or stuff to put on it.

If you go to use the dining hall in the middle of the day and find it closed, just ask in the Hall office (behind reception) so they can prompt the catering staff to unlock it for you.


BAR & GARDEN CLOSING AT 11PM


"Common rooms are nice but it is a shame that the bar closes at 11pm, even the garden. I understand that things could become 'rowdy' but it might be an improvement to give the bar staff some control over whether they kick you out - kicking out a small group of three or four chatting quietly at 11pm on a weeknight, for example, hardly seems necessary."

This is really about striking a balance between people who want to stay up and people who want to sleep. Because of the way the bar sticks out into the courtyard, noise inside the bar can sometimes be heard in ground- and lower ground- floor rooms facing the garden. We have been receiving noise complaints about the bar this term, and part of my response to the complainants is that I can guarantee that it always closes at 11pm. If we don't lock up at 11, the bar would have to stay open all night (I can't ask senior members and bar staff to stay up even later to lock up.)

The Bell room and the Bamforth room, which are further removed from living accommodation, stay open all night. Noise in those areas is much less of a problem.


VACUUM CLEANER


"If my room is not cleaned / forgotten about (possibly), can I request for someone to vacuum it - or even request to use the hoover myself?"

Yes! There is a vacuum cleaner behind reception, which you can borrow by leaving your Hall ID card. Also, if your room has been missed on the day it should have been cleaned, email info.connaught@london.ac.uk to see if they can re-schedule for you.


PACKED BREAKFAST & PACKED DINNER


Quite a few responses asked for packed meals to be available at the weekend.

I can confirm that packed meals are available seven days a week.

You can order a packed breakfast for any day of the week (Mon to Sun) by leaving your ID card at reception before 5pm the day before the packed breakfast is required (e.g. before 5pm on Friday for a packed breakfast on Saturday).

You can order a packed dinner for any day of the week (Mon to Sun) by leaving your ID card at reception before 11am on the day.



DIRTY WASHING MACHINES IN LAUNDRETTE


"I have washed my clothes down the laundrette, and because the washing machine was dirty, all my clothes were polluted."

We reported this to WashStation, who manage our laundrette facilities. They sent an engineer who was able to resolve the problem.

If you find any problems with our washing or drying machines, you can report it directly to WashStation yourself, for a faster response: call 0800 141 2331 or email service@washstation.co.uk.




QUIET STUDY ROOM


"It would be nice to have another common room for studying. The one that is available is very close to the bar, so it's hard to focus there."

We hope to be able to re-open the Convocation Trust Study Room (on the lower ground floor, further down the corridor where the laundrette is) next term. It's had to be used as a storage room and workshop this term for the lower ground bathroom refurbishment.



CATERING STAFF FEEDBACK



A number of responses to our survey mentioned rude or unfriendly catering staff.

We wonder if these responses were demonstrating a lag effect. In late October, we identified some lapses in customer service in the dining hall. Some catering staff were redeployed as a result; and we were joined by some new servery assistants. 

We hope these changes have improved customer service in the dining hall - and the changes would have been happening just at the time that this survey was conducted, so might not have been reflected in your feedback. But as always, we depend on your comments (good and bad) to tell us how you're finding things. 

So keep in touch about this and let us know about your customer experience in the dining hall at suggestions@connaught-hall.org.uk.



COOKING FACILITIES FOR RESIDENTS

The single most common suggestion in your survey responses was for there to be cooking facilities / access to a toaster in the daytime / larger pantries / more refrigerator space / fridges with lockable compartments.

As mentioned above, we do already allow you to use the toaster in the dining hall at lunch time. You must provide your own bread and toppings, of course.

Space is at a premium in Connaught Hall, as in all central London halls of residence. We unfortunately do not have any spare room available to put more fridges on each floor. And in the refrigerators we do have, we could only fit in maybe 6 or 8 lockable compartments, which is clearly insufficient for the 40+ residents on most floors.

On cooking facilities - we try to strike a balance between being a fully catered hall, offering SOME cooking facilities (microwaves, fridges, dining hall toaster), and preventing false fire alarms - and real fires - that can be caused by cooking. The policy on this - set by the central University of London, rather than by us at Connaught Hall - is that we are not allowed to offer ovens or hobs in our pantries. The same policy applies in all the intercollegiate halls.

Whilst we understand there can be some frustrations in not being able to cook for yourself, and we strive to take action on all feedback we possibly can, regrettably this is one area where we cannot adopt the suggestions put forward in our survey.

November survey - Packed breakfast & packed dinner

Quite a few responses to our feedback survey asked for packed meals to be available at the weekend.

I can confirm that packed meals are available seven days a week.

You can order a packed breakfast for any day of the week (Mon to Sun) by leaving your ID card at reception before 5pm the day before the packed breakfast is required (e.g. before 5pm on Friday for a packed breakfast on Saturday).

You can order a packed dinner for any day of the week (Mon to Sun) by leaving your ID card at reception before 11am on the day.

Results of Connaught Hall quick feedback survey, November 2015

Published below are the results of our quick feedback survey last month. Over the next few weeks, I'll be giving updates on what we're doing in response to your comments here: 










Update the medical & GP details held on your Hall files

I hope you have had a chance now to register with a GP (doctor) in the local area. If you have, please update the records we hold on your medical details form: call into the office behind reception during working hours, or email details of your new GP to info.connaught@london.ac.uk.

Now that you've moved in and got to know us a little, you might also feel more comfortable disclosing medical conditions to us. Again, you can do this in person or via email.

If it's easier for you, you can also just re-send us a completed, updated medical details form.

Medical details form: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8aHo3-r-MQLR2Z5QkhXWTlPaUE


If we hold accurate, up-to-date medical details about you, we'll be better able to help you in an emergency.

If you are unwell

As the 'flu season approaches, and coughs & colds become more common, here are some reminders about how to get help if you're unwell.


FIRST AID

If you need a first aider in Hall (or help of any kind), always ask at reception; don't rely on text messages, emails, or knocking on a first aider's door. There is always someone on duty in the Hall, 24 hours every day, and reception will be able to contact the right person for you.

First aiders in Hall: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8aHo3-r-MQLa1o4YWxiVUQ5d2s

URGENT HEALTHCARE

We have a poster outlining how to get urgent medical care in London using the National Health Service. The best first point of contact for health advice is NHS 111 (just call 111 from any telephone) or the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/symptom-checker/.

Urgent healthcare in London: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8aHo3-r-MQLXzZjb3pYd0ZrU2M

MENINGITIS

First-year university students are a high risk group for contracting meningitis ? a serious infectious disease. Be aware of the symptoms and signs of meningitis, and seek urgent medical help if you?re worried.

Meningitis symptoms & signs: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8aHo3-r-MQLT3ktcGE2RnAteWc

YES, I'M A DOCTOR

But I cannot offer medical consultations in hall to residents. This post explains why - http://connaughthall.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/medical-problems-in-hall.html.

Contacting us at Connaught Hall

Hall residents - You should have received this email on Thursday 3rd December 2015.
If you didn't, it might be because it's gone to your junk / spam folder ... so the message is especially relevant to you!

Or it might be that you've changed your email address and haven't told us - in which case, please let us know your new email at info.connaught@london.ac.uk.


CONTACTING US AT CONNAUGHT HALL

We can help you most efficiently and effectively at Connaught Hall if you contact us using our published email addresses. There have been some cases recently where residents have used Facebook or other messaging tools to report problems, and this has caused delays in our response.

Our "How can we help you" poster is displayed prominently around the Hall and tells you the best way to contact us for pretty much any kind of query or problem. You can view the poster online here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8aHo3-r-MQLN1EzMHZzSTQ2RXc/view

We aim to reply to most correspondence within three working days (in practice, we can often reply within one day, but at busy times can't guarantee this).

Another difficulty we have identified is that sometimes our emails can be diverted to your junk or spam folder. To ensure this doesn't happen, please take a few moments now to add the following addresses to your email address book, contacts, safe list, or white list:

  • info.halls@london.ac.uk
  • info.connaught@london.ac.uk
  • warden@connaught-hall.org.uk
  • noise@connaught-hall.org.uk
  • suggestions@connaught-hall.org.uk

Adding them to your address book could also make contacting us a little easier.
There's more information about how to contact me - and specifically how to arrange an appointment to meet - here: http://warden-contact.connaught-hall.org.uk/

Finally, please may I reiterate that it's best not to contact us about official queries or problems via Facebook, as this can lead to a delay in us responding to you.

As always, get in contact if you need any help or guidance. We depend on your feedback to help us get things right for you.

Welcome speech delivered by the Warden 27 September 2015

The Warden gave this speech at his welcome reception after dinner on Sunday 27 September 2015.



Hello everyone! I hope you're enjoying this evening.

If we haven’t already met, I’m Adrian Clark, your Warden. And I have just a few brief things to say tonight.

First, to everyone, let me extend a very big, warm welcome to the Hall. I hope we've made your first days or weeks here comfortable, friendly, and relaxed.

Let me introduce some other members of the team…

We are all so happy that you have joined us at Connaught. It's been an absolute pleasure to meet so many of you in the last few weeks.

Our goal here is for everyone to feel a sense of belonging in our Hall community – for everyone to naturally want to look out for everyone else, so by the end of the year, we're not sharing this building with 235 strangers, but with 235 friends.

If you join us in working toward that goal, I promise you will make some amazing friends at Connaught Hall this year – forging friendships and great memories that I hope you will carry with you for a lifetime.

And we are going to offer you so many opportunities to get involved.

If you’re all about social events, stand for election to the Residents Club Committee. You'll get to know nearly everyone in Hall and have a great time doing it. There are posters everywhere explaining how to stand for election. We'll be voting next Wednesday.

If you want to help us improve the Hall itself, come to our facilities forums. We'll be advertising the first of those very soon.

And if you want to enrich the cultural environment in which we live, think about getting involved with the multicultural students’ forum, which aims to bring the whole Hall together in celebration of festivals from all around the world. 




Speeches like this are often full of advice that we all quickly forget. So I am going to share only one bit of advice tonight.

And that is, to ask questions.

Ask for information. If you're being being taught something you don't understand, ask your tutor to clarify. You won't be the only one who didn't get it first time.

Ask questions about things. Challenge the way things are done. If you're not happy with something on your course or here in hall, ask what we can do to make it better.

More importantly, ask questions about people. Ask how your neighbours are. Find out what makes them tick. Ask them what you can do to enrich their experience this year. Cultivate your interest in everyone around you. We can all learn so much from the people we share the world with – and they will like you for asking about them.

Ask questions of yourself, too. University is as much about getting to know yourself as it is learning your subject. Use this year to explore and expand your own preferences, your views, and your beliefs.

So… Ask questions everywhere you go. You may not find the answer to every question you ask, but you can at least enjoy the asking.

You know, I have a really good feeling about this year. We're going to have a great year together. But let's not pretend there won't be challenges. It's not always easy studying a new subject, in a new city, with new friends.

And it's ok sometimes to think “hey, actually this isn't the best time of my life”. It's normal to sometimes feel lost or sad. But please promise yourself now that if you're struggling with something, you will tell someone about it. Tell a friend, tell your tutor, tell your college welfare service, tell me or a senior member. We're all here to listen and to help.

Ok. I said I would be brief. So let me finish with a toast. Please raise your glass… To the best year ever!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Remembrance

A national two-minute silence will be held at 11 am on Remembrance Sunday (8th November) to remember those who have been killed or injured in wars and conflicts worldwide. The Queen will lead a national service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, starting at 10.30.

A two-minute silence is also held at 11.00 am on Armistice Day (11th November), marking the end of the First World War.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, 
We will remember them.
- Laurence Binyon

You will see lots of people wearing poppies in their jackets during early November. The poppy is a symbol of remembrance and the little paper ones we wear are made by the Royal British Legion, a charity that supports veterans and war widows. The reason the poppy was chosen as a symbol of remembrance is that poppies were amongst the first flowers to grow back after the end of fighting in the First World War, in the fields of northern France.

At Connaught Hall, we will show the remembrance service on the TV in the bar from 10:30 am on Sunday 8th November. We invite you to join us at this time.



We also have poppies available from reception, so you can wear one on your coat or jumper. Please make a donation in the box if you take a poppy.



In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields.

- John McRae 

Bonfire night

Saturday 5th November is bonfire night – or Guy Fawkes night. Bonfires and fireworks displays take place all over England to commemorate the foiling of the “gunpowder plot” plot to blow up the King and Parliament in 1605. 


Remember, remember the fifth of November: 
Gunpowder, treason, and plot. 
I see no reason why gunpowder treason 
Ever should be forgot.





Bonfire night parties often include activities like apple bobbing, and foods associated with bonfire night include parkin, toffee apples, jacket potatoes, and hot chocolate.

For more information about Guy Fawkes night: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night.
And the gunpowder plot: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder_Plot.

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There will be bonfires and fireworks displays around London this week. Some will be on 5th November; others will take place on Friday or Saturday. Here is a listing of displays:



The closest display to Connaught Hall will be at Coram's Fields on Friday 6th November, and we expect this to be quite a traditional display:


It's also free of charge!

Another free thing you can do is climb Primrose Hill (goo.gl/maps/WVa27KZK8PC2) on Friday or Saturday night. Although there is no display at Primrose Hill, from that vantage point you can often see the fireworks from displays all over London.

------------------------------------------------------------


* The Multicultural Students' Forum (McSF, connaught-hall.org.uk/pages/community/mcsf.html) recommended in October 2015 that we publish through our social media channels an explanation of all the cultural events we celebrate in Hall, as well as significant celebrations that are unique to the UK. The idea is that all our residents will understand what is going on and be equally able to participate in events, festivals, and celebrations.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

FAQ: Postgraduates' frequently asked questions - noise, room allocation, age

Questions frequently asked by postgraduates


What is the average age of Connaught Hall residents?

The median age in Hall is usually 19 years. In 2014-15, we had 47 residents aged 21 or over; 29 residents were postgraduate students (out of 230).


I understand most residents are first-year undergraduates. Is it noisy? Will I be able to study?

Our Hall handbook has this to say about noise:

Noise disturbance generally creates the most dissatisfaction with Hall life. The Halls are large halls of residence of mostly first-year undergraduate students in a busy part of London. Nowhere in the Hall can be completely silent. Most staff and residents find that occasionally they need to wear earplugs at night, even if the only noise they can hear is traffic noise. Some people are particularly sensitive to even low levels of noise and we would advise that a mainly undergraduate hall of residence in central London may not be suitable accommodation in this case. It is not always reasonable to restrict others’ activities to meet the expectations of someone who is especially sensitive to noise.

There is a lot of traffic noise. There is a fire station, police station, ambulance station, and hospital all within less than a mile radius of the Hall (this is also true for College Hall and International Hall; I think Lillian Penson Hall and Nutford House may be slightly quieter in this regard). On the positive side, this must make us one of the safest places in the world!
It’s probably true to say that almost everyone experiences some noise from their neighbours occasionally. 

Of course, we do have effective procedures for dealing with this if it is serious or recurrent (http://noise.connaught-hall.org.uk).


Is there a part of the Hall reserved for postgraduates?

We have 230 residents living on 6 floors. The ground and lower ground floors are quite small. From 1st to 4th, each floor has about 48 rooms arranged along a single, long corridor divided into three sections by fire doors. There are staircases at each end and in the middle of every floor. Each floor has a male and a female toilet/shower block (three toilet stalls and three shower cubicles in each). Most floors have three or four en suite rooms.

We are a predominantly first-year undergraduate hall. We do try to accommodate most of our postgraduates on the second floor – so you would almost certainly be allocated a room there, unless you have an en suite room (with only four en suite rooms on the second floor, there are sometimes more postgrads who want en suite than there are rooms available on the second floor). But this does not mean that the second floor is necessarily any quieter than anywhere else. We haven’t enough postgrads to fill a whole floor, so there are undergrads on the same corridor, and of course the rooms above and below are occupied by undergraduates.

Aside from putting postgrads together on the second floor, the accommodation office do not allow students to request specific rooms.


Are there separate study facilities?

We have two rooms for studying in: the Lang room, which is intended primarily for group study, and the Convocation Trust study room, which is for quiet, individual study. Both are on the lower ground floor; both are open 24 hours a day; and both can accommodate 6 to 8 students. It is very unusual for the study rooms to be full; on the contrary, they are often both empty, except around the spring/summer exam season!

Saturday, 22 August 2015

FAQ: Can I have deliveries to the Hall before I move in?

If you need to have letters or small packets delivered to the Hall before you arrive, email info.connaught@london.ac.uk to let them know. Reception can hold on to small items for you (i.e. items that can easily fit into an envelope up to C3 size). You must let us know to expect a delivery, or else reception will return items to sender with the message "not in residence".

Regrettably, there isn't any storage capacity for larger items like trunks, boxes, or suitcases. So we cannot accept delivery of large items until after you move into the Hall.

If you are flying to London and cannot carry all the items you need in your luggage, we recommend that you send items in boxes or cases via courier one or two days before your flight. Then, your couriered boxes should arrive within a few days after your own arrival in Hall, and we will be able to accept the delivery for you.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

New - Hall Facebook group community guidelines published

The Hall Facebook group has been set up by the Warden to make your time in the intercollegiate halls safer, more enjoyable, better informed, and more sociable. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/connaughthall20162017/

We hope our residents will use the group for getting to know other residents, asking questions, or sharing your own events that others might want to join in. The Hall staff and the elected students on the Residents' Club Committee will post important information and social events on the group as well, so residents can stay up to date with what's happening at Connaught Hall.

Only current Hall residents and staff are allowed to be members of the group. We have just four very simple golden rules that you must follow when using the Hall Facebook group, plus some guidelines for how to make the most of it.

FOUR GOLDEN RULES

1. Be respectful.

Please help us ensure our online community remains a safe and welcoming space for everyone, of every age, race, religion, sexuality, nationality, disability, and gender identity.

It's ok to voice a complaint or disagree with another post, but please do so in a polite and constructive manner. Never violate the privacy or dignity of another person. Obscenities, sexually explicit material, personal attacks and defamatory comments about any person, group, organisation or belief will be removed.

2. Don’t post anything that is illegal or unlawful, nor which breaches the University’s Ordinances, accommodation Licence Agreement, or Hall Handbook.

In particular, Ordinance 17 (Code of Student Discipline) and Ordinance 21 (Equality Policy) – available at www.london.ac.uk/977.html.

You also must not post anything that might promote or encourage others to behave in a manner that that is illegal, unlawful, or in breach of the University’s Ordinances, accommodation Licence Agreement or Hall Handbook.

3. Don’t infringe copyright, data protection, or intellectual property rights.

4. Don’t spam, nor use this Facebook group for commercial purposes.

If you break any of these four golden rules, the offending post(s) will be removed and you may be suspended or permanently blocked from the group. Serious breaches will result in disciplinary action.

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR HALL FACEBOOK GROUP

  • Be careful not to allow others to use your Facebook login. 
  • Think before you post and consider your audience. 
  • Protect your own and others’ privacy, but be transparent and honest about your identity. 
  • Be a valued member of the community and be accurate in your posts. 
  • It is ok to complain about Hall facilities and services on the group, but please remember this is not a recognised channel for reporting problems to us. A member of staff might or might not see your post. If you want us to take action about something, please speak directly to a member of staff, email us, or use the dedicated systems for reporting maintenance or catering problems. 
  • If you feel a post, photo, video, or other contribution on the group has breached these guidelines, please bring it to the attention of the Warden or a Senior Member as soon as possible.
THE SMALLPRINT
  • The University of London cannot guarantee that your Hall Facebook group will be available at all times and cannot be held liable for any loss or damage (including consequential loss) resulting from or arising out of use or non-use of the group. 
  • By posting any comments, links, or other material in your Hall Facebook group, you give the University of London the right to reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, remove, delete, create derivative works from and otherwise use your submission for any purpose in any form and on any media.
  • Membership of the Hall Facebook group may include:
    the Warden, the Hall Manager, the Assistant Hall Manager, Senior Members, the Head of Residential Accommodation, the Deputy Head of Residential Accommodation, and members of the Housing Services and Accommodation Finance teams.
    Not all these staff groups may be members at all times, and not all will be regular users of the group. 
  • We strongly recommend that you do not use the group to report problems in the Hall: your post(s) may not be seen by the relevant member of staff. Instead, use the channels of communication explained in your Hall Handbook for reporting any problems to members of staff. If we do see a complaint posted on the group about something in Hall, our usual action will be: (1) If the complaint is obviously about something very serious that clearly requires action, the member of staff who sees the post will copy & paste it into an email to the member of staff who would be responsible for dealing with that problem; he/she will then comment on the post to say they have forwarded it. (2) If the complaint does not obviously require immediate action, then we will comment on the post to tell you what you can do or whom you can talk / write to if you want us to act on your complaint. 
  • We know that sometimes, you might feel frustrated by something that has happened and you simply want to vent your frustration to others, without necessarily wanting us to do anything or talk to you about it. That’s why we will give you the choice of whether or not to take up your complaint through an official channel. 
  • Your Hall Warden is the chief moderator of the Hall Facebook group. Day-to-day moderating duties may be delegated to another member of the Halls team – usually a Senior Member. 
  • In the event that there is a dispute about whether or not a post, photo, video, or other contribution is in contravention of these guidelines, the Warden shall be the arbiter of the matter and his/her decision shall be final. 
  • Responsibility for any posts, photos, videos, or contributions uploaded using your Facebook login lies with you personally. We will not accept an argument that another person used your login unless this can be clearly proven to the satisfaction of the Warden. 
  • We also draw your attention to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Data Policy, and Community Standards: www.facebook.com/policies.

FAQ: What day & time can I arrive in Hall?

Your room should be ready for you to move in any time after 2pm on the first day of your contract.

You can arrive any time on any day/date after that.

When you check in, reception will have your key and everything else you need. Reception is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You don't have to tell us if you're arriving later than your official contract start date - but please remember that accommodation fees are charged from the start date of your contract, not from the date you move in.

If you want to arrive EARLIER than your contract start date, you must tell Housing Services well in advance. See this separate FAQ: http://connaughthall.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/faq-arriving-earlier-than-datetime.html.

If you are having problems with your accommodation offer, personal details form, or any other of the welcome arrangements, see this FAQ: http://connaughthall.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/faq-augustseptember-problems-with-offer.html.

FAQ: What can I do if I’m being disturbed by noise?

We have a whole web page with detailed instructions to help you deal with and report noise problems – whether it’s a banging radiator pipe or a neighbour playing music at 3am.

Visit noise.connaught-hall.org.uk for help.



FAQ: I’m feeling unhappy / lost / lonely / homesick. How can I find help?

It’s very normal to have some of these feelings some of the time, when you have moved to a new home to study something new. But if these kinds of feelings are severe, prolonged, or persistent, you should definitely ask for help.

It’s OK to say you’re not having the best time of your life!

There are lots of people around to support you as a student. Think about using some of these options:

• Talk to the Warden or a Senior Member – for contact details and how to book an appointment, visit http://warden-contact.connaught-hall.org.uk.
• Speak with your personal tutor at college.
• See one of the student counsellors at your college welfare service.
• Make an appointment to see your GP.
• Check our list of more help providers at http://bit.ly/1mIBcpn.

FAQ: Is there WiFi in Connaught Hall?

We have WiFi throughout the building.

If you attend a college that is signed up to EduRoam, you must use your EduRoam login to access the internet through our WiFi. Your EduRoam login is normally the same as the login for your college (.ac.uk) email address. If you are unsure about your login details, contact the IT department at your college.

Only if your college or institute is not signed up to EduRoam, we will provide you with a login for the UoL Resident network. Contact Network Services at swan.support@london.ac.uk for help with this.

FAQ: How can I get help with the internet connection in my room?

University of London network services can help if your wired or wireless internet connection isn’t working. 

Call 020 7862 8092 or email swan.support@london.ac.uk.

FAQ: How can I get repairs done in my room / in the bathroom?

If you spot something that needs to be repaired or replaced, write a request in the maintenance book at reception. We can normally respond with three working days.

If it’s an urgent problem (like a flood, electrical fault, or gas leak), report it to the security officer so we can deal with it immediately.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Guidance for residents who have been the subject of noise complaints

If you have been the subject of more than one or two noise complaints, you should recently have received a letter from the Senior Member on your floor. The back of the letter includes some tips on how to avoid any more complaints from your neighbours.

We understand that most of the time when people disturb their neighbours in Hall, it is unintentional – and often those making noise do not realise how loud they are being, or how much the sound might be travelling and disturbing others. So we are trying to raise awareness and help everyone get on better together, in the hope that none of these problems will escalate into disciplinary matters.
This is especially important as we move towards more exams and coursework deadline over the coming months.


NOISE: EXPECTATIONS AND RULES

Noise disturbance generally creates the most dissatisfaction with Hall life, and is the commonest reason for disciplinary action. Connaught Hall is a large hall of residence of mostly first-year undergraduate students in a busy part of London. So we do not expect complete silence all the time. But we do expect that everyone will be sensitive to the needs of their neighbours for quiet time.

We should all be able to study or rest without unreasonable disturbance from others at any time. Residents — or their guests — who are unable to adhere to these guidelines will face disciplinary action and possible removal from the Hall.

You must make no noise audible from outside your room between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am.

Excessively loud music and other noise are not allowed at any time of day. The Warden or his nominated Deputy (normally the Duty Senior Member) shall be the arbiter of whether noise is excessive, and his/her decision shall be final.

If your neighbour asks you to be quieter, you must respond politely and cooperatively.

SOME TIPS TO HELP YOU GET ON WITH YOUR NEIGHBOURS

Most of us have at least eight immediate neighbours: one either side, three above, and three below. But when you’re thinking about noise, you should consider everyone on your section of corridor to be a neighbour, too.

Talk to one another

Respect others’ needs for quiet time: they may want to sleep or study at different times from you. Being unable to sleep or work when you need to can make you annoyed and stressed, and can seriously impact on your quality of life.

So agree on quiet times with your neighbours, and other times when it might be ok to make a bit more noise. You can only do this by asking them: “Am I too noisy sometimes? How can I make it better for you?”

Be polite and try to help if your neighbour knocks on your door and asks you to quieten down; next time it might be you asking for quiet!

Think carefully about how sound travels

Our walls, floors, and ceilings are quite thin and transmit sound readily. You don’t have to be having a huge party to be making too much noise.

It’s easy to cause noise for your neighbours without realising it, especially for anyone who lives underneath you: something dropping on the floor can make a really loud bang downstairs!

Please, whenever you are up after 11pm, think very carefully if what you are doing might be keeping your neighbour awake, especially if you have visitors in your room. 

Take your friends to a common room at night

If you have more than one visitor after 11pm, it’s best to go to one of the common rooms, so as to avoid disturbing anyone.

Be extra quiet when you’re in the corridors after 11pm

Noise travels further than you think, so talk quietly in corridors; and don’t run or shout in hallways or stairwells. One loud shriek or giggle could wake up everyone on the corridor.

Close doors quietly

Pull doors closed quietly and push the handle down so the lock doesn’t click, especially at night. Slamming doors (especially when you have several friends in your room, maybe going to and from the bathroom) are one of the commonest noise complaints.

Be quiet when you’re outside the building, too

In the garden, keep noise down at all times: even a little noise here echoes around the courtyard and can disturb people in rear-facing bedrooms.

Outside the front of the building, don’t shout late at night: you can wake up almost half the Hall whose bedrooms face onto the square.

Contacting the Warden

How to request an appointment


Check this calendar for my availability:

http://schedule.connaught-hall.org.uk


Choose the week, month, or agenda tab at top right - whichever view you find easiest to read –



My available time is divided into half-hour slots. 

You can choose any "available" slot that is convenient for you. 
If you need to talk about something very sensitive or complex, it's a good idea to request two consecutive slots, so we can spend an hour together.

Send an email to request the appointment time you want: warden@connaught-hall.org.uk.


Please give me at least 12 hours' notice for the appointment slot, so I can make sure I am in the Hall at that time (although I am available, if no one requests an appointment, I may not be in Hall).


My "open office" sessions (where I would sit for an hour or so in my office with the door open, usually in the evening) were not well used this year. Many sessions, I did not see a single resident. But residents were still asking for appointments to see me at times outside my open office sessions.

So my open office sessions are cancelled for the rest of this year. The Warden role is not office-based, so if no one comes to my open office sessions, I am left sitting with nothing to do. That isn't a good use of my time or your accommodation fees.

Consequently, instead of open office sessions, I have developed this new way of requesting an appointment to meet with me, using a calendar that shows when I am available - so you can choose a time that is most convenient for you.



Other ways of getting in contact:


How the Warden's time is used - February update

I can only say that my previous post did not have the desired effect, and an updated view of how I have been spending my time this term so far looks like this:



This is not what I enjoy about my role as Warden. Residents this year have not seen me working with them at social events and community building because all my time has been tied up with disciplinary issues. I am sorry this has been the case and once again, would like to ask everyone to help me. The Hall community as a whole this year could be getting much better value for money out of the service I can provide!

  • Help me rebuild a positive Hall community. 
  • Contribute to our events.
  • Help us work out what activities you want organised in Hall, and work with us to organise them.
  • Talk to your neighbours. Find out if there is anything you can do to make their time in Hall better. Have you been doing anything that annoyed them all last term? Tell them if you need their help with anything.
  • Use our Hall bar. It's a valuable social space, but it won't survive without your custom and support. Don't drink your own alcohol in the bar, Bell room, or garden.
  • Only smoke in the designated smoking area (in the garden), or on the pavement outside, well away from the main entrance.
  • Keep quiet after 11pm.
  • Don't go out onto balconies on the first floor.
  • Be respectful of everyone around you. Remember our positive diversity message:
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.


Finally, let me draw your attention to our goals & values statement. Help us work with you to deliver these for you.
We aim to provide a secure, supportive, and friendly environment in which our residents can study and socialise.

We hope that all our residents will call Connaught Hall “home”, and take many positive memories and good friends with them when they leave.
By encouraging our residents to participate in and contribute to the Hall community, we hope that they will learn to be self-directed and self-disciplined in their behaviour.
We aim to promote a spirit of neighbourliness and togetherness in our Hall community: an attitude that we can all take with us when we move on to other, wider neighbourhoods and communities.
 
The needs of our residents, within the necessary limitations of good order, finance, and safety, take priority over other considerations at all times. 
We endeavour to help residents wherever we can. If we can reasonably say “yes” within the rules, we will not say “no”. 
We always strive to act fairly, honestly, and transparently. 
We deal with any problems sensitively and confidentially.
We do not tolerate personal harassment, nor discrimination against anyone because of their age, race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or sexual orientation.