A meeting, organised by the Student Union, took place last Wednesday (11th June) to explore news ways to improve this September’s Fresher’s Fayre and welcoming orientation at Gordon Square. In additional to discussing further improvements and areas that were lacking at last year’s orientation, it was also an opportunity for student representatives and members of Birkbeck societies to network.
Attendants discussed their previous experience of last year’s orientation and how they felt clubs societies were showcased. General thoughts regarding orientation, workshops on a social and academic scale were commented on including key elements of joining university: library usages and ITS, etc. Many issues were addressed such as best practice methods of referencing, ‘lazy’ departmental representatives and inefficiencies with course handouts.
A group exercise took place where students wrote down ideas of annual student events that would benefit the university. A few ideas raised included: a large Christmas party that would raise money for charity, a weekend event which would include guest speakers, academic workshops on the Saturday and societies’ welcome parties on the Sunday.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to discuss everyone’s ideas yet a few striking things about the university were raised. It seemed that a lot of students did not know who or where to go to for certain types of information. Whether they’d like to know about social events at the university, academic workshops, or library resources, it seems that a broken stream of communication existed between the university and its student: a lot of vital information had been delivered inefficiently (or not at all) by the university.
Some were unaware that certain facilities such as a careers service or (even) a nursery were available to them. Also, some students demanded an active counseling service and mentor scheme that would aid academic development for confidence building in writing essays or getting back into student life.
Students got to speak their mind at this meeting but let us hope that it has brought to the Student Union’s attention that communication is clearly lacking and students desperately require a go-to resource base that will allow them to get better acquainted with the university and other student alike.
Written by Mary Grace Nguyen