Don’t blame science for your missing books

The struggle is real

The protests against underfunded and under-resourced Arts and Social Sciences degrees are without doubt the subject of the biggest debate we’ve seen in years.

As a Biology student, I don’t have the same struggle for books.

I have contact hours and support that has been available whenever I have needed it. I’ve even got a brand new shiny £60 million pound “spaceship” of a building to call home. So do I have anything to complain about?

Not paid for by arts students

Look at all that glorious, wasted space

Well, yeah.

The Life Sciences Building is about as functional for undergraduates as a stupidly expensive classic car. It looks nice, you can show your mates – maybe even a few of them will get a bit jealous. But it’s a luxury unsuited to everyday life and this renders it largely unusable.

For a start, unless you’re a final year student completing their final project then you’re restricted to the ground floor and the basement. That’s it.

Astonishingly, there are no lecture theatres in the building, which means we crowd other departments, including the ASS complex. Instead of functional learning space, a decision was made to have a six story atrium instead.

The only facilities available to undergrads are a single computer room and a small library in the basement, which just like the ASS library, anyone can use.

It’s pretty and there are colour coded chairs.

That sky lounge you’ve all heard about? I’ve never been. It’s for use of Staff and PhD students only. We were promised a café, presumably to take the strain off the ASS library which at lunch time can resemble scenes from a northern Tesco on Black Friday.

We got three vending machines instead.

State of the art facilities

No café pour moi

Did I mention the building is also closed on weekends?

Biology isn’t the only STEM subject seemingly shunning its undergraduates. The Maths building is increasingly becoming of interest to Archaeologists as it slowly turns into an ancient ruin, and the chemistry building isn’t far behind.

It’s long been known that Bristol is a ‘research university’ – it’s one of the main reasons why student satisfaction scores are so consistently low. The Life Sciences Building isn’t designed for us, and it was never intended to be.

It’s shameless propaganda, a place to show off to prospective students and their parents – a big attraction to brag about. They even got the country’s most popular national treasure to open it. It’s a farce, it’s superficial. And crucially, it leaves students in a worse position than before.


Sir David doesn’t understand the struggle

With the Life Sciences building, uni bosses had a chance of finally going about addressing the needs of undergraduates, to make a statement of intent for the funding of our degrees.

But they didn’t, and I think we need to realise that was a considered decision. The issue of underfunding for undergraduates is sadly a uni-wide problem, across all subjects.