We sent a UOB student to UWE for the day
They have a Starbucks!
Oh UWE, the West Country’s second university and long suffering cousin of UoB.
As proud Bristol students, we do love to shit on the countryside dwelling tracksuit wearing (or so stereotype tells us) inhabitants of the University of the West of England.
However, because I believe in seeing both sides of the story, I went on an intrepid journey from the safe enclaves of Clifton to the wilds of Frenchay.
I spent a good forty minutes travelling through the suburbs, getting to the point where I thought we were taking the long route to Gloucester.
Nevertheless, after what felt like centuries the bus finally arrived at the Frenchay Campus, which was not only 90% concrete…but had way too many trees to be considered part of a city.
Like any tourist in a new place, I surveyed the landscape, got over the disorientation and then just followed the crowd.
General rule of thumb is that if you are snooping somewhere, the best way to avoid getting lost is to follow the general direction that other people are going in.
I couldn’t quite shake the feeling -ok paranoia- that EVERYONE KNEW I WAS AN IMPOSTOR.
It was probably because I looked kind of shifty (in that I was constantly double checking everything) and didn’t have the look of vapid stupidity on my face that typically comes as part of the UWE student starter pack.
However, I must say I was intrigued by the fact that they had shops on campus (probably because they are so far from everything). The selection included a Natwest, what looked like a shitty co-op, a bookshop and of all things a barber.
They even have a Starbucks.
They were all located in this courtyard/quad type place that looked like it came straight out of communist Russia, with the architecture following the same theme of depressing grey that I had witnessed earlier.
Luckily, I got the chance to speak to a few UWE students about why they like their humble university.
Casey and Chris were first year Economics students, and appeared to be unfazed by the ‘twenty minute bus ride’ to the city centre and liked the fact that it is a campus Uni.
And it must be admitted, having everything in one place did seem quite nice. Plus their union has a rainbow flag flying outside, so I think they win on wokeness.
Another thing that I was very surprised by was the fact that I could just wander into the university without any ID or anything to prove my attendance.
The library was easy to get into, I just walked in and picked up a book on the Welfare State because they have real books on real academic subjects at UWE.
I was even able to attend a lecture without having to prove that I was a student. I surreptitiously sat at the back of the lecture theatre wondering if anyone would notice that I was neither on their course nor enrolled at their university.
The lecture itself was on human sexuality, the lecturer was a woman with red hair wearing a green hoodie- because she was clearly cool af.
I was extremely confused by the amount of interaction between students and lecturer…which I have to concede is a vast improvement on the way that lectures are conducted at UoB.
To give you some comparison, in my English lectures we are talked at for fifty minutes and clap at the end. UWE students talk to their lecturer and constantly ask questions. Maybe UWE are the sane ones.
In the words of Reuben Nash, the editor of the Tab UWE – ‘Bristol is UWE’s rather irrelevant older brother, a brother that likes to boast but really has very little to back it up with. The younger sibling on the other hand, is cooler, more fun and generally more desirable. We have a Starbucks on campus, you have an ‘ASS’. We all know what sounds better’.
Now that I have seen how the other half live, I must say, despite the fact that we do like to rib on each other for the sake of our egos it is more akin to sibling rivalry than anything else.
UWE, we love you really, but don’t tell Oxford, we want them to think we’re cool.