In defence of the college system, undoubtedly the best part of Lancs
But what about our bars?
There’s been a lot of anti-collegiate feelings going around Lancs at the minute. Is it because some bars are never open (Pendle)? Is it because there’s nothing on draught at those bars (Pendle)? Is it because the accommodation is miles away from everything else (Pendle)? We may never know. But what we do know is that there are plenty of reasons for keeping the Lancaster colleges the same way that they’ve always been. So let’s hear them.
How else can I make small talk?
It’s the first day of term, you’re in a lecture and suddenly the lecturer decides to make things a little more hands-on, and they say “Now, discuss this with the person sat next to you.” Naturally you oblige, and for a solid 30 seconds you’re chatting away about the lecture content. But what then? Sit in silence? Try and talk to someone else? Stare at your laptop and pretend you’ve seen something really interesting? No. Before you know it, you can already hear the phrase “So, what college are you in?” coming out of your mouth. There you go. This is it. A masterclass in small talk – congratulations, you are now a conversation guru.
Without Lancaster’s collegiate system, we’d have no go-to phrase to strike up conversation with a stranger in an awkward situation. Instead, we’d maybe converse about the weather, but would more than likely end up sat in silence. Nobody wants that. We’d rather be asked 100 times which college we’re in than sit in silence in 100 lectures. Come on.
Nobody is best pleased when they receive the invoice for their “college fee.” £30 to a student is a fair amount, and for that price you expect to see some results. Firstly, that college fee covers you for your entire time at university – a standard course is three years, so that’s only £10 p/year when you think about it. That fee means that your college can afford to put on certain events, many of which are undervalued and underutilised. Things like free breakfasts, soup afternoons, and pumpkin carving are little bonuses that can boost your week.
Regardless of the college fee, there’s still a lot on offer from your college. Some colleges do weekly pub quizzes, others do film nights, or even karaoke. Ultimately, your college puts a lot of events on – it isn’t their fault if you decide to not take full advantage of those events. Not to mention that you aren’t excluded from attending events put on by other colleges, so if people say there should be more events “open to all university students” then remind them that your college events are inclusive of everyone.
So many students benefit from college sports that scrapping the college system would be depriving many students of opportunities to be involved with something they’re passionate about. Not to mention that people use college sports for different things: competition; recreation; making friends; or even trying something new. Not only this, but if you aren’t taken into any of the university sports teams during tryouts then the college sport leagues ensure that you still have opportunities to get involved with most sports outside of the university BUCS teams.
The sense of teamwork and the friendships made through college sports are just as strong and important as those made on the university sports teams. Abolishing the collegiate system would be depriving students of the chance to get more involved with sports across the university.
Extravs are the end of year college parties, and they’re incredibly popular. The fact that tickets sold out for every single extrav (even Cartmel, eventually) in 2019 within 24hrs shows that they’re hugely engaging – simply put, without colleges then we wouldn’t be able to enjoy this kind of event at all. Not only that, but having nine different extravs taking place means that more people get a chance to be involved than if there was a large-scale campus-wide university end of year party – imagine the chaos? It just wouldn’t work. No, tickets aren’t free, but they often turn out being one of the best nights of your academic year. Exams are over, it’s just you, your mates, music and partying. And if you’re a fresher then you’re even more sorted, because you live right on campus where the parties are taking place! What’s not to love?
Designated support staff
Every college has their own staff, which also includes relevant welfare officers and accommodation managers, meaning that for most problems you encounter at university (especially in first year) you’ll have designated members of staff to turn to. This means that things are far less daunting when raising issues, and also they’re far more personal, as you’ll get to know your college’s members of staff. Not only this, but there are support mechanisms within every college for its members, meaning that regardless of which college you’re a part of you’ll still have access to all of the same services.
Being in a college means that certain services can be provided on a smaller-scale to nine colleges, rather than a large-scale to everyone at university. Again, much like college events it’s down to the individual student to take advantage of these features, which we’d recommend, as they can make your time at university far less stressful!
Opportunities to get involved
Without colleges, there would be no need for the various JCRs that operate around campus. Love them or loathe them, JCRs give perfect experience for students to gain in roles of responsibility. JCRs also often act as the go-between for students and the Students’ Union, speaking up for members of each respective college and representing your views. Yes, there can be issues with JCRs, and like most things in life they’re far from perfect. But they do make a huge difference to your time at university, you just need to take the initiative and use what’s being provided for you. If you’re passionate about sports then you can become a JCR Sports Officer; if you care about ensuring your college puts on appropriate events then run for election as an Events Officer. Colleges offer the perfect opportunity to get more involved with making the student experience at Lancaster even better; without colleges you wouldn’t be able to get this kind of experience.
Saving the best reason for last, of course. Your college on campus is your home, it’s a microcosm, it’s a community, a habitat for students. And what student dwelling would be complete without a local boozer? All college bars are ran with the same prices for standard drinks, but obviously some specialise in other aspects (Grizedale’s 2-4-1 cocktails come to mind). College bars are the hubs of life on campus, with most being quite lively every night of the working week. They’re often great study spaces during the day, and give you somewhere to let your hair down on campus at night. Admittedly, some do have big issues, and are less popular than others, but they’re non-exclusive, so you don’t just have to be in Fylde college to go and enjoy a fantastic full English breakfast (try it, we beg you).
Yes, there are some reasons to scrap the college system, but at the end of the day it seems like colleges actually improve your time in Lancs.
Over and out.