Portico Tribes Explained

UCL is a hotbed for education, demonstration and lunchtime segregation.

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The icon, the landmark, the Portico. That 19th Century facade encasing the intellectual powerhouse that is University College London doesn’t just make a great logo; it also makes a great lunching spot. However, you can’t just sit anywhere. No no no, didn’t you learn anything from Mean Girls?

The Portico consists of 7 locations for your seating pleasure, each home to a particular member of the UCL family. So ensure that you know where you belong or behold years of self-doubt and insecurity. And if you find that none of these places are suitable, try eating in The Refectory.

1.       The Loners

For those who are forever alone, munching on your sandwich and mulling over your lack of human contact, sit at the top of the Portico. This way you can keep an eye on all the activity going on below; enabling you to feel like you have friends by forging emotional connections with people who are unaware that you’re watching them. Another word for this is stalking.

2.       The Cliques

Each of these ledges holds host to a group of people who frankly would rather you didn’t sit with them thank you very much. That pack of Second Years that just never seem to spend any time apart will undoubtedly be eating together on top of one of these. So know your place and sit somewhere else; those ledges are hard to get onto for a reason.

3.       The TCR Food Crew

Here you will find an array of culinary delights from every stretch of Tottenham Court Road. And by every stretch I mean anything between Costa and Spearmint Rhinos. So whether you’re splashing your cash on a Pret/Wasabi/Japanese Canteen or tucking into your humble Tesco Meal Deal, these are the steps for you.

4.       The Library Short-Loaners

AHH CRAP! The book I desperately need for this week’s seminar is here but it’s a bloody short term loan. 3 hours to read all 375 pages? Challenge accepted. Often, when under such high pressured conditions, people opt to sit on the left staircase of the Portico in order to be in easy running distance of the issue desk so that with 2 minutes to spare, you can sprint back and avoid that 50p fine. After all, every little helps and with that extra 50p you’re a quarter of your way into Moonies.

5.       UCLU Sports

Muscular physiques and rock hard abs will often be found dangling their feet from the edge of the Portico. Retelling Sport’s Night antics is one of their favourite pass times so unless you were at The Roxy last Wednesday night, don’t attempt to join their gang.

6.       Freshers

With their youth, eagerness and need to fit in, the Freshers often dominate the main steps in the middle. Often in a large group as they have no distinct friendships yet, they make it very hard for the Loners (see 1) to venture back down to civilisation. They are also very loud.

7.       The Smokers

Popular, cool and waiting for a friend? Sit on the benches and drag at your fag whilst you swing your Doc Martens to the sound of Alt-J. The Smokers often refrain from interacting with the other Smokers and do not respond well to unexpected conversation so keep your distance. You don’t know what derisive glances they’re giving you behind dem shades.