Tag Archives: campus bars

Tranquil Repose

subtext usually tries to avoid telling its readers about things they already know, such as new features on campus, but this term — well, it’s a bit different. Many staff haven’t been back since evacuating in March and may be wondering what the place is like these days; allow us to be your guide.

In short, it’s peaceful. During the day you might only pass 20–30 people, though all the terrifying Protect and Survive-style posters give the place a slightly eerie atmosphere.

Facilities staff have done wonders with signage, hand sanitiser stations and other nuts-and-bolts provisions to minimise any risks. The one-way system in most buildings is usually surplus to requirements, as your chances of passing someone on your corridor are fairly minimal.

WHSmith is closed with no indication of when it will re-open, but Greggs and the ice cream parlour are still trading, whilst Costa is open for take-away drinks and food only.

The campus SPAR on Edward Roberts Court, largely unchanged since it moved into that unit at the end of the ’90s, has had a major makeover. The external fascia has been replaced, the corridors are wider, the coffee machine is near the entrance and the checkout area has been remodelled. The selection does seem to be slightly reduced — one of the appeals of the old SPAR was the bargain warehouse that’s packed to the rafters effect — but the overall shopping experience is a great deal more pleasant. It’s (almost) worth a journey.

The new 400-seat lecture theatre between Faraday and County South seems to be close to completion (from the outside, anyway) and it looks attractive. The Management School extension is almost finished too, although style-wise this resembles a giant Portakabin.

All the college bars, except the Herdwick, re-opened at the start of term — and were well-used during Welcome Week — but now that we are officially a Tier 3 campus, only Fylde’s and Cartmel’s are still trading. The system for ordering food and drink takes a bit of time to get used to (go in, sit down, scan QR code on the table, go to online menu, order, wait for person to approach asking for payment, pay by card, wait for order, receive it in a few minutes) but is well-run. Watching groups of suitably-distanced staff and students sat outside Fylde bar, one could almost forget the odd times we’re in.

In the evenings you often see clusters of students sitting outside (no more than six at a time, of course) on the steps of Edward Roberts Court or Alexandra Square, socialising as best they can. Student societies are mostly meeting online, but there are still plenty of event posters adorning the campus noticeboards.

Because parcels are no longer delivered to colleges, there is now a central parcel collection point on Edward Roberts Court, which has taken over the unit previously occupied by the St John’s Hospice charity shop, who have sadly left campus with no plans to return. This has led to very long, socially-distanced queues of students forming at most times of the day, often snaking all the way down past Furness. Some students have rightly complained that the collection point, and in particular the marquee-style tent erected outside it, is currently blocking the wheelchair access route up to Alexandra Square, thus requiring students in wheelchairs to take the long way round via the lift outside Pizzetta.

The underpass has an efficient one-way system in operation, with one staircase down only and the other staircase up only; so efficient, in fact, that one wonders why they didn’t think of this before. Buses are running as normal (see our bus update later in this issue) but cycle use has increased.

The overall effect is rather like the one year later… coda you often see at the end of a disaster movie, where, even in the face of catastrophe, the signs are that things might just, one day, return to normal. Let’s hope so.

CAMPUS GOES CASHLESS

Thinking of applying to Lancaster to study or work? Well, make sure your credit history is immaculate, you don’t have any problems obtaining a UK bank account and you don’t have any problems accessing your funds, because campus outlets are going cashless.

Since last week, four bars (Fylde, Grizedale, Lonsdale and Pendle) have been refusing to accept cash, and subtext is told that the plan is to roll this out across all bars, shops and cafés from the start of the next academic year.

The university is enthusiastic: ‘by going cashless, customers will be able to pay for transactions quicker and more conveniently via their card or phone.’

https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/eat/news/cashless-on-campus

subtext is not entirely sure how it’ll be quicker or more convenient to pay for a £1:30 cup of coffee by card, rather than by just handing over £1:30, but we’ll let that objection slide. And, hey, surely no-one uses cash these days? What next, do you want us to accept payment by postal order?

Well, yes, people still use cash, and not everyone has a choice in whether or not to use it. Many people at Lancaster have poor credit histories. Some people may not want family members or partners to potentially track where they’ve been spending their money. Others prefer to use cash as a way of imposing self-discipline on their spending. A large number of international students will not get a UK bank account until several weeks after their arrival, and will depend on cash until their account is set up.

We’re not sure how they’re going to get served in Welcome Week. We’re not entirely sure whether the university cares. We look forward to reading the relevant Equality Impact Assessment.