What’s campus like this term, then? With even fewer of us likely to be visiting any time soon, your intrepid correspondent reports.
You might expect the answer to be
empty, but, despite what you may have read about everyone staying in their parental homes until March, there are still plenty of people around. Some of them never left at all, of course. Reportedly, around 500 students were on campus at the start of January, and that number has grown considerably since then. The Vice-Chancellor observed, at his all-staff meeting on Friday 29 January, that over 40% of campus rooms were currently occupied.
The lack of campus teaching does make the Spine startlingly quiet, even at lunchtime, but people are still there — just not moving around as much. The food outlets are still open and people are still queueing for Greggs.
Security staff seem to be busy preventing illegal parties, which appear to be more prevalent this term, in the residence blocks. Parties of up to 80 people have been reported both on- and off-campus; the BBC picked up on a recent incident in which a
warehouse party with 50–70 attendees was broken up on St George’s Quay:
Evidently, our students are increasingly disillusioned with the state in which they find themselves, though some are responding more productively than others (see our articles in this issue on the student rent strike).
Our newest facility, the Margaret Fell Lecture Theatre next to Chemistry, is now open — well, the building is, although no-one is currently using it. It’s a pleasant, tiered theatre, shaped a bit like Faraday, but with brown seats. The entrances are at the bottom, rather than the top, so students seeking to sneak into their 9am lecture late without being noticed will be very disappointed.
Much of the
buzz on campus, such as it exists, comes from movement in and out of the asymptomatic coronavirus testing facility in the Great Hall.
Whether or not we resume face-to-face teaching on Monday 8 March — subtext, for one, is a little sceptical about this — it seems likely that the current
slightly occupied mood on campus will persist for a long while yet.