They spoke about a wide range of topics which affect students at Markeaton and received a direct response from a panel of University and Union staff including Warren Manning (PVC Dean of Engineering and Technology), Trudy Newton (Head of Infrastructure & Service Delivery), Andrew Bevan (Head of Estate Development) and Martin Beaumont (Union Head of Operations).
The issues that were raised initially came from the Ideas Forum, the links to which you can find below each topic heading. The Ideas Forum is a page on the Union Website and is such a direct way to give the Union feedback on what you want changed about your University experience - be that buses, lecture times or food – whatever you like! You simply submit an idea for change on the website, get 25 other students to vote for your idea and then the Union will consider your idea for action. Take a look below and see what was discussed and the outcomes that came from the Markeaton Street forum, and remember – if you don’t see something, which you feel, is an important issue to Markeaton students, then add it to the Ideas Forum!
1. The Union of Students presence at Markeaton Street
Idea: “Markeaton Street sees little or no activity from the Students Union. Most students aren't aware who the elected officers are, or even of who their fellow student representatives are. This leads to the problem of not knowing how to take actions when things upset them, or request new activities or events they'd like to see. This is hindering the fun, social aspect of University life for the students who are based here. Each site should be treated as a sister, not as a distant relative.”
Discussion: Students would like Markeaton to feel more like a community and even more so between MS and KR. Officer and rep visibility needs to be more present at Markeaton. The students would like to see more events at MS, like the freshers’ BBQ which was great! Students felt space is the main issue, as there is not a consistent space that can be used sometimes its the street, corridor, food area. It’s not a dedicated space unlike the Atrium at the university. Students suggested the old STEM rooms. Reps would like to know how they book events, as there is a mechanism for sports and societies.
University/Union response: Rooms can be booked via Info Point. There is the potential for university funding for union events at Markeaton Street, via reps societies or open to all. The possibility of a Markeaton takeover of the Kedleston Road atrium was suggested also. We are one university and we should be mobile and move to different sites. Union staff will be meeting with the Engineering and Technology Senior Management Team in December and will plan potential events for next term, ensuring relevant Arts based courses are involved also.
2. Longer Markeaton Street opening hours
Idea: “Markeaton is a busy campus during the day, unfortunately, this doesn’t follow into the evenings. At 21:00, Security makes sure everything is closed which doesn’t allow time for night owls to work. This proposes longer opening hours at the Campus which will allow students to make use of specialist equipment which would be be too costly for Individuals. It would allow those that work better in the evenings an opportunity to work with their strengths instead. Please vote and share!”
Further Discussion: There are further specialist areas that students would like access to in the evenings. Some of these could potentially be provided at Kedleston Road - further investigation will be needed. Later provision needs to be safe, well-lit and with security support. The possibility of access control was discussed.
University/Union response: Union staff and reps meet and follow-up in coordination with the Estates Department.
3. Markeaton street shop/cafe
Idea: “The MS shop is very rarely stocked. For students which MS is their main campus it is not ideal. There's no water sometimes, no crisps only big packets, the chocolate missing. This is to get the shop restocked for us students in the morning as we'd like some food and snacks please! Also the hot food has always run out of sausages or bacon, for those who can't eat meal deals or just fancy a hot sandwich for brekkie end up with nothing. A consistent stock in both areas would be brilliant!” *vending machines sandwich and salad* Asked about pre ordering - 5pm closure said looking into software* *Aramark open to 7pm*
Discussion: The suggestion of removing the wall between US Shop and unused room next door to improve storage and stock availability was discussed. The idea of allowing students to book/reserve food in advance was also suggested as a way of reducing waste and cost at the supplier level and potentially improving choice for students.
Union Response: We acknowledge there have been issues, we are limited by space but will look into the suggestions, develop our offering and consult with/feedback to students wherever possible.
4. Markeaton Street and Britannia Mill - microwaves
Idea: “What I've noticed is that the canteens and shops close at around 5pm, some students stay later and have to bring their own food; however they can't heat it up.”
Discussion: A sandwich vending machine that could also provide soup or pot noodle was suggested. Could existing coffee machines dispense hot water?
The Estates department have agreed in principle that microwaves will be permitted on all campuses. The Union will be working with them to agree the best locations for these. Other facilities on campus will also be considered.
5. Car drop off /pick up point at markeaton
Idea: “To create a car drop off / pick up point at Markeaton (for a minimum time of 30 minutes). Film and photography degree students use a lot of heavy equipment for the projects and it is both time consuming and physically exhausting to carry everything to/from car park at all times. We suggest a short period drop off area for this purpose alone next to Markeaton building.”
Discussion: We need to understand if students are parking at Brit Mill or Markeaton Street and walking to Markeaton. There was the suggestion of a bookable drop-off point.
University Response: Parking wise, the university said due to both planning concerns, and to respect local residents regarding traffic, it would probably be unlikely the site could have its own drop off centre. However the idea will be considered, particularly if further information can be provided.
6. Library at markeaton
Idea: Students said… “Markeaton should have their own library.”
Discussion: The practical challenges of this were discussed. The university and union staff agreed that it would be disadvantageous to have to split reading across sites and invest in setting up a mini library at MS. A cross campus book delivery system was also considered; however, the ideas has previously been dismissed as books spend more time in delivery vans than being read. being read.
It was felt students often didn’t know the extent of the library services made available to them, particularly those online, and that the emphasis should shift on teaching students how to get the most out of the library.
University response: The induction to the library during induction week should probably be spread across first semester, as students were possibly being overwhelmed with information. Again this feedback shall be considered for potential future developments, though an MS library is unlikely the university will work in partnership with students to ensure effective communication and use of resources..
Idea: Several students raised concerns over busses.
University/Union response: THe University is holding a review and the Union will be represented as part of this by Vice-President (Education) Scarlet Moss. Further discussion took place at rep conference and there will be follow-up.
- Discussion of locker installations in MS200 to allow students to store art projects whilst they are off-site no longer requiring them to carry then to and from home.
- Discussion to add Whiteboards to MS200 to enable students to better ideate in groups.
Union Response: Suggestions will be forwarded to David McGravie as part of the College of Arts Humanities and Education:
These issues will be further discussed at rep conference on November 28th and the union will continue represent students academic interests. Have issues to raise yourself? Contact your rep via this link.