Student news round-up: Starting term in a Travelodge, Oxford student who crowdfunded her masters, and St Andrews' celebrity cat dies

 

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The Independent Online

Building site or Travelodge? Cambridge students' housing

The beginning of the academic year heralds many things, but none are more certain than university accommodation problems.

At Queen's College, Cambridge, students have been told that construction delays mean they will have to choose between living in a building site or a Travelodge for the start of term. A member of staff told students that windows would be only partially complete, rooms would not be properly furnished, and "drinking water will be available from the wash-basin taps in the shower rooms". In addition, builders will start work each day at 7:30.

In Aberdeen, the university has left some students without accommodation twice in a row. After making too many offers and consequently finding its halls of residence oversubscribed, the university put students up in hostels and hotels. But it then confirmed they had places in another hall, causing them to cancel their temporary accommodation - only to withdraw the offer because there wasn't enough room.

Finally, hundreds of freshers at the University of Bristol will have to temporarily share rooms and sleep in bunk beds after the University took in too many students.

Masters student raises £10,000 on Twitter

An Oxford student has used crowdfunding to raise the £10,000 she needed for her masters degree, The Oxford Student reports.

Rachael Ohwin, who will now take an MSc in migration studies, used the hashtag #Oxford10000 with the aim of raising £10,000 in 10 days so she could guarantee her place. "It spread like wildfire," she said. "One of my tweets received over 700 retweets in a day!" She raised £3,650 in the first 24 hours.

She said her campaign highlighted problems with the funding system. "The lack of funding out there for postgraduate study is quite shocking. When I found out I didn’t get the HEFCE scholarship, I was pretty much lost."

Cambridge college's scholarship for Syrian graduates

A postgraduate college at Cambridge is offering a scholarship for Syrian students with the aim of creating "future leaders" for the country.

Varisty reports on Clare Hall's Global Leaders initiative, which offers 50 fully funded places to students around the world. The new Syrian scholarship is "intended for students who wish to use their education to contribute towards positive change in Syria, and who have the potential to become future leaders."

The college will work with Jusoor, an Syrian NGO that provides education for refugees and funds graduates abroad, to provide the place.

Manchester to punish students for off-campus behaviour

The University of Manchester has passed an amendment allowing it to punish students for their behaviour off-campus in the face of opposition from the students' union.

The Mancunion reports on a meeting of the Student Conduct and Discipline Committee, which changed the university's definition of misconduct to include "conduct that damages the University’s relationship or reputation with its local communities". It says it will require evidence of "substantiated complaints" from local residents or police.

The student union has criticised the amendment, calling it overly broad and ambiguous. It said the move continues "to perpetuate a narrative that students cause damage to the community by virtue of simply being students. It is important to us that their autonomy as citizens and community members, outside of their academic identity, is protected."

Students increasingly likely to cook properly

Only 14 per cent of students frequently eat takeaway food during the week, according to a new YouGov report, while nearly two in five say they often cook food from scratch. Furthermore, 21 per cent of students could be considered 'foodies': those who enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes.

Part of the reason for the fresh interest in home cooking may be the quality of university food. Only one in 10 students said their college canteen or cafe food was high quality, and just a fifth called it very good value for money.

Tom Rees, a research manager at YouGov, said shops would need to respond to the new trend. "Local businesses and supermarkets need to start looking at how they can attract the attention of this new ‘foodie’ generation, making cooking for themselves more accessible and enjoyable – especially focusing on those who might currently lack the experience or aptitude to get cooking."

Celebrity St Andrews cat dies

Hamish McHamish, the famous town cat of St Andrews, Scotland, has died.

The Saint reports on the sad news that Hamish, aged 15, passed away of a chest infection. He had risen to fame by rejecting his owner, choosing instead to nomadically wander the streets of St Andrews. He was the subject of his own book, Hamish McHamish of St Andrews: Cool Cat About Town, and appeared on The One Show. In April, when the town raised £5,000 for a bronze statue in his honour, the news was reported by the Independent, Time, and the Washington Post among others.

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