Notes from session held at Toad Hall on Wednesday 23 September
As a postgraduate student, I chose Toad Hall because of the similar student environment that it provided to undergraduate accommodation.
Pastoral care is still an important factor for postgraduate students. I lived at UniLodge for a bit and, while I enjoyed my own space, I felt like I didn’t have community around me.
I picked Toad Hall because it had a group of residents who were focused on their research and it gave me the social and community environment that I was looking for. I think if ANU was to build more accommodation, it would be good to consider postgraduates in the traditional hall model.
When I picked accommodation, I didn’t want to have to be forced to do group activities. I was disappointed that there wasn’t greater facilities and things open later in the immediate area.
I’m a mature-aged undergraduate student. Most undergraduates make friends with other students in their residential halls and then move with these friends into group housing later. Can you provide an environment for these students who want more independent living to stay on campus?
As an international student, I wanted to live on campus as my first preference. I really enjoyed the social aspect of the residential hall environment. I enjoyed the shared kitchens and learned how to cook a lot of different meals.
Why does ANU not guarantee accommodation for postgraduate students? I arrived here post O-week and spent 15 days in a backpackers’ hostel while studying.
Vice-Chancellor: The only way we can do it for everyone is build more accommodation. We base our present policy on the assumption undergraduate students are more vulnerable than postgraduate students but we know that is not always the case.
Is there a future for postgraduate families on campus?
Vice-Chancellor: Right now, it is difficult to provide such accommodation. But with the redevelopment of Union Court, there is a plan to build accommodation for families as part of that. It’s one of the shortfalls we have in our accommodation at present.
Many international students prefer to live on campus because it is a good environment to make friends. However, when people apply from their home country the advice that there is accommodation comes very late. It can be a big problem when people come from a strange country to not have accommodation certainty. It can discourage people from coming to ANU.
Vice-Chancellor: It’s something ANU is very aware of and we are trying to improve this process. I absolutely appreciate this is a significant concern for international students.
The contracts for rooms are very inflexible. When I was offered accommodation, there was a very limited time in which I could lock in a contract and pay the deposit. I wasn’t prepared for this and it wasn’t what I was used to.
Vice-Chancellor: I agree, that would be a big shock. Maybe we need to look at better communication to international students.
Some students have double beds, some have single. Why is this? Are demographics taken into consideration? Some rooms have air conditioning and some don’t.
Vice-Chancellor: One of the things students have indicated in consultation is a desire for double beds. This is a very important issue for students. However, when asked, they didn’t mind about the air conditioning. It was a trade-off.
Ian Walker: There is a major problem with the air conditioning, especially on the third floor of Toad Hall. There needs to be serious consideration of power usage over the summer.
With the tariffs going up, I hear many concerns from students about the furnishings of bedrooms and other facilities, including the size of beds, the quality of curtains and cooking facilities.
Vice-Chancellor: We agree and that’s why we are starting this process. We appreciate that some of the buildings need to be refurbished and that is why we are seriously looking at how we modernise and improve accommodation for all of our students. Some halls need major maintenance and capital investment. We want to provide good value for money for our students.