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‘Your Campus, Your Say’ The Student Vision for the Kingston University Campus Development Plan

Lauren McCormack Vice President Activities 2012/13 Kingston University Students’ Union

A full set of results can be requested from KUSU Vice President Activities if required.


Your Campus, Your Say: The Student Vision for the Kingston University Campus Development Plan 1.0 Aims 2.0 Background 3.0 Method 3.1 National Student Survey Feedback 3.2 Fresher’s Fayre Ballot Box Student Survey: 20th – 21st September 2012 3.3 Fresher’s Fayre Learning Spaces Ballot Box Student Survey : 20th – 21st September 2012 3.4 Student Focus Groups on Town House Redevelopment: 14th – 26th November 2012 3.5 Online Student Survey Weds 28th November – Friday 7th December

4.0 Results 4.1 Town House Redevelopment Conclusions 4.2 Activities Space Conclusions 4.3 Learning Space

5.0 Student priorities 6.0 KUSU Interim Period

Appendix 

Appendix A: Fresher’s Fayre Ballot Box Survey 20th – 21st September 2012 – Results Graphs

Appendix B: Student Focus Groups on Town House Redevelopment: 14th – 26th November 2012 – Results Graphs

Appendix C: Online Student Survey: Weds 28th November – Friday 7th December – Results Graphs Appendix D: Meeting with Richard Middleton on the Town House Business Case

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Your Campus, Your Say: The Student Vision for the Kingston University Campus Development Plan 1.0 Aims  To Make life better for Kingston Students by ensuring they are at the heart of the decision making process.  To gather student feedback on the campus developments and give this to Kingston University to aid in the decisions that will be made.  To give students the opportunity to voice their opinion not just on the options within the Campus Development Plan but also the facilities and buildings they think there should be at Kingston University. 2.0 Background  There is a clear student need for redevelopment of campus facilities within Student activities  Multiple requests for improved learning and study spaces via course reps  Evidence from KU staff which emphasises student issues  The need to determine a new space for KUSU  The ever changing needs of the students union where we expand into new areas of engagement  A recognition from the NSS on the need for social, collaborative and student led space

Following an initial consultation meeting between KUSU and estates on the Town house building in August 2012; KUSU have collected specific student feedback on the Campus Development Plan and the student opinion on facilities and buildings students think should be provided by Kingston University. 3.0 Method  KUSU is developing a stronger student voice in activities and sought to explore issues of great relevance to students through a variety of methods including Fresher’s week activities, open office at other campuses, through student leaders within activities and course representatives.  To create movement in representative structures such as course representatives, faculty forums, Societies Working Group (SWG), Sports Working Action Group (SWAG) and student meetings such as the big students’ meeting (KUSU AGM).  From these discussions KUSU felt that a more formal method of data collection was needed and would be beneficial. From September – December 2012 KUSU - as the voice of the students gathered data on what students need from their campus to become the 21st century graduate that Kingston University would like them to be.  The following data collection methods were used: 3.1     

National Student Survey Feedback Used NSS comments to review campus development opportunities Reviewed NSS comments section using key words identified through other surveys Divided into common sections Purpose was to gain un pointed feedback Nationally recognised survey where student satisfaction scores are public and changes can make an impact on public view of Kingston University and KUSU as well as the student experience

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3.2 Fresher’s Fayre Ballot Box Student Survey: 20th – 21st September 2012   

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A ballot style survey was chosen due to its short interaction with students It was focussed on first year students We aimed at getting a wide perspective and opinion by having open ended questions designed to not lead students to a particular answer KUSU also wanted to know what areas of KUSU was important to them by having a tick box question This wide perspective would give a foundation of data to warrant further investigation Total Responses – 652

3.3 Fresher’s Fayre Learning Spaces Ballot Box Student Survey : 20th – 21st September 2012  A ballot survey was done to see what types of learning and teaching space and facilities students expected from University  It was focussed on first year students and had open ended questions 3.4 Student Focus Groups on Town House Redevelopment: 14th – 26th November 2012  A joint focus group with KU Estates and KUSU was held initially with 23 students which revealed there was more to explore  Several more focus groups were held with a further 100 students to gain wider student opinion  Objective was to gain specific targeted student feedback on the Town House Building due to upcoming deadlines on decisions  Total Responses – 126 3.5 Online Student Survey Weds 28th November – Friday 7th December  This aimed at getting wider student opinion on the potential Town house redevelopment, activities spaces and learning spaces.  There was more to ask them than the focus groups allowed following the data we received from the fresher’s surveys and other conversation verbal feedback from students  More quantative method to record student opinions  We had an idea of what students wanted, but needed to determine if this was widely and deeply felt  Total Responses – 366 4.0 Results 4.1 Town House Redevelopment Conclusions Students were asked to comment in all data collection with the exception of the NSS and Fresher’s Fayre Learning Spaces survey; and explore in great detail the potential Town House redevelopment. The broad nature of some suggestions for KU and other surveys made it difficult for some students to answer the questions as they required more specific information. Clarity of questions asked made it difficult for students to answer due to the lack of information students had. 4


4.1.1 There was strong student support that this building should be student focussed with students at the heart of the redevelopment. Students felt that the changing nature of Higher Education and the addition of a higher cap on fees meant that student recruitment and the Universities image for students were more important than ever before. In addition students expressed concern at the lack of facilities that were truly student focussed and the impact this had on attainment, progression and retention of students at Kingston University. 

97.6% of students from the focus groups thought the building should be student facing -Student focus groups November 2012

‘This building should be designed by students for students... Let me design it please’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

Top 12 things students would like to include in a new Town House Redevelopment: -This is a collaboration of results from both the student focus groups and student online survey where the top 12 were the same but in a slightly different order KUSU bar and social space Computer rooms with laptop charging Retail outlet Cafe KUSU offices Bookable rooms for group work / societies Social space Performance space (flexible seating) Support (careers, financial, employment) Food court Large open space (graduation) Non academic multi-function rooms

4.1.2 Students strongly supported a space that could be flexible, social, and allowed interaction with both students and staff from all areas of Kingston University Students supported spaces such as cafes, social space and work friendly space where students and staff could collaborate and create a sense of community between staff and students. This partnership working is the subject of extensive work by QAA, HEA, and Universities UK and is a current project between KUSU and ADC (academic Development Centre). There was a strong feeling that Kingston University should have an interface between itself and the community but students strongly felt a flexible space which could invite the community into Kingston University while still showcasing the whole of the Kingston University community would be a better approach. 

‘It should provide a way to connect all students from across different subject areas as this is currently prohibited by the different campuses.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

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99.2% of students who attended focus groups believed the redevelopment should be for all students and staff -Student focus groups November 2012

‘I think the building should be student focused, with social spaces and space to showcase student work, not just another building with classrooms and offices.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

4.1.3 Students saw KUSU as an integral part of the new redevelopment on the Town House site Students strongly felt that there was a space for all aspects of KUSU including KUSU offices which facilitate democracy representation student activities and student support and our commercial services. When discussing commercial services, students felt strongly that they should be run for students by students when providing a safe space for them to hold activities which are inclusive and facilitate their learning and a sense of community. Students recognised a lack of access to facilities for co-curricular activities and felt that by allocating KUSU space to facilitate that students would be able to become better engaged with University life. 

75.5% of students agreed that KUSU offices should be included and 82% agreed the KUSU bar/social space should be included in the new redevelopment -This is a collaboration of results from both the student focus groups and online student survey November-December 2012

‘The focus of this building should be students and their community. The Union and Bar currently have tiny, ugly, uncomfortable spaces to work with and the majority of students don't want to spend time there. As a result Kingston has a pretty poor feeling of community and friendship. It is hard to meet and socialise with people outside of your course. The new space should aim to improve student activities to create a team spirit to strengthen Kingston Uni. Also the student bar should be there to provide us with a safe, relatively cheap and fun place to hang out, which it is failing to do at the moment. A performance space would allow students and student clubs to run showcases and events for whatever on campus which would be great - this area could be linked to the bar, so for instance the Pharmacy society could hold their annual ball there instead of paying out big money to local venues, or the Dance society could put on a fundraising show etc.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

‘I think the building should be student focused, with social spaces and space to showcase student work, not just another building with classrooms and offices.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

4.1.4 Students gave little support for the redevelopment to include space for the institutions management and its staff/alumni Social, student focussed space is extremely important to students. Students want a place where they can access the services they may need which aids them in their day to day lives as a student. Students have demonstrated a need for a place where they can access extracurricular activities and want to actively get involved in other opportunities. Students want to socialise with their peers 6


through sports and society related activities, support student led initiatives and create a student community hub within this new building. Students recognise the need for improved learning and teaching related facilities. Although more ebooks and more computers aren’t directly something the CDP would deal with, it shows the need for Kingston to provide a space where more books can be housed and more computer rooms can be facilitated to provide students with the space they need to complete their studies. Students wanted functionality from the new build rather than a ‘statement building’ and were in favour of the focus to be around students specifically rather than the local community. 

‘...Generally a building that is just for current students, no staff room or alumni etc offices’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

‘This is about the students, not the lecturers’ -Student Focus Groups November 2012

Bottom 3 things from the list students would include in a new Town House redevelopment - Online Student Survey November-December 2012 Staff common room / social area Alumni office / lounge Office space for VC

‘I definitely disagree with building a "KU landmark" I feel it's a waste of resource and money.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

‘The university should be focused on the student experience, it should not even be a question of how often students are allowed to use the facilities they are paying for. It doesn't need to be exclusively available to students but they should have priority.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

4.2 Activities Space Conclusions Students are looking for opportunities to take part in co-curricular activities while at University however have struggled to access facilities that are able to support and develop their activities needs. Following the ‘Support Our Sports’ campaign in 2009 and numerous request from students for increased activities space, data was collected to evidence the type of facilities students wanted and to enable the development in the activities they would like to pursue. Students are being encouraged to take part in co-curricular activities to develop their employability and transferable skills however the lack of facilities at Kingston University presents a barrier to the number of students who would like to get involved. 4.2.1 Students reported many cases where they wanted to get involved in physical activity through student led activities; however the space was not available. Most of the requests for space relate to activities which could be run in a sports hall type facility. Students felt strongly that the lack of this space was a barrier to their involvement in physical activity 7


as well as the university community. Student-run space can be more flexible, innovative and responding to immediate and emerging needs, wants and interests of students.

‘Better facilities for sports and societies. A good sports hall with equipment can be used by many sports and societies. We have very successful sports clubs which help to promote and represent the university, by winning competitions and matches. Other Universities provide on campus sports facilities but we have none.’ -Online Student Survey November – December 2012

‘I think it is a real shame that the Uni gym has been given over to a private company before this investment has happened. Student Facilities should be for students not someone else's profit. Many students go to other gyms because of the lack of a pool and price. If a pool is built but isn't part of the gym what's the point? I would like to see a whole new gym in the new building as part of the students union. Bigger - Better - Brighter facilities that make students want to join. Kingston Uni is really so far behind others in terms of the sports and social facilities they offer students and this should be improved.’-Online Student Survey November – December 2012

~300 students marched on the ‘SOS – Support Our Sports Campaign’ in 2009 for increased support and facilities for sports at Kingston University

The highest number of suggestions in the Fresher’s Fayre Survey were Sports related Fresher’s Fayre Student Survey September 2012

‘Sports hall and gym at the Kingston Hill campus plus rooms for clubs and societies. Unfair that KH students have to travel for all extracurricular activities.’ -Online Student Survey November – December 2012

4.2.2

There was strong support for increased investment activities space including prayer space, collaborative space, sports facilities, social space and spaces for co-curricular activities which students are encouraged to get involved with.

‘...A performance space would allow students and student clubs to run showcases and events for whatever on campus which would be great - this area could be linked to the bar, so for instance the Pharmacy society could hold their annual ball there instead of paying out big money to local venues, or the Dance society could put on a fundraising show etc.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

‘Generally the only problem with Kingston Uni is that student’s don’t have a decent social area. And all the different campuses segregate students on different courses. There are also not enough facilities for the different societies. For example, the cheerleaders have to practice at Tiffin school because there is no space for them at the Uni’ -Online Student Survey November – December 2012 82.6% of students were in support of student/society bookable rooms -Online Student Survey November – December 2012 8


‘Sports space with multiple functions i.e. conferences, open day, etc. Studios for dance/drama course for studios.’ -Online Student Survey November – December 2012

‘There are nowhere near enough drama and dance rooms. 5 of my last 6 booked rehearsals have had to be 9pm till 10pm as everything else was too booked up’ -Online Student Survey November – December 2012

4.3 Learning Space Students were asked for their comments in all data collection with the exception of the focus groups. KUSU explored the types of learning spaces and facilities students expected when they came to University. Although this has given us some idea of what students want in relation to learning space this is an area which can be further explored. 4.3.1

Technology is essential to a learning space in the 21st century. Students felt the technology in their learning space did not match their learning experience in school nor will it match the expectations in the graduate environment.

‘All these things are not why students spend £9000 to come to uni. They should rather spend the money on better teachers, online lectures, workshops and accerelerating and maximise how much students learn.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

‘Library and computer facilities at Penhryn are shocking; there are never any computers to use during the day. The university seriously needs to invest in these areas.’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

4.3.2

Independent study is crucial for students in a HE environment. Kingston University’s learning space needs to reflect the nature of HE delivery and allow students access to facilities which promote independent study.

Academic Related and Technology related suggestions were mostly related to academic studies and included things such as a bigger library, more science labs, an increased amount of books and E-books, better computers and more plug sockets. Students require flexible working spaces and increased access to available computers, particularly around exam periods. This mirrors the feedback from students in the NSS around Library facilities, Computer access and increased working spaces. -Fresher’s Fayre Student Survey - September 2012

‘Silent study as it is... is not silent. LRC staff are just as much to blame for noise disturbance as students/staff also making noise in the library. It's almost like we should have pods or capsules or something just to block out sound!!!’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

‘I think the lack of computers is always an issue, more plug sockets would help, sometimes I take my laptop to uni and end up having to work on the floor because there are no sockets near the tables.’ 9


-Online Student Survey November-December 2012

4.3.3

Collaboration is a common theme not only in assessments but in learning styles. The current lack of collaborative space on all four campuses makes it difficult for students to complete the collaborative work which underlines the value in a Kingston degree.

‘Make free rooms in JG bookable for students, seeing as there are only four or five group study rooms that can be booked on the Penrhyn road campus’ -Online Student Survey November-December 2012

Top 5 Learning Space suggestions - Online Student Survey November-December 2012 Alternate Late Night Study Areas More Plug Sockets More Personal Study Areas More Computer Access Centres More Group Study Areas

‘The ratio between the desk space in the library and the amount of students wanting library desk space is probably 1/10. Most days I sit on the floor when I revise in the Library. It's uncomfortable.’ - Online Student Survey November-December 2012

5.0 Student priorities Social, student focussed space is extremely important to students. Students want a place where they can access the services they may need which aids them in their day to day lives as a student. Students have demonstrated a need for a place where they can access extracurricular activities and want to actively get involved in other opportunities. Students want to socialise with their peers through sports and society related activities, support student led initiatives and create a student community hub within this new building. Students recognise the need for improved learning and teaching related facilities. Although more e-books and more computers aren’t directly something the CDP would deal with, it shows the need for Kingston to provide a space where more books can be housed and more computer rooms can be facilitated to provide students with the space they need to complete their studies. With rising student fees and ever increasing student expectations; Kingston University cannot afford to have students at the heart of decisions. 6.0 KUSU Interim relocation The Students Union is a key stakeholder of the Campus Development Plan and will be affected enormously by any plans to demolish the Town House Building. The new build is expected to take at least a few years and so it is important to consider where KUSU will be located in the interim period. Access to the Students Union is a high priority for the students and vital to the Students’ Union to be able to deliver and maintain our level of services and representation for students, therefore any change in location must be well thought out.

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Appendices

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Appendix A: Fresher’s Fayre Ballot Box Survey 20th – 21st September 2012 – Results Graphs

KUSU Student responses by category Students were asked what KUSU services they thought should be in the new ‘Town House’ redevelopment. The Kingston University Students Union Bar came out highest which could demonstrate the student need for a social space. This was closely followed by KUSU Activities which covers sports, societies and volunteering. This might be linked to the student perceptions of what a Student Union does and what they may interpret it to be. The KUSU shop also featured highly and it’s interesting to see that tangible services offered by the union had the highest outcome. The representation aspects of the union including KUSU advice and support, and Student Officers did not feature as highly which could be due to the majority of the sample size being First years and because the survey was done at the Fresher’s Fayre where KUSU activities and events are what the students go there to find out about. The responses to this question may reflect the broad themes of informal feedback we have encountered thus - that students want and value a hub where they can access social space and student facing activities in one place. 12


Student suggestions for inclusion in the town house redevelopment Students were asked the following open ended question to gain a non pointed response of what else they would like to see in the new Town house building. ‘What other facilities or services would you want in a new building?’ A total of 184 students made a suggestion for ‘other’ things to be included in the new Town House redevelopment which were categorised under a variety of subheadings which included a wide variety of facilities and services including various forms of food and drink outlets, social spaces and other sports and activity related facilities as shown in Figure 5. Other - Technology included suggestions such as ‘Sky TV in Space Bar’ ‘Gaming Facilities’ ‘Apple Mac Computers’ and an ‘Internet Café’. Other – Sports Facilities included a range of responses such as ‘Recreation Centre’, ‘Sports Hall’ and ‘Free Weights Gym’. Other – Bookshop was referenced a few times as well as ‘Bookshop and Stationary Shop’. Other – Social Space Other- Performance Space was referenced several times and a few times as a ‘Flexible use performance space’ along with ‘Venue for Performance Arts’ and music based comments such as ‘Student Bands playing’. Other – Food and Drink included many suggestions for a café, ‘More Canteens’ specific food outlets, and references to the Bar ‘Bigger Bar and Social Areas’. Other – Cinema Some students made suggestions for a cinema, which again demonstrates the need for a non-academic focus on the building.

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Student Campus Development Suggestions by Category ‘Kingston University are planning to spend up to 80 million pounds over the next few years on new buildings and facilities in and around all of Kingston University Campuses. What facilities, buildings or campus developments do you want this money spent on??’ A total of 379 students made suggestions, and each one categorised into different sub sections to group similar responses. Student Wellbeing included suggestions such as a campus pharmacy, prayer rooms and disability services which demonstrates the need for a focus on facilities and services students need access to which aren’t necessarily related to their studies. Commercial related suggestions were largely to do with the provision of various food and drink outlets such as Costa Coffee, social spaces, more and improved student accommodation, and various services such as a 24/7 convenience shop, travel services and transport advice. Entertainment related responses included better entertainment, a bigger and better Student Union Bar, and larger social areas. Campus related suggestions were extremely varied and included things such as the provision of lockers which could reflect on the amount of commuting students we have, green space, studio space which again links back to the NSS results and in particular students who study at Knights Park. Common room areas and places to ‘Chill out’ were often referenced by students which has been a recurring theme throughout. Academic Related and Technology related were mostly related to academic studies and included things such as a bigger library, more science labs, an increased amount of books and E-books, better computers and more plug sockets. Students require flexible working spaces and increased access to available computers, particularly around exam periods. The feedback here mirrors the feedback in the NSS around Library facilities, Computer access and increased working spaces. We received the highest number of Sports related suggestions demonstrating the need for improved provision for sports, specifically indoor facilities. Specific facilities such as an outdoor cricket pitch, Astroturf pitch and an indoor sports hall were suggested. Again, feedback from students links back to the extra opportunities they would like available to them to become the well rounded graduate of today.

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Appendix B: Student Focus Groups on Town House Redevelopment: 14th – 26th November 2012 – Results Graphs

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Appendix C: Online Student Survey: Weds 28th November – Friday 7th December – Results Graphs

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Appendix D: Meeting with Richard Middleton on the Town House Business Case Conversation with KUSU and Richard Middleton Rita, Lauren, Sean, Mark 30 January 2013 This was a very interesting conversation. Lauren had sent beforehand the analysed results of a range of consultations that KUSU had undertaken about this (attached at the end for convenience). Their first, unanimous, comment was that the primary issue for them is SPACE – the lack of it. That is space to sit, to study, to organise events to stay out of the rain. I heard a number of powerful images:       

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Students filling the corridors during rain because there is nowhere to go; Students going into town and the parade of cafes on Surbiton Road for space to sit and wifi – and pubs and McDonalds; Cafes are the main growth business on Surbiton Road, funded by students; It should not be necessary to buy coffee and food to be able to find a place to study or relax; Students with long commutes who may not come in for a single lecture because they cannot guarantee to be able to work when they are here; That it is a hassle finding a space in the LRC after 10am; That the KUSU bar relaxed its rules on non-spending following pressure from KUSU because there was nowhere else to go [Mark said he could provide receipts figures which could demonstrate this]; It is really hard to make friends at Kingston University because there is so little place in which to meet people socially; It is extremely hard to book a room as a student in order to organise an activity or an event of any kind – whether that is to be able to study as a group (e.g. prepare for a presentation), or meet as a society or to organise an event; there was real frustration and disappointment that as a consequence the University’s commitment to co-creation, partnership, innovation, support for students was not demonstrated in practice, indeed it was blocked; After the 3rd week of the new term lecture attendances drop significantly – because students find the campus a difficult place to work – with the consequence that it can seem as if “you are paying for the reading list”; The remodelling of the ground floor of JG is experienced as a big loss of study / social space – not compensated for by the creation of a new student services location.

These critical comments apply especially to Penrhyn Road and Roehampton Vale. Students have a variety of needs and wishes for space on the campus, beyond the basic LRC model: 

They want to be able to relax and socialise; 23


    

They want to be able to study in a relaxed and sociable environment, switching from study to conversation; They want to undertake and complete group work enjoyably and successfully. They want to be able to meet friends in societies; Lockers, especially for those doing sports, but also for students who commute a distance with heavy loads and coats and for societies to store their kit and material. Pigeonholes in a prominent place so that societies can communicate with students.

It was noted that the alcove in the Penrhyn Road reception was heavily and successfully used for promoting societies, despite being evidently inadequate, which it was felt demonstrated the need for such space. My interpretation is that KUSU were giving rich and varied examples of the lack of community on the Penrhyn Road campus that other stakeholders had commented on. KUSU were by implication pointing out how specific and practical actions could significantly contribute to the development of a sense of community and enjoyment at Penrhyn Road. Developing this point, KUSU argued that centralising these kinds of facilities, and including the LRC-type facilities, helped support the development of a university community further. They agreed that a dispersed model of social and study facilities would be attractive too, but argued strongly that the first step is to create such facilities in a way that encouraged interactions and serendipity, and hence (new) friendships. KUSU made a strong case for some of the facilities in the new building to be student-run as well as being provided for students. They had examples of where this worked successfully, not least North Carolina which is a long-term partner of Kingston’s. There are benefits of this which in effect overcome negatives:  

University-managed space is inevitably bureaucratic and rule-bound, because that is how the university needs to do things; If the University does everything for students then inevitably they do not feel appreciated nor respected, as adults.

However there are also strong intrinsically positive reasons for doing so: 

 

Student-run space can be more flexible, innovative and responding to immediate and emerging needs and interests of students – in that way it demonstrates the University’s strategic objectives of partnership with students and encouraging innovation; Student management of facilities creates opportunities for employment, income, skills development, CV-relevant work, soft employment skills and the very environment for supporting entrepreneurship that the University celebrates; Student-run events are part of and a major contribution to the University’s desire for greater community engagement; The student body is more diverse than the University staff or management and thus their management of resources enables and promotes University diversity more readily;

In short, good quality facilities that are self-evidently student-run, captures and delivers on an important part of the University’s vision. 24


KUSU supported the proposition, discussed in the conversation with Simon Bush and Mike Pollard, that a building that is used by many key stakeholders (especially related to business, enterprise and research along with students) and which is evidently shared, is a way of demonstrating and realising key Kingston objectives. Finally, Mark promised that he could provide data on student participation in KUSU, KUSU activities and clubs/societies, KUSU support for members engaged in representation, etc. Very finally, a test for a new building and a new disposition of services would be that it would meet the needs of a student who did not have the first clue about how the University works nor about how to get information or get things done. Connectedness is an importance concept in achieving this.

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Your Campus, Your Say, Campaign Report