Studying in a metropolis like London, while a dream come true for most students, comes with its own set of challenges. However, while students were mentally prepared for the steep rent and smoke-filled air, one hurdle they did not foresee is the lack of safe open spaces for students to relax and recuperate between or after classes.
Roar talked to a second-year student from Electronic and Information Engineering, who wishes to remain anonymous. He said that while most students at the Strand campus lacked access to open spaces, reading a book or just relaxing in the front-yard of Maughan Library and the park behind the London School of Economics was a favourite pastime for him. He claims that, while he makes use of these spaces whenever he wants to unwind from all the studies and take care of his mental health, he is certain every student would agree it would be good to have more options when it came to green spaces.
Being an international student, he knew no one when he first arrived and it was at these congregational spaces that he socialised the most. According to the student, although King’s does a great job in providing these spaces, it is often quite hard to find a place in them and the fact that there is actually no outlet to find out about the vacancies available is yet another impediment. For example, he recently found out that his department has a common room, which he was not aware of.
The student’s main complaint, however, is the lack of ‘maker space’. He says: “There is currently no place where engineers, physicists, computer scientists or indeed anyone else, can unleash their creativity and work on cool stuff outside their coursework, except for the Wheatstone lab, a small room in King’s building usually serviced by students and a single professor, Matthew Howard, who volunteers his time to help out, which barely anyone outside the Robotics and Space society has heard of. Even fitting those two societies is a hassle since it can’t fit more than 8-9 people at once.”
When asked about the state of open spaces in comparison to other University of London colleges, the student said that while King’s fared well in comparison to most colleges, it lacked maker space.
“If you have a walk around the Engineering department of University College London, you will easily see a massive building that is provided solely for the purposes of it being a maker space, where anyone can work on any project that their mind can think of and have all the tools to do it,” the student said.
“I find it hard to believe that King’s is so far behind in terms of that and would love to see something done. You would be surprised at the creativity and enthusiasm of some engineering – and related disciplines – students I have met. Let us create.”