As the new university year starts, and as the students head off to start on their paths to become managers, technicians, engineers, scientists, teachers and other professionals, it is important to remember that the university experience isn’t just about lectures and essays. For many students, university is the first time they are away from home and it is important that they feel secure enough to give their all to their studies.
The student experience also plays a part in ensuing that universities attract the brightest and best student, from home and abroad. The UK has a stellar reputation for its universities, this goes beyond academic excellence and locations in amazing cities and towns, to the culture and experience as a whole.
Creating an environment that encourages learning
Creating an environment that is conducive to learning means ensuring lecture halls, classrooms, study and living areas are all kept clean and tidy. Messy and dirty areas not only present a poor image, they can be distracting and negatively impact the pride students have in your institution. This can be a mammoth and often daunting task, as there is so much to think about. Timetables, different settings and the coming and going of thousands of students and staff, all need to be considered when a cleaning schedule is being created. Not to mention the administration needed for hiring and processing cleaning staff, which can be a full-time job in itself. This is why more and more universities are outsourcing cleaning to external companies, ensuing high standards and less paperwork.
Keeping your students safe and secure
If your students are worried about their safety or the security of their belongings, they will not be able to concentrate on writing the best essay or completing a project to their best ability. Whether is it during the day, after a late-night study session or a pint at the student union, you want your students, staff and premises to be safe and secure, at any time of the day. There are many security resources available to help, in some areas of your campus CCTV cameras may be suitable, in other areas or at certain times of day the presence of a security officer may be more appropriate. Getting security right is about finding the right balance between control and versatility.
Food that nourishes the mind
They say an army marches on its stomach, and this is true of students and your staff too, people work better after a nourishing, tasty meal. No one wants to deliver a lecture to a hoard of hangry students, or to demonstrate a practical experiment over the sounds of rumbling stomachs. For many students, the meal they have in catered halls or on campus is the only proper meal they have each day, it is important that there are choices available that cater for a diverse range of diets, tastes and cultures, are nutritionally balanced and affordable for all. Student and staff restaurants must also meet the same stringent standards of other establishments and restaurants, and of course, they need to show they are taking the same steps towards sustainably and environmentally friendly practices.
Keeping your halls pest free
An errant rodent making an appearance in the middle of a lecture, in the library or in the dining hall, can easily distract your students, disrupt a lesson or put them off their lunch. In worst case scenarios areas of the university might need to be shut off from students and staff, meaning disruptions for a longer duration. There are steps you can take to minimise the risk of an infestation, including keeping food areas clean and routinely emptying bins, but if an infestation takes hold a professional pest control team will need to be called in to eliminate the pest safely.
Ensuring your assets keep running
Heating systems failing on a cold winter’s morning would make for uncomfortable lectures or seminars. A failure in the water supply would affect not only washrooms but also cleaning services and catering facilities. Lighting levels need to be maintained properly based on the room’s functionality, from ‘softened’ in lecture theatres to ‘bright’ in laboratories. Assets failing or not working in the normal way can cause a whole host of problems to your students and staff. Ultimately, the potential disruption caused can mean you have to close the university, disrupting the learning and lives of your students. A planned maintenance plan for each asset will ensure that your campus is kept fully functional, safe and legal at all times.
Investing in your future
Today’s students and their parents are savvier consumers, they investigate the whole university package before making the choice on where to invest their tuition fees. The location, accommodation and student experience are all considered along with the course content and future prospects. By making investments into the student experience, you are also investing into your future, not only by increasing applications but because engaged and inspired students work harder and get better results.
Outsourcing to the professionals
You can outsource one or many of these or other facilities services to a professional facilities management company, handing over the responsibility and administration and taking advantage of the company’s experience and expertise. Meaning your management team can concentrate on core priorities, ensuring you can continue striving for excellence.