More than 1,000 students in four catered LSE residences eat together each weeknight during term time, and from time to time host ‘Chow Down’, an event which gives students, School governors, staff and friends the opportunity to share a meal together (this one last year was hosted at Bankside).
On 25 February 2014, it was Passfield’s turn, and LSE Director Craig Calhoun visited ‘Chow Down’ to share conversation over dinner with the residents. He was joined by Warden Richard Perkins, who facilitated the event and oversaw the proceedings.
Attendees of previous ‘Chow Downs’ have been impressed with the strong sense of community and connection within the halls. They also enjoyed the opportunity to meet students in a relaxed setting. Craig Calhoun joined the good feedback the next day on his Twitter feed @craigjcalhoun.
The inspiring motto of the ‘Chow Down’ invitation is a quote from Oxford scholar and thinker Theodore Zeldin:
When minds meet, they don’t just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn’t just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards. Conversation has to explore new territory to become an adventure.
Residential Services arranges ‘Chow Down’ events regularly. If you interested in attending an event, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rosa and Ranny in front of recycling tubs at LSE Rosebery Hall
We work on a number of projects that help reduce our environmental impact. As part of this, staff and students at Rosebery, Carr-Saunders and Passfield Halls have developed and implemented six simple ideas:
- Reducing heat loss via increased monitoring of windows and prompt reporting of faulty windows.
- Increasing the visibility and promoting awareness of recycling points.
- Encouraging students via email and visual displays to save energy when doing simple everyday tasks, such as turning off the tap whilst cleaning their teeth.
- Keeping the green notice board updated with the latest green information.
- Introducing the “borrow bag scheme”, where staff and students can take and return plastic bags as they need them.
- And, most importantly, getting feedback from students by talking with them directly.
Here’s what students say:
“Rosebery is doing a great job at recycling. The recycling points are really easy to see and everyone knows where they are”. Ranny Wei, Rosebery resident
“The positioning of the Borrow bag scheme is clever. By putting it right by the door, students use it all the time”. Craig Weyman, Rosebery resident
It’s really simple and easy to think of six easy environmental wins, and we’d like to encourage all Halls to continue their green efforts in tackling their environmental easy wins, as part of their Residences Environmental Action Plans.
Andrew Hughes, Rosa Gil, Dan Reeves and all the staff at Rosebery, Carr Saunders and Passfield
Rosa and Craig at the green notice board and borrow bag scheme at LSE Rosebery Hall
Residents in catered halls eat together almost daily, which is a great way to socialise and build a supportive community. Students in self-catered halls don’t routinely get this opportunity, so we’re planning events to bring them closer over a meal.
The Northumberland House Lent Term welcome night out was such a special occasion. It was organised by Warden Dr Mathijs Pelkmans and took place on Saturday 18 January 2014 at the nearby Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). A viewing of ‘Oh Boy’ in the ICA Cinema, or alternatively a tour of the ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries’ exhibition, was followed by food and drink with the Warden and his team in the ICA Studio.
Thank you to everyone involved in making this happen.
Planned activities in other halls include the annual Chow Down during the weeks Monday 24 February 2014 and Monday 3 March 2014.
As part of our action plan following the staff survey, an externally led 360-degree feedback programme has been set up for all line managers across the Division. (Some Senior Managers such as members of the Residences Management Team have been through the process in the last couple of years).
What’s the aim of the programme?
The aim is to provide all managers in the Division with valuable insight into their own management style and effectiveness – as perceived by others. The feedback will enable managers to work with their own managers on individualised learning and development plans that aspire towards excellence in leadership and management behaviours and skills.
What is 360-degree feedback?
360-degree feedback is a process where colleagues of each individual are asked to provide anonymous feedback on that individual’s performance. It is called “360-degree” feedback as the individual must select people that include their manager, their direct line reports and a range of peers – therefore people who will all have experiences with the individual from a variety of perspectives.
What if I am asked to provide feedback about my manager?
If you are approached for feedback about your manager, or a colleague, you can be assured that your feedback will be anonymous, although the individual will see the combined ratings they receive and will see any ‘free text’ comments that are written, although they won’t see who these are attributable to. You should try to be honest, but constructive, in the feedback you give.
What happens if I am a manager going through feedback?
If you are a manager going through the feedback process, you are encouraged to include colleagues who you anticipate may give you more challenging views, e.g. someone who you sometimes have a tricky relationship with, as well as the people you get on well with. The process isn’t about who can get the most glowing reports, but about finding out an honest range of opinions – the good and the bad – from which to develop as a manager. All managers will have a ninety minute 1-2-1 session with an external consultant (Peter Storr), who will talk them through the feedback and help them start thinking about the development needs that this may suggest.
If anyone has any questions about the process, please feel free to speak to:
Sarah Jons in Residences,
Jacqui Beazley in Catering Services or
Louise Handley in HR.
On what some call the most depressing Monday of the year, we’ve been bringing a sense of homeliness and warmth to the office lunch hour.
Inspired by Animal Aid’s Meat Free Monday campaign and organised by our green initiative team, we’ve held our first shared office lunch in Sardinia House today.
Made with love and skill, but without meat – we’ve brought our own home-cooked food to share.
Our buffet included:
- Pecan banana and cinnamon bread
- Harissa, cauliflower and almond soup (The cauliflower soup was a revelation – thank you Mike! Creamy, spicy and smooth, healthy and fully vegan – no meat, no dairy.)
- Mediterranean pearl barley, olive and pumpkin salad
- Mushroom mini quiches
- Avocado, mozzarella and tomato salad
- Jerk Quorn with coconut salsa
- Lemon drizzle and mild rum cakes
The vegetarian lunch was such a success that we’re thinking of making it a regular thing.
Ah, and here’s the recipe for the soup:
Moroccan cauliflower and almond soup
It is almost a ‘store cupboard’ dish, as you’re likely to have most things in the house and don’t need to buy much else. Just make sure you pick up some good harissa paste the next time you’re walking past the spice aisle (if you’re super dedicated, you can also make your own harissa.
1 tbsp corn or sunflower oil
1 cauliflower, cut into pieces
50g flaked almonds, toasted
½ teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander and cinnamon
1l of good vegetable stock
2 tbsp harissa paste (and some more for serving)
In a large pot, heat the oil together with the spices until fragrant.
Add the cauliflower, almonds, stock and harrissa paste.
Simmer for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft.
Puree with a hand blender.
To serve, garnish with a little dollop of harissa paste.
Has this inspired you to start your own meat free office lunch? Have you got any meat free recipes you’d like to share? Check out the Animal Aid website for more inspiration or leave us a comment below.
For general information about sustainability at LSE, visit: Sustainable LSE
Update: We liked the lunch so much that we’ve repeated it on 4 March (a Tuesday, but hey).
This time, the dishes revolved around an ‘Indian’ theme.
‘Sweet Potato Gobi’
Getting hungry? Join us on the next meat free Monday (date yet to be set) or why not start your own?
With a fresh start to the new year comes a fresh start for the Accommodation Office. Once located in Tower 2, the office has now moved to a brand new location at 3.02 Saw Swee Hock Student Centre. It has reopened under the name of Residential Services.
All enquiries for the office should be directed to their new location. All other contact details remain the same.
We’re really pleased to be able to offer the department’s services from such a central hub of student life on campus and we wish the Accommodation Office all the best in settling into its new home. Please drop by to say hello.
As the holiday season is nearly upon us, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and commitment over the last 12 months. It has been a tremendously busy year for us all and it is credit to you all that it has been another successful one too.
Special thanks to those of you who have worked during the graduation ceremonies this week and to everyone working in halls during the Christmas period.
I wish you all a happy, healthy and relaxing holiday and I look forward to working with you all again in 2014.
With most room bookings now coming via the web, a good online reputation couldn’t be more important to us, so it’s nice to see that the first review from a Christmas 2013 visitor was a really positive one of Passfield Hall.
Our residences have been listed on the online review site since 2007. The central sales and marketing team is monitoring the feedback and actively managing the replies.
A mix of great facilities, friendly service and accurate property descriptions at the point of sale helps to ensure a great customer experience. Thanks for making it happen!
Read ‘Mollymermaid’s’ recent Passfield review: Breakfast of kings [Tripadvisor]
Congratulations to our Residential Life Officer, Lydia Halls who is moving to the Student Advice Team in January. Lydia has contributed to many projects since joining the Residential Life team. Always willing to help, friendly and enthusiastic she has been an asset to the Residences Team and we will miss her contributions to daily office life! We wish her every success in her new venture.
When asked the big question about what were her highlights working in the Residences Division were, Lydia said:
“It’s been a pleasure being part of a team that is so focussed on the experience of students in LSE residences. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many colleagues within our division, from those who I see on a daily basis to those I see less frequently in other parts of campus and in the Halls of Residence.
During the past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to get involved with many projects. Looking back, I’ve learned and accomplished a fair amount! Some personal highlights include:
- The work I’ve done with students, from organising an Orientation Programme for residents of Urbanest Tower Bridge when I first started, to my recent event for residents staying in London over the Christmas and New Year’s vacation.
- Helping to support the Subwardens and Student Hall Committee members. It’s been a privilege getting to see them grow and develop throughout the year.
- Implementing the pilot of the student-led University of London Residences Ambassador programme to help improve the experience of LSE students living in intercollegiate accommodation.
- Welcoming a delegation of US Higher Education personnel to LSE as part of the NASPA/AMOSSHE exchange.
- Inviting LSE Governors and Heads of student-facing departments to connect with the LSE residential experience by sharing dinner with students in catered halls (“Chow Down”).
Thank you everyone for being so supportive during my time in Residential Services. I’m excited to continue working with many of you in a different capacity as part of my new role in the Student Advice Team. I wish you all a merry Christmas and all the best for the future.”
RMT Meeting Thursday 5 December 2013
Key points from the December meeting:
- Removal of the £5 booking modification fee for commercial bookings was agreed.
- Handsets in student bedrooms will be disconnected at the end of the academic year 13/14. Arrangements for the removal of handsets would be made in due course.
- The “Working with Others: Fair Treatment and Respect” course for Managers will be attended by all RCSD managers in the next 12 months. Non- managers are encouraged to attend the non-manager course. For course listings, visit: The core learning and development programme.
- Residential Life are working with Studentpad and the Student Union to improve information relating to private sector accommodation for students. This should be completed by the end of Lent Term.
- A strategic workshops to review progress against three of the six strategic priorities took place early in December. A further workshop reviewing the remaining three strategic priorities will complete the process by the end of January. See: Residential Services Strategic Plan 2012-2017, six strategic priorities [PDF]
- Sign off of Accommodation Office, Summer School and Finance procedures. Also see: Policies and procedures [login required]
- A review of the first finance quarter from August to October 2013 was presented by Mark Beale, Head of Finance, highlighting a positive start to the year helped by strong commercial and staff accommodation sales.
If you have any questions on the discussion points above then please use the comment section related to this article or feel free to email any member of the RMT.