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Back in the frame 4 October 2007

Posted by Dr Moose in Recommendations, University.
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Well, here I am in the Chaplaincy Office on Park Campus of EMUT (East Midlands University Town), and thoroughly enjoying the delights of dual-role ministry. There’s denying that it will get busier, but it’s just so good to be back in the Uni environment!

Yesterday was the Freshers’ Fair, traditionally the time when student organisations tout for business – and often with a bewildering range of societies available for the (in)discriminating student. This turned out to be a little different. While there was a marquee, broadcasting music that everyone but me seemed to know, which was hosting the sporting societies (including Cheerleading!) and information on nightclubs, the Sports Hall seemed to be more a case of business organisations touting for students – which struck me as a little bizarre.

The Christian Union had a presence, with a natty line in blue on blue sweatshirts (or were they hoddies?), as did the LGBT Society and the Afro-Carribean Students, but it felt far more like everyone else was trying to advise, recruit or sell their services. I’m still not quite sure what the Casino was doing there! I hope they were simply recruiting potential employees, but I didn’t have the nous to follow that up at the time…

In retrospect it was all, I don’t know, rather worthy: health and fitness, sexual health, teachers’ unions trying to recruit, the local pizza delivery franchise, a little polite political activism, and a spattering of Green issues. Which raises the question – don’t students actually have fun any more, beyond the sports field, the bar and the bed?

Maybe not. Especially as a news story caught my eye recently over the BBC website about how UK students work fewer hours per week than their European counterparts. Given that, you might expect there to be more of a social life, but with the Uni running a Part-Time Jobs Fair today, which recommends that students work up to 20 hours a week in part-time emplyment (thats right – 20 hours!) and coupled with the pressure to pay for tuition fees…

Then again, it might have a lot to do with the changing nature of universities. This isn’t a high profile national institution, although I’m sure they’d be delighted if it was. Talking to folks suggests very strongly that a lot of students have come from little more than an hour away in any direction, not forgetting the increasing numbers of mature students and those living at home.

Well, I’d been told that EMUT is different!

Unfortunately, not all that different, though. Our Chaplaincy Centre is in an excellent location on the gournd floor of a hall of residence, very close to the Student Union. Which is good. Except that one of the residents directly above is playing rap at an aggressively high volume and it’s beginning to get annoying… It might soon just be time to go walkabout and engage in random conversations and a ministry of presence – which in itself is wonderful – and certainly better than the nascent headache!

(Of course, as soon as I wrote that, God be praised, the “music” stopped! – and I found an interesting article to complement this rambling over on the good old Beeb.)

As to where faith fits into these ruminations, well I’ll leave the theological refelctions till after lunch. If that is, I get no visitors wanting hospitality.

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