Reducing energy, water, and waste
The GSA run Halls of Residence, amongst them the purpose-built Margaret Macdonald House. The Halls have an Environmental Policy, and residents are encouraged to follow a Responsible Resident Charter.
Each June we work with Halls staff to collect any unwanted items left by students departing Halls. We store, then give these items out to new students in September at a Freshers Rummage, we post up the event just before Freshers Week
Students in Halls are encouraged to recycle within their flats and rooms. Most things can be recycled, including books through the Bookcrossing scheme, and clothing through the BHF clothing bin.
Saving water and energy are two areas students can make a real difference. With so many showers and sinks, water-saving is a key policy which the Halls are keen to promote – taking shorter showers saves energy and water, and turning down the heat saves money and carbon.
Halls Manager Update 2019
Some time has passed since the accommodation team last provided an update – so here is the long overdue review of what has been happening in the residences since summer 2017.
Our last update brought readers attention to the opening of our new summer hostel which has now had two further successful summer operating periods. In this time, we have retained our 5-star grading from Visit Scotland and continue to work with a wide variety of clients visiting the city of Glasgow and beyond. We have also had two new sessions of students with us since our last update and are currently midway through session 2019/20. The rummage events co-hosted with GSA Sustainability have continued to operate over the past two arrival weekends, and have helped new students settle into their new home. We enjoy hosting these events for students not only because it helps them save money but because it is introducing our residents to sustainable living and the importance of re-use. GSA Halls continues to work closely with GSA Sustainability across a variety of projects but mainly for arrivals with support for reusable items in our arrival packs for students.
We have upgraded many things at our Blythswood House site including the refurbishment of some of our common spaces in the hope of encouraging students to socialise and spend time away from their rooms. We believe strongly that spending time away from the flat and bedrooms improves the wellbeing of students. Our recent works includes a revamped games room, study space and a yoga/meditation room which is bookable via the main office. We have also taken some time to make improvements to our external garden area with new planters, plants, additional seating and outdoor lights. In recognition of this, our team received an award from The Incorporation of Gardeners and were highly commended for the external display onsite. We were delighted to have receive this award and continue to work hard to make an enjoyable space of staff and students. Works continued indoors with a joint project in summer 2019 with the Widening Participation (WP) team at GSA. WP work with secondary school pupils who live in a priority postcode, are care experienced or attend one of the GSA’s target state schools. The project seen our creative area in the residences undergo a total transformation, making the space more open and relaxed environment.
We have also introduced a new recycling campaign to the halls of residents at the start of session 2018/19. Until recently, we struggled with a lot of the local and national campaigns provided – largely because they were standardised – so we undertook our own research and conducted focus groups with students in the residences to find out what worked and what didn’t. This led to the production of a unique halls of residence campaign which aims to speak universally to students from across the globe through Mother Nature. You can read more about our ‘Mother Nature is Watching’ campaign on the halls blog by clicking here.
Our ResLife programmes continue to operate across both of our accommodation sites. This programme acts as pastoral care and support for students in halls with team members running various events throughout the year. We believe that this programme is important to help new students settle into independent life, particularly at the start of term. We will soon begin recruiting for the next session of ResLife which will be communicated via email – so stayed tuned!
You can keep up to date with the accommodation team via the online blog or via Facebook and Instagram. Should you have any queries about the above information or wish to get in touch, please email Rebecca Forsyth.
Halls Manager Update for 2017
Summer 2017 seen the first opening of Blythswood House as a summer hostel. This is where the undergrad rooms are rented out to visitors to the city. The site is registered with Visit Scotland and was classified as 5 star hostel grading which on site staff were delighted with. This award is a reflection on the facilities offered on site which include a drying room. This room was installed to provide for the walkers & cyclists friendly scheme which forms part of our Visit Scotland classification. The room can be used by students and staff in session time and is a great facility for people that get wet on the way to Blythswood on winter mornings or unseasonably wet summers.
Arrivals in September 2017 seen the biggest and most well attended Rummage event at GSA Halls to date.
At this event BHF also attended and hosted a pop up shop in Open studio Space.
Arrival bags from Student Association with Siag water bottles continue to be issued to arrivals in Sept and January for our Sem 2 new arrivals. We continue to see these bags and bottles well used around campus.
The Radial Project sadly came to an end this summer but we hope to continue their efforts with volunteers from halls & campus. This will include the upkeep and set up of some exterior planting in our grounds at Blythswood. Siag kindly provided funding for this which is a big improvement to the external area. Going forward we hope some of our volunteers can get involved in some allotment boxes OR some planting for dyeing with our textiles students.
The Reslife programmes in halls continue to expand and increase. Currently the team are looking to have more make workshops which is popular with residents. We hope to see more workshops about reuse too which will involve collecting plastic bags and doing something productive with them. For the first time with Reslife this semester we are having a collaboration with BHF and running a CPR workshop.
Finally – our site at Blythswood was awarded BREEAM ‘very good’ rating late in 2017.
Halls Manager Update for 2016
Our September arrivals weekend again saw the issue of halls arrival packs/bags in form of a eco-shopper bag designed by ARC which are very well used around campus. The bags are the launch to new arrivals of the SAVE utility campaign which can be spotted about halls in each block or floor level at Blythswood.
Our new halls at Blythswood opened in September 2015 and the Rummage was again available to new & incoming students. This event is gaining in popularity and momentum is good. We are now collecting with December departures in addition to June and now September post grads too. This is a massive effort, especially in June with the greatest number of departures. Year on year the volume of donations is increasing. Pictures & details of the rummage available here.
British Heart Foundation also benefit from donations from departing students with end of term and summer donations made via the onsite bins at halls, now on both sites.
The arrival of Blythswood House now offers students on that site indoor cycle storage for over 100 students. Early in 2017 we hope to introduce Bike Station workshops and a Grease Monkey stand for residents to carry out their own repairs.
The Radial Project continues at Blythswood House. Late in 2016 we had to say goodbye to 2 of the team who have gone off travelling. They have been replaced by 3 new team members who the halls ResLife team look forward to working with. Radial also arranged for a mural on the 4th floor studio at Blythswood which was planned & executed in cooperation with the GSA mural society.
Halls Manager Report 2015
Arrivals weekend saw the issue of halls arrival packs/bags in form of a eco-shopper bag designed by ARC which are very well used around campus. The bags are the launch to new arrivals of the SAVE utility campaign.
The bespoke SAVE utility campaign stickers proved a talking point in flats with new arrivals along with their poster campaign on display in each block
Recycling has improved in halls with an increase in food waste being recycled. I do not consider this waste is food being wasted or irresponsible waste. Routinely an almost full wheelie is emptied weekly with food waste from both halls sites. I consider this a reflection on the increase in knowledge about this area, social responsibility, an alternative to composting and more residents are participating. The other recycling is being separated better this session and is clearly visible in flat kitchens & I am observing a better foot fall to central bins.
End of term in June 2015 saw Siag & Radial collect a huge amount of reuse items for the start of term rummage shop held in the Vic on arrivals weekend. The shop as usual proved popular and was very well attended. Pictures & details of the rummage available here
British Heart Foundation also benefited to approx. value of £910 (figure TBC with BHF asap) with end of term and summer donations made via the onsite bins at halls.
Planning to increase the cycle racks and move racks from D block to inside car park for extra security year round.
The Radial Project moves home to new office at Blythswood House.
Lots and lots of projects, events, student associations to participate with at GSA and in halls, check it out
Halls Manager Report 2014
• Arrivals weekend saw the issue of halls arrival packs/bags in form of a eco-bag designed by ARC which are very well used around campus. The ARC designed utility stickers proved a talking point in flats with new arrivals along with their poster campaign on display in each block.
• Just after the start of term we saw the launch of ARC utility reduction (mid October) and power competition with use of the OWL meter monitors issued for residents to keep a track of own utility uses.
• Halls utility info updated and edited by ARC and issued by email in Oct. This has provided the basis for several conversations around utilities with residents. I routinely am asked to resend this info and discuss with students as their utilities increase in winter months and they seek to reduce expense.
• Recycling has improved in halls with an increase in food waste being recycled. I do not consider this waste is food being wasted or irresponsible waste. Routinely an almost full wheelie is emptied weekly with food waste. I consider this a reflection on the increase in knowledge about this area, social responsibility, an alternative to composting and more residents are participating. The other recycling is being separated better this session and is clearly visible in flat kitchens & I am observing a better foot fall to central bins.
• End of term in June 2014 saw ARC collect a huge amount (2 x GSA van’s full) of reuse items for the start of term rummage shop held in the Vic on arrivals weekend. I understand that the shop was very well attended.
• British Heart Foundation also benefited to approx. value of £910 with end of term and summer donations. As a thank you for this work they donated seed hearts to be included in the ARC halls arrival shopper bags.
• Green Tourism GOLD award was achieved at most recent Green Tourism Business Scheme evaluation spring 2014.
• Planning to increase the cycle racks and move racks from D block to inside car park for extra security year round. (This work we hope to be finished by end May 2015.)