I’ve been at Brunel (Uxbridge campus)for nearly four months now, and although the university itself isn’t bad, the halls of residence are a completely different matter. As someone said in another review, places here are limited. Brunel claim if you’re a fresher you’re guaranteed a place, but if you’re late applying this is not always the case. But if the truth be known, if you don’t get a place, consider yourself lucky, last thing you want when you're trying to get settled is to be stuck in a place like mine. I’m located in Clifton Hall which is one of the oldest halls, but it’s right by the sports centre and isn’t a long walk to anyplace on campus. Chepstow, Saltash and Faraday halls are also close, though the Isambard flats are at the far end of the campus and a long walk from most of the lecture centres. Floors are single sex, and there are usually around ten people on a floor, all sharing one kitchen, two toilets and two showers, though this may vary depending on which hall you are in. I believe each room is kitted out with its own sink and internet access is available in all rooms (which, by the way, is amazingly fast!). Of course you can always try to get a room with an en-suite, though you should apply early as space is limited. You will also pay more and your room will be smaller, but you will be in nice new halls as opposed to the old grotty looking ones. Having said this, the rooms in the older halls aren’t half as bad they look from the outside, and are usually generously sized compared to halls of residence on other universities. But although the rooms may be relatively nice, the kitchen in my hall is simply DISGUSTING. The cleaners hardly clean anything in the kitchen. My neighbour once heard one of them say “I’m going to clean the kitchen properly today unlike you guys” the reply being “Oh no, don’t bother. Just do it like this..” They
wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth and that’s about it. I’ve never seen them clean the kitchen floor or clean the oven and they’ve left bin bags full of rubbish festering in the middle of our kitchen over the weekend. There are also these boxes that sit on our kitchen floor that are supposed to be for glass bottles only, but which people put just about anything in, including left-over food and open food cans. So even though they’re used as dustbins, the cleaners refuse to take them out. They hang around for months, as many of the people on my floor are too selfish to take them out, so the kitchen smells really bad and the boxes just keep piling up. The cleaners are incredibly loud and rude in my block, so don’t expect to be able to lie in! They bitch about all the people on the floor and when they come into your room every morning to empty your metal waste paper bin they throw it down on the floor (I believe deliberately to wake you up.) They vacuum your room once every two weeks in the morning and insist you vacate the floor for an hour or two, so you can’t even sit in the kitchen while they do your room. Kind of annoying if like me you have no lectures to go to on that day. The cleaners wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the people I lived with were clean and considerate. But you wouldn’t believe how selfish some of them can be; stealing food, refusing to do their washing up, using your stuff and leaving it for you to wash or the cleaners to throw away, clogging the sink up with food and filling up the bin on weekends then just putting rubbish on the floor by the side of the bin rather than emptying it out. I hardly ever use the kitchen now as things have got so bad I don't like going in there. I realise of course it’s not Brunel’s fault that some people I live with are extremely messy, use my stuff and steal my food, but what bothers me is that the halls manager will do nothing
about it. He hasn’t put a warning out threatening to expel people caught stealing or who are excessively messy, and it’s not because there haven’t been complaints! Numerous people in my halls have lodged complaints with the halls manager about the state of the kitchen, the cleaners, the theft, and he’s done nothing. So I went to the accommodation office after putting up with all this for three months, to say I wished to move to a different hall, as mine is virtually unliveable. They told me they don’t usually move people, so the chance of that was very slim despite all my problems and that someone else had complained already that day and they would try to sort something out, but so far nothing’s been done. And it’s not just food that gets stolen. A lot of my post has gone missing too, and it takes ages for the university to sort the mail even if it does get to you. Because of this, I now have everything – including my parcels, letters and magazine subscriptions sent home. I don’t know if the students are stealing the post or if it’s getting nicked before it reaches the halls, but it’s very inconvenient and there’s nothing you can do about it. You could ask your halls manager to keep all your mail aside and not put it in the pigeon holes that anyone can access, but apparently that’s purely up to his discretion, so he can refuse. All in all, you might want to think twice before going into these halls. You might be lucky and have no problems (I know some people who love the place), but if you do have troubles management don’t seem to do anything about it and the accommodation office are unbelievably inflexible, so if you are in a hall that you hate, you’re unlikely to be able to change and this can make life on campus unbearable. UPDATE- 21/01/00 Just an quick update on the situation in halls. Still nothing has been done about the state of our kitchen,
the promise to sort something out has come to nothing despite numerous complaints to halls management and the accomodation office. I have also been told by someone I know in another hall that astonishingly their kitchen is in a worse state than ours. He told me dishes have been left in the sink unwashed for so many weeks they are growing mould and there is decaying egg smeared across the windows where someone chucked some a few weeks back and no one cleared it up. They had someone come to inspect the state of their floor as it smelt so bad and it has actually been declared 'unfit to live in'. They are each having a room inspection and management have had words. It's a pretty sad to see that it's only once things get this bad that the university will take any action.
I spent the last year at Brunel staying in university accommodation on campus. So I guess you could say I know all there is to know about staying here. First things first, if your planning on coming to Brunel and hoping to stay in university halls or flats, say so at the earliest possible time. There are not enough places to meet the demand and you might end up sharing with a complete stranger like I had to for the first few weeks. And trust me, if your sharing with an axe murderer its not much fun. So as soon as you know your coming to Brunel and want accommodation let them know. There are different types of accommodation on campus. There are the old flats (Isambard), the old halls (Saltash, Farraday, Chepstow), and the new halls (Millhall & Fleming). I stayed in Isambard flats which from first glance are the worst of the lot but also the cheapest. There is no en suite but you do get a sink in your room. You share the amenities with 4-5 other students and if your with the right crowd it can be the best place to stay. Chepstow and Saltash are roughly the same but some of the amenities are shared between 8-10 students in some cases. Millhall and Farraday are the latest accommodation to be offered and as such are the cleanest and up to date residences. They include ensuite but the kitchen is still shared. The ensuite rooms cost about £15 per week more than those without. If you stay in flats and the older residences you are much more likely to have fun because you are left alone by university staff and security. You can do anything! They may not look like much but the flats are where it all happens. The halls are newer and are a nicer place to stay but if its fun your after take the flats. You'll make hundreds of friends whereever you stay on campus and i'd recommend it for any first year wanting to come to Brunel. Your a stone throw away from all your lectures aswell as the bar and Academy nightclub. What more could yo
u ask for! A word of advice.... if you do decide to choose campus accommodation watch out for the cleaners. Nice as they might be, shouting 'RUBBISH' at 9am every morningh after a late night doesn't half make you want to........
UXBRIDGE CAMPUS ACCOMODATION I lived at home myself so cannot comment on all the aspects of the accomodation at Brunel, although I had friends living in practically all the different types of accomodation so can comment with some authority on each of them. Brunel is a campus university so all Brunel accomodation is no more than a 5-10 minute walk to the furthest away lecture centres. The oldest accomodation is the Flats and the older halls - chepstow, faraday, saltash. Friends living in the flats in the first year enjoyed it because you are a self contained unit of 6 people all with seperate bedrooms but sharing a bathroom and kitchen, and are in a block with about 8 other flats. The are old but not too shabby, but they are the furthest away from the centre of campus, but really this isn't too much of a problem. The older halls are not that nice in my opinion, although i have seen far worse in other universities. There are probably about 10 rooms sharing a bathroom and kitchen, but you do get a sink in your room. Mill Hall was the newest ad nicest while I was there. It looks new and fairly attractive from the outside and inside it is very clean and tidy. It is slightly hospital like in a way though, polished blue floors, and turquoise doors if i remember rightly and possibly not the community atmosphere of some of the other halls. However the rooms looked bigger, had a sink and were generally well kept. In my last year there were two new halls built, very similar in style to mill hall and I havn't been inside them but they look top of the range. The kitchens have 3 walls of windows which is great for lighting but the reason i know this is because when walking past them you can see directly inside, in fact they look a bit like glass elevators from the outside. I'm pretty sure the new halls have a lot of en-suite rooms as well which is good. The flats are good for your last year when you are allowed back to
Brunel accomodation because if you have 5 friends you want to live with then you can all choose to live together and the accomodation people are usually very good about this.