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October 2015: 'My favourite place on campus'

Many 'Voices of the University' participants were asked to share their favourite place on campus. Here are our top 10 answers.

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Helen May Williams taught at Warwick from 1978 to 2011, starting as a lecturer in American literature in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. She set up a Women’s Studies centre, Open Studies course and 2+2 degrees during a long and varied career at Warwick, and is now a retired Fellow of the department. “My favourite place would have to be the lake behind Arthur Vick halls of residence, especially in the spring when the ducklings are there. I do remember once, eating my lunch on the bench by the lake, and a moor hen literally taking the chicken out of my hands to go and feed her chicks. And Milburn House – I think it’s just a great teaching space.”

Rebecca Taylor studied for an undergraduate degree in Classics, followed by a PhD in Classics and Ancient History from 2007-2014. She also chose the Arthur Vick lakes as her favourite spot. “Even though there are loads of geese and swans that don’t seem to mind attacking you, it’s quite nice to sit there, especially when the undergraduates haven’t found it yet! I used to sit there in my first year before my exams, just to calm down; it’s quite peaceful. I’ve always thought it’s important to realise there’s a point when you can’t revise any more. During all my six years here, I’ve always gone down to that spot.”

Laura Spencer took a degree in History and Politics between 1997 and 2000. “My favourite place would probably have to ne the Piazza because it feels like the centre of campus. We used to go to Xananas a lot. And where there’s now a Costa Coffee, there used to be ‘Viva’. They’d do homemade sandwiches, all day breakfast sandwiches, and I used to get sausage batches. That was always a meeting place for us, a nice social hub.”

Physics undergraduate student Benjamin Smith graduated in the summer of 2009. “I have two favourite places. One, bizarrely enough, is the Physics concourse, the long corridor with the Physics Department attached to it. We had so many lectures, and that’s where we’d sit between lectures, it’s where we’d have lunch, it’s where we’d do our homework, sat on the floor most of the time. It was the gathering spot and the hub of that class. The other one is the Learning Grid in University House where they had the open study area with the computer labs and the whiteboards. In third and fourth year my friends would get together and spend 8 till 6 every single day for six weeks on end revising and teaching each other. And some of the most amazing “I finally get it!” moments happened in that place. It was about close friendships and bonds, and also, doing the thing I was there to do – learn amazing science and Physics.”

Zofia Patchett chose to study Sociology and Education at Warwick in 1975. “Probably Tocil Woods. In the first year, we used to walk from Kirby Lodge through Tocil Woods up to the Biological Sciences department. If you did ever manage to get up for a nine o’clock lecture, there was something really nice about the woods at half eight on a nice, crisp, winter’s morning. It was a special place.”

David Mussell was one of the first cohort to study at Warwick, starting his undergraduate degree in 1965. “Between Benefactors Hall and some of the original Rootes buildings, there used to be some grassed areas, and we used to spend a lot of time there, putting the world to rights, drinking coffee - that was always nice.”

Nicholas Monk is Director for the Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning (IATL) at Warwick and an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies. “I would have said Milburn House when I worked there. I’m very grateful to Warwick for taking a gamble on me and letting me do the things I’ve done. I guess I still feel great affection for Milburn House, because it’s where I was first employed.”

University Senior Tutor Stephen Lamb has overall responsibility for personal tutoring at Warwick and is also Principle Teaching fellow in the Department of German Studies. “Gosh, what a good question. I’ve got two favourite places. One is the Arts Centre, because I’ve seen so many concerts. I can remember the very first concert I went to, it was the American Jazz musician Buddy Rich, and I remember that he started a number, stopped because he didn’t like the acoustics, fiddled around with the drums and started again! My other favourite place is the sports field because I have been very involved in the only staff sports team at the University now - the staff and graduates cricket club. I’ve spent many a happy hour getting rid of the cares of the week on the Cryfield sports fields.”

Becci Burrows-Watson was a Classics student between 1989 and 1992 and is now Food and Beverage Manager at Warwick’s Students’ Union. “My favourite place used to be right in the middle the market place in the Students’ Union, but that’s been changed, so now I’d say it’s the piece of grass in front of the Arts Centre, right in front of where I’m speaking to you. The Estates team do the most incredible job on this campus. When its winter, and it’s icy and the beautiful purple lights come up from the ground in front of the Arts Centre, all the branches of the trees turn this fantastic violet colour. It just sends shivers through me when I see it.”

Jane Wightman studied for a degree in Education and History at Warwick from 1988 to 1992. “It’s really hard, I can’t choose one favourite place, so, I’ll choose anywhere my friends were. So, the refectory at Westwood, or the kitchen of our flat, wherever my friends were. My dad picked me up on the last day of term, loaded the car with all my stuff, and we had to drop something off near the Students’ Union and as we came around, I burst into tears, I was really sad. I loved it here, I was really happy, it was a really special time. Because the thing that Warwick gave me, as well as enjoying studying, was my friends, who are still extremely important in my life.”

Listen to the IAS podcast here to discover stories of 'arriving at Warwick', and stay tuned for the next instalment.

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