Oriel College, Oxford. Photo: Flickr/tejvanphotos

National Student Stories: Library Books and New Societies

First “professor of play” to join Cambridge next January

Paul Ramchandani, a children’s mental health expert from Imperial College, will be joining Cambridge next January as the university’s “professor of play.”

Ramchandani won the role over a worldwide range of applicants competing for the job at the prestigious university, where professors earn on average £84,000 a year. The job was first announced in June 2015.

The job, alongside a specialist research centre into play (PEDAL), will be paid for by a £4million grant from the Lego Foundation.

The future Lego Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning commented: “Everyone has an opinion about what role play should have in early education and there is some wonderful research, but there are also big gaps in our knowledge.”

“We need the best evidence possible in order to inform the vital decisions that are made about children’s education and development and I look forward to taking that work forward together with colleagues at Cambridge.”

Strathclyde University issues rebuke for inappropriate toilet habits

Strathyclyde University sent a memo to 400 students and 250 members of staff requesting them to stop defecating in showers and bins.

The memo, sent last Thursday by the Technology and Innovation Centre’s (TIC) operations management team, reminded its recipients that: “all bodily fluids, solids and toilet paper must be disposed of down the toilet.”

“Given the incidence of people pooing in bins, showers and the likes, can I please remind all TIC occupants that the toilets have been provided for that specific purpose.”

“While I appreciate that the TIC population is multi-cultural and different countries have different practices, here in the UK the accepted practice is to use only the WC.”

An insider reportedly told the Daily Mail: “The cleaners are sick of coming across poo and used toilet paper in places it just shouldn’t be.”

However, a University spokesperson has since apologised for the email, which contained: “sentiments that are completely contrary to our institutional values.”

Birmingham City University sells library book for £40k

An antique Russian library book was sold by the Birmingham City University for £39,000 at an auction last week. The book was deemed no longer relevant to research.

The book, The Antiquities of the Russian Empire, contains stamps and was commissioned in Moscow by Nicholas I between 1849 and 1853. Only 600 sets were made, but the Birmingham City’s copy could be unique because its title and contents pages are in English.

Chris Albury, who handled the sale, said: “In book terms, it’s quite a lot of money to pay.”

“We haven’t been able to find another copy with these pages anywhere else in the world.”

Oxford Literature student founds society for introverts

Second-year Oxford student Miranda Reilly, who studies English Literature and Language, has founded a society for people with social anxiety, shyness and introversion (SASI).

The society has hosted a Disability Awareness Week and runs a creative mental health support group, Art for the Heart, alongside a Disability 101 workshop which aims to fight isolation at university and raise awareness on accessibility issues.

Miranda, who started university with extreme shyness and undiagnosed social anxiety, said: “I spent a lot of my first term feeling trapped in my room and isolated. I didn’t have much of a sense of purpose.”

She added that although she knew “a bit about invisible and rare disabilities before joining Oxford Students Disability Community” from her family background, she “hadn’t previously considered mental health as a disability.”

“Outside of Oxford, people may assume that the university is all about academic work and nothing else, but it was only as a student here that I realised extracurriculars could be just as important and fulfilling as academic work, and could be combined with it to pursue paths which are still yet to be widely pursued.”


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