What were students at Warwick thinking about in the ’70s? What troubled them, and what interested them? While browsing through editions of The Boar dating back to the 1970s, I was fascinated by the world they created.
A newspaper meant something different to them than it does to us now. It is strangely grounding to see them dealing with financial issues at that time, and how they compare to today.
An article from 16 January, 1970, titled, ‘Banks to Back Centre’, talks about four major banks preparing to form a consortium to finance a shopping centre on campus, the shopping centre that is indispensable to us today. Another small section in the foundation issue includes a sheet titled ‘Where Your Money Goes,’ providing a breakdown of costs by Societies, NUS, various committees – I believe this presentation reflects impressive transparency in student finance.
As for the continuities, worries about the rent crisis still pervaded that decade, and they were influenced highly by the government and grants. A quote from the article says, “Warwick proudly regards itself as a Campus University – almost 2/3 of all students live on Campus. The aim of the University is to improve upon this proportion – a most necessary ambition if they are to realise their expansion programme in student numbers: especially given the chronic shortage of privately rented accommodation in the Coventry area for students.” Moreover, a photograph on the page titled, ‘The beginnings of Cryfield Residences, whose rents may range from £5 to £7’, immediately caught my attention.
The ’70s also seem to be a crucial time for our Students’ Union. The Union building (which houses our very own and beloved Boar offices), which is an inextricable part of the central campus and Warwick as a whole, did not exist yet and was still in a process of formation amongst much argument. “At the end of October, a decision will be made on the five-year fight for a Union Building at Warwick.”, a statement foretells.
Looking at these old editions makes me proud of the accomplishments of our alumni, and makes me appreciate where we stand today. At the same time, it makes me conscious of the fact that students play in shaping the university even today. The Boar, our time-travelling guide, sparks appreciation for the journey from then to now, a journey marked by progress, passion, and a touch of that groovy ’70s vibe.