Who do you think you are…

…some kind of super star! The Spice Girls are my guilty pleasure and the more I can bring them into everyday life, the better. Anyway, ‘who do you think you are’, well we are the Accommodation Office. You would have found out who our office consists of in last week’s blog, so this week I am going to thrill you all with what we do and the areas which are covered by us.

This week we are preparing ourselves for Monday 14 April when the applications for new students are open. We are answering your emails via the Student Information Desk and helping out with any queries that you may have about the application process. You are able to activate your account ready for the applications opening at any time prior to the 14 April but applications can only be made for new students from 14 April onwards. Any applications made before this date will be cancelled.  If you are unsure about who is guaranteed university accommodation then please visit the accommodation guarantee on our website for further information.

We hold accommodation drop-in sessions in The Forum during term time and there is somebody available to help you out and answer any of your accommodation queries. For the third term, we are going to be available between 12:00-2:00pm. We are also available on request when we are not located in The Forum. If you wish to come and see us at one of our drop-in sessions, you will need to book in with the SID team during that time and we will be happy to help. The drop-in sessions are there to answer your queries, especially any of the following:

  • Withdrawals and interruptions – are you thinking of leaving the University of Exeter? If you are in University accommodation, you will need to bring your withdrawal/interruption form, which has been signed by your college to us in order to confirm your accommodaotion departure date. This can also be done at any time Monday-Friday between 9am-5pm by taking your form to the Student Information Desk. For further information on this, please refer to your Residents Handbook.
  • Room movements – students who wish to move rooms (after the first two weeks of their arrival) can come and visit us to discuss the options which may be available. Priority is given to students with medical or welfare issues, or those who are in a twin occupancy room in the first instance. We do advise students to speak to the Residence Life Team first to see if anything can be done to resolve any issues. If a room is available then there is a movement fee which is charged when the room movement takes place. For 2013/14 the movement charge is £45.00.
  • Private sector – often students will come to us and ask about accommodation which is available within the private sector. We direct all students to Studentpad which has the details of private sector accommodation. We have also updated our website to provide useful information for students and landlords, take a look!
  • Terminating contracts early – many students will ask us if they can reduce their contract lengths for their accommodation. Unfortunately this is not an option because upon signing your contract for accommodation, you have agreed to stay in your accommodation until the contract end date. You can discuss with us the possibility of a contract takeover whereby a University of Exeter student who is not currently in our accommodation could takeover the remaining contract period of your room. For further information on this please visit the contractual information section of our website.

So as well as helping you out at the Student Information Desk and looking into the queries mentioned above we also deal with the following:

  • Empty rooms – we look at the number of vacant rooms which may be available based on students withdrawing/interrupting or room movements. We check these every week and ensure that they match up with the residences. It is of the upmost importance to make sure that we are providing you all with the correct information and if any of you have requested to move rooms, wecan therefore notify you as soon as a room matching your requirements becomes available.
  • Website – we receive information for our website all the time and it constantly needs updating to make sure that you are receiving the most recent news and information. This could be anything from a change in price to notifying you about applications.
  • Allocations – throughout the summer we employ some summer staff to help out with queries and allocating rooms to students who are joining us in September. Every note within an application is read and taken into consideration throughout this process. Lots of cake is also needed to fuel our efforts.
  • Landlords – we speak with landlords daily and provide them with information about advertising their property through Studentpad. We answer any queries they have and also like to hear how successful they have been in finding tenants.
  • Green Impact – we work in a very green and eco-friendly way to make sure that we are doing our bit for the planet. We often send emails and make telephone calls before writing letters to save paper, even our contracts are available online. We also compost teabags within the office and recycle our cardboard, cans and plastics efficiently. We work with different departments across the University to make sure that we are all doing our bit to make the University of Exeter a sustainable place to be. If this sounds interesting to you and you want to become more sustainable – take a look at some of the ways in which you can help.

Besides all of our hard work, we do have fun too, I mean, just the other day we admired a trio of ducks waddling by our office (see the picture). There is also an abundance of cake on offer at various times and we hold a baketition every summer. The winner is the person who has scored the most points for their creation, so keep in touch with the blog and we will even let you have some of the recipes for our masterpieces. Aren’t we nice?

Now to end my post with a classic Diana Ross tune (with the word ‘me’ slightly changed to ‘us’) which sums up what I am trying to say…“If you need us, call us, no matter where you are, no matter how far, just call our name, we’ll be there in a hurry. On that you can depend and never worry.”

Accommodation Catherine

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