What have the ASRA regions been up to in the last 12 months?

By Niamh Banks, ASRA Communications and IT Officer, and Residences Supervisor Maynooth University, Ireland

The Association for Student Residential Accommodation (ASRA) is about providing a forum for student accommodation professionals on a regional basis as well as a national one. A lot of the activity happens regionally over the course of the year with each area having two meetings annually, which are arranged by regional reps. 

Meeting locations rotate across the regions in order to visit as many of our members as possible. 

Ireland Region

Over the last year, the Ireland region held two regional meetings which allowed our members to discuss items which are important to us all. This ethos of information sharing is the key benefit of attending the networking regional meetings. During the 2015/2016 academic year we visited both NUI Galway and University College Dublin where discussions included health and safety, maintenance, training, water charges, resident assistant programmes, TV services and laundering services. Following both meetings, we were invited to carry out a visit to some of the student accommodation on site which gives us a great insight into the product that our colleagues provide. For the coming year, we see increased interest from new members in joining ASRA and we look forward to welcoming them.   

Ellen Fitzmaurice, Manager Student Residences, Campus Life Services, University of Limerick.

Wales Region 

Wales region held a meeting at The University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter Campus in December where we had a presentation with regards to the new Housing Wales Bill and the changes that may affect universities offering accommodation to students. 

We are looking at having future presentations or updates as the bill has not yet been finalised.

Later on in the morning we received another presentation regarding Prevent and Radicalisation legislation introduced by the UK government. As this is very much in the news we felt a need to be more vigilant of how this could happen in our individual universities. I would like to thank the Wales members for their continued support for which I am extremely thankful.

Ann Harris, Accommodation Officer, University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter Campus.

This ethos of information sharing is the key benefit of attending the networking regional meetings

South East Region

There were 22 attendees at the October regional meeting where we discussed the September 2015 intake. 

All advised that demand for rooms in halls was either the same or there was an increase on last year which was seen as positive by all in attendance. Student welfare is still a problem in terms of discipline and wellbeing issues, both in halls and private accommodation. Various universities are looking at how to deal with this going forward by providing extra staff training and are looking at their current pastoral care provision such as Resident Assistants.

Lisette Metcalfe, Student Housing Services Manager, Middlesex University.

Midlands & East England Region

The last 12 months have been great. As an area we have held two regional meetings. The first was held at Birmingham City University’s city campus where we focused on green impact and what we all can do to reduce our carbon footprint. We finished off the session with a tour around a refurbished Unite Students property with focus on study spaces. We held the second meeting at the University of Leicester’s conference centre. The session received a variety of delegates for the meetings from both private and public institutions. The session was finished by a tour of Leicester’s grounds where they have invested in social, fun and functional areas. 

Einita Sohal, City Manager, Birmingham and Coventry, Unite Students.