(Original post by arod)
But why should we accept mediocre? or even average food for the price that we're paying when other uni's provide a far better food experience?
The first thing you have to remember is that everything is subjective and often the grass seems greener on the other side. What you experienced at other universities may have been good for a few days- as Pollock food can be too- but if you lived there all year I expect you would get as tired of it as you did Pollock. That is simply the nature of being fed in an institution.
After first term group of us wrote to the accommodation dept. We researched other unis and provided them with examples of the excellent food services available at other universities complete with menus and contact information. If students don't provide some constructive feedback then nothing will change. I hope that we've improved the fare for the next wave of students coming through. It is possible to run excellent food services for a profit.
Fair enough. I would always encourage this and will myself be petitioning for change on this front later this year as I feel there is always room for improvement.
When rating UK uni's the English criteria doesn't seem to include accommodation and/or food in their ranking of Uni's. But they are rated in rankings in other parts of the world because it's such a key part of university life. Some students rank the degree program reputation and teaching first, with food and accommodation second. If those 2 categories are great, then everything else is just gravy (excuse the pun).
Some students do, some students don't. If the university were to pander to the preferences of every potential student then they would bankrupt themselves. Accommodation is important to you; sports facilities are important to others; social interaction opportunities to others; libraries for others; transport links for others (my own particular stance); computing facilities to others. There is such a plethora of things which play a key role in university life that accommodating all of them is nigh-on impossible. Universities have to prioritise and the University of Edinburgh obviously puts more stock in other areas. Can you say that our computing facilities are not excellent? Or our libraries? The way things stand, we have adequeate facilities for food and excellent facilities elsewhere. Perhaps, given the right lobbying, the emphasis will be placed on accommodation and catering.
Maybe it's a North American thing, but all of my friends are vegetarian and have been for some time, they weren't expecting gourmet veggie cuisine, but at least one menu item and the possibility of maybe cooking something in your kitchen on your floor. You now get vegetarian selections on airplanes and in most restaurants these days so it's not such an unusual request.
This is an unfair criticism in my view. At the time of application it is made expressly clear that Pollock Halls does not cater to a high degree for vegetarians and that they would be advised to look elsewhere. Nonetheless there was always at least one vegetarian main course at night, to say nothing of the exceptional salad bar options, and the frequently vegetarian soups and pasta sauces. Also, in addition to the vegetarian main course, there was, more often than not, also a fish option, which many vegetarians are willing to eat as a source of protein. There is also a wide variety of cereals available at breakfast, as well as vegetarian sausages, porridge, prunes and mushrooms. In my opinion (and I stress, this is just my opinion), considering they warn vegetarians of the pitfalls of life in Pollock for them, the University bends over backwards to accommodate the vegetarian community, going well beyond what is necessary, given their disclaimer.
Also many other uni's that offer fully catered accommodation also have fully equipped kitchens so students can choose to cook if and when they want to. University students have lots of visitors either family and/or friends from overseas and/or from other cities in the UK etc on the weekends or during vacations (e.g. 3 week Easter holidays). It's so nice to be able to cook them a meal in your own place and maybe even invite others on the floor to join in especially for birthday celebrations etc. But you can't do this in Chancellor's Ct. because they don't want you to cook anything in the kitchens which I found very surprising when I moved in.
I am actually very sympathetic to this line of reasoning. I believe that, for the price we are paying, we should be getting our meals over and above what those in self-catered are getting, that is, we should get all their facilities and more. However, it is intimated when you apply that such facilities do not exist and, therefore, the decision to pursue your options in Pollock is one that you take in spite of this. Again, I will be lobbying this year to get some change in this department, with my priority being to have freezers installed in each pantry. This at least would make the microwave a more useful piece of equipment.
These are my opinions- I respect that you have your own and am truly sorry that you were disappointed by your experience. I gladly welcome any further comment you have to make.